2017 Progress Report: Center for Children's Health, the Environment, Microbiome, and Metabolomics

EPA Grant Number: R836153
Center: Center for Children’s Health, the Environment, Microbiome, and Metabolomics’ Center
Center Director: McCauley, Linda
Title: Center for Children's Health, the Environment, Microbiome, and Metabolomics
Investigators: McCauley, Linda
Current Investigators: McCauley, Linda , Ryan, P. Barry
Institution: Emory University
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Project Period: September 1, 2015 through August 31, 2019
Project Period Covered by this Report: September 1, 2016 through August 31,2017
Project Amount: $1,797,870
RFA: Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Centers (2014) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Health , Children's Health

Progress Summary:

Project 1: During Year 2, we have accomplished the following, consistent with our original timeline:

1) Develop protocols, Data Collection Methods: We have continued to implement all protocols and procedures for the recruitment and consent of subjects, the collection of data and specimens (questionnaire items, biological and household samples), and the handling, processing, and analysis of specimens that were developed and refined by the P1 Team during Year 1. Specifically, this accomplishment involved: maintaining Emory Institutional Review Board approval for the P1 recruitment and data collection protocols; hiring and training additional field and laboratory staff to recruit subjects, and collect and analyze samples; utilizing data bases for participant and sample tracking as well as housing data; and maintaining training of field staff in the consent, data collection, data and sample handling and processing procedures. We hired a full‐time field interviewer to assist in our home visit data collection which has significantly improved participation and accelerated our speed of home visit data collection.

2) Enrollment, Data Collection:

a. Prenatal: We have enrolled a total of 153 pregnant women into the P50 protocol, which includes 105 pregnant women enrolled thus far during Year 2 and the 48 pregnant enrolled during the previous grant year (Year 1). Among the 153 enrolled pregnant women, the following completed the planned sample collections during the initial prenatal clinic visit (between 8‐14 weeks’ gestation): 153 completed microbiome swab collections, 148 completed venous blood collection, and 148 completed urine sample collection. Of the 153 enrolled pregnant women, 111 have entered the 20‐30 week gestational age window for the home environmental assessment, with 70 women (63%) consenting to participate in the home assessments, 108 have passed through the gestational age window for the home environmental assessment, with 70 consenting to participate in the home assessment (65%) and with completing the home environmental assessment and 21 (19%) remaining in the gestational age window for the home environmental assessments. We are actively reaching out to the remaining 21 in the gestational age window for the home environmental assessments to schedule those home visits, and we are continuing to recruit and enroll into the Parent Study and P1. All biological and environmental specimens from enrolled subjects has been processed and entered into a long‐term biorepository created for this project. We have maintained participant tracking in a Microsoft Access database and participant survey and assay data in a RedCap database. In addition, we are currently implementing a laboratory information management system (LIMS) for biospecimen tracking and long‐term laboratory data processing and storage of laboratory metadata.

b. Postnatal: Consistent with our developed protocols and procedures, we also initiated recruitment of birthed infants into P1 in December, 2015. To date, we have collected the following number of urine samples from diapers at the various post‐birth time points: 49 samples at 1‐week, 40 samples at 3‐months, 27 samples at 6‐months, and 8 samples at 12‐months.

3) Exposure and Outcome Characterization:

a. Environmental Toxicants:

i. We performed pilot testing of our laboratory methods for analysis of serum toxicants using serum samples collected from women in the same Parent Study Cohort, under a pilot funding award: Serum samples from the first 184 pregnant African American women enrolled in the Prenatal Microbiome Study were analyzed in the Health and Exposome Research Center: Understanding Lifetime Exposures (HERCULES) Analytic Chemistry Core Lab (the Laboratory for Exposure Assessment and Development in Environmental Research (LEADER) directed by Drs. Barr and Ryan) with funds from a HERCULES pilot award made to a junior faculty mentored by PIs Dunlop and Corwin. This chemical toxicant analysis involves a solvent extraction and cleanup with analysis by gas chromatography‐tandem mass spectrometry

ii. In addition, we have performed quantification of urine phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA) among 56 enrolled pregnant women, finding that our population has higher levels of a metabolite of diethylphthalate than does the US population as a whole and US non‐Hispanic Black population. Our populations BPA levels are higher than the US population levels as well. We are continuing phthalate and BPA analysis in the remainder of the samples we have at collected at present and anticipate their completion in May 2017.

iii. We are currently measuring urinary metals, pesticides and markers of tobacco use (cotinine, NNAL) in samples collected as a part of Project 1 and anticipate their completion this summer.

b. Microbiome: i. We have transferred the microbiome swab samples collected on enrolled women to the Emory Integrated Genomics Core for DNA extraction and 16S rRNA gene sequencing and have worked with bioinformaticists at Emory to establish the bioinformatics pipelines for processing our sequencing data.

c. Pregnancy Outcomes: We have ascertained pregnancy outcomes (via maternal and infant medical record abstraction) for the 64 enrolled pregnant women who have reached their pregnancy due date, with the following birth outcomes noted: 8 spontaneous abortions; 10 preterm births; 20 early term births; 26 full term births. Microbiome samples from women enrolled in the P50 to date and had the opportunity to complete both microbiome sample collection time points (8‐14 weeks’ and 24‐30 weeks’ gestation) were transported to the Emory Integrated Genomics Laboratory for DNA extraction and sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene to characterize the microbial communities present.

Project 2:

1) Data collection for the Microbiome, Environment, and Neurodevelopmental Delay study has continued throughout the year, and we now have 65 mother‐infant pairs enrolled in the postnatal follow up and an additional 15 scheduled for upcoming newborn visits;

2) We have worked to cultivate strong relationships with research participants and this has resulted in a successful retention rate of 85%;

3) Our research staff have received training in infant neurological assessments and have been certified as reliable on the NNNS;

4)We have hired an additional staff member with a background in Neuroscience to assist in data collection and inputting for the project;

5) We have successfully piloted and implemented our protocols for the age 6 and 12 month follow ups;

6) We have worked synergistically with Project 1 staff to complete home visits where dust and other data on environmental exposures are collected;

7) We have successfully collected and stored over 2000 samples of stool, urine, blood, and buccal cells;

8) Co‐Project Lead Rodriguez has developed a supplemental measure of infant nutritional intake which we have added to our 3, 6, and 12 month follow up visits.

9) We have added an additional measure to assess mother’s cognitive abilities.

Project 3: Drs. Jones and Li have tested the planned metabolomics methodologies with legacy data, and are ready to apply those methodologies to the blood samples from Projects 1 and 2 as they are delivered to the laboratory. To this end, blood samples from the first 108 pregnant women enrolled in the P50 since January 2016 who have completed all data collections are scheduled for delivery to the Metabolomics Laboratory between May 1st and the 29th 2017.


Journal Articles: 16 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other center views: All 51 publications 16 publications in selected types All 16 journal articles
Type Citation Sub Project Document Sources
Journal Article Corwin EJ, Hogue CJ, Pearce B, Hill CC, Read TD, Mulle J, Dunlop AL. Protocol for the Emory University African American Vaginal, Oral, and Gut Microbiome in Pregnancy Cohort Study. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2017;17(1):161 (8 pp.). R836153 (2018)
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  • Journal Article Edwards SM, Cunningham SA, Dunlop AL, Corwin EJ. The maternal gut microbiome during pregnancy. MCN: The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing 2017;42(6):310-317. R836153 (2018)
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  • Journal Article Frediani JK, Naioti EA, Vos MB, Figueroa J, Marsit CJ, Welsh JA. Arsenic exposure and risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) among U.S. adolescents and adults: an association modified by race/ethnicity, NHANES 2005-2014. Environmental Health 2018;17(1):6 (8 pp.). R836153 (2018)
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  • Journal Article Gardinassi LG, Xia J, Safo SE, Li S. Bioinformatics tools for the interpretation of metabolomics data. Current Pharmacology Reports 2017;3(6):374-383. R836153 (2018)
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  • Journal Article Gardinassi LG, Cordy RJ, Lacerda MVG, Salinas JL, Monteiro WM, Melo GC, Siqueira AM, Val FF, Tran V, Jones DP, Galinski MR, Li S. Metabolome-wide association study of peripheral parasitemia in Plasmodium vivax malaria. International Journal of Medical Microbiology 2017;307(8):533-541. R836153 (2018)
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  • Journal Article Li S, Dunlop AL, Jones DP, Corwin EJ. High-resolution metabolomics: review of the field and implications for nursing science and the study of preterm birth. Biological Research for Nursing 2016;18(1):12-22. R836153C001 (2016)
    R836153C003 (2016)
    R836153C003 (2017)
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  • Journal Article Mutic AD, Baker BJ, McCauley LA. Deleterious effects from occupational exposure to ethylene thiourea in pregnant women. Workplace Health and Safety 2017;65(12):595-602. R836153 (2018)
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  • Journal Article Mutic AD, Jordan S, Edwards SM, Ferranti EP, Thul TA, Yang I. The postpartum maternal and newborn microbiomes. MCN: The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing 2017;42(6):326-331. R836153 (2018)
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  • Journal Article Rodriguez J, Huntington-Moskos L, Johnson A, Williams S, Gulledge E, Feeley C, Rice M. Collecting biological measures for research with children and adolescents. Journal of Pediatric Health Care 2016;30(3):279-283. R836153C002 (2016)
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  • Journal Article Rodriguez J, Jordan S, Mutic A, Thul T. The neonatal microbiome: implications for neonatal intensive care unit nurses. MCN: The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing 2017;42(6):332-337. R836153 (2018)
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  • Journal Article Runkle J, Flocks J, Economos J, Dunlop AL. A systematic review of Mancozeb as a reproductive and developmental hazard. Environment International 2017; 99:29-42. R836153 (2018)
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  • Journal Article Swales DA, Winiarski DA, Smith AK, Stowe ZN, Newport DJ, Brennan PA. Maternal depression and cortisol in pregnancy predict offspring emotional reactivity in the preschool period. Developmental Psychobiology 2018;60(5):557-566. R836153 (2018)
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  • Journal Article Jordan, S., Baker, B., Dunn, A., Edwards, S., Ferranti, E. Mutic, A., Yang, I., & Rodriguez, J. (2017). Maternal‐child microbiome:Collection, storage, and implications for research and practice. Nursing Research, 66(2), 175‐183. R836153 (2017)
    R836153C002 (2017)
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    Journal Article Rodriguez, J., Huntington-Moskos, L., Johnson, A., Williams, S., Gulledge, E., Feeley, C., & Rice, M. (2016). Collecting biological measures for research with children and adolescents. Journal of Pediatric Health Care, Doi 10.1016/j.pedhc.2015.12.007. R836153C002 (2017)
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    Journal Article Rodriguez, J., Jordan, S., Mutic, A., & Thul, T. The neonatal microbiome:Implications for the NICU nurse. MCN:The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing. (in press). R836153 (2017)
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    Journal Article Mutic, A., Jordan, S., Ferranti, E., Thul, T., Edwards, S., Yang, I. (2017). The Postpartum and Newborn Microbiomes. MCN; The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing. (in press). R836153 (2017)
    R836153C002 (2017)
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    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 2016 Progress Report
  • 2018 Progress Report
  • Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R836153C001 Characterizing Exposures and Outcomes in an Urban Birth Cohort (CHERUB)
    R836153C002 Microbiome, Environment, and Neurodevelopmental Delay (MEND)
    R836153C003 Metabolic, Microbiome and Toxicant-Related Interactions (MATRIX)