Research Topics: Environmental epidemiology: global health: toxic metals and child development: health effects of metal mixtures: nutrient-metal interactions: dietary predictors of toxicant exposure: gene-environment interactions.
There are several aspects of my environmental epidemiology work that keep me fascinated and wanting to know more. First, environmental exposures do not occur in isolation. Most often, humans are exposed to multiple chemicals so over time my research has evolved from studying lead to studying multiple metals. Now, I am interested in looking at exposures even more broadly, for example incorporating air pollution, to understand the effects of the totality of such exposures on children's health. Second, environmental exposures occur in a broader context, whether it be family, school or community. As children grow up in these social environments, I am interested in understanding how they intersect and interact with environmental exposures to affect child development. Third, environmental exposures interact with underlying biological vulnerabilities, such as genetic risks or nutritional deficiencies. Understanding these interactions, particularly with nutritional factors, and whether we can use them to prevent or improve the effects of environmental exposures on children's health has been an important driver behind my research.
I work predominantly in international settings, with my primary research site being located in Montevideo, Uruguay. Together with colleagues and excellent research team from the Catholic University of Uruguay and the University of the Republic of Uruguay, I have been developing a research program in pediatric environmental epidemiology since 2006. Currently, we are conducting a longitudinal study on the cognitive and behavioral effects of low-level exposure to multiple metals in school children.
Recently, I spent 3 years at the University of Bristol in the U.K. working with the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), and have developed several projects related to the predictors and effects of environmental exposures in pregnant women and their offspring.
Education and Training
· PhD, International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2003
· BS, Psychobiology and Spanish, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA 1997
· Postdoctoral Fellow, Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, 2003-2006
· Research Associate, Department of Environmental Health, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, 2006-2007
· Advisory Board, American Society for Nutrition, Nutritional Epidemiology Research Interest Section (RIS)
Editorial Board, Journal of Nutrition