2016 Progress Report: Microbiome, Environment, and Neurodevelopmental Delay (MEND)

EPA Grant Number: R836153C002
Subproject: this is subproject number 002 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R836153
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: Center for Children’s Health, the Environment, Microbiome, and Metabolomics’ Center
Center Director: McCauley, Linda
Title: Microbiome, Environment, and Neurodevelopmental Delay (MEND)
Investigators: Brennan, Patricia A. , Rodriguez, Jeannie
Current Investigators: Mahoney, Ashley Darcy , Brennan, Patricia A. , Kugathasan, Subramaniam
Institution: Emory University
EPA Project Officer: Louie, Nica
Project Period: September 1, 2015 through August 31, 2019
Project Period Covered by this Report: September 30, 2015 through June 30,2016
RFA: Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Centers (2014) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Health , Children's Health


Aim 1: Characterize the relationship between prenatal and postnatal environmental exposures and the infant gut microbiome across the first year of life.

Aim 2: Evaluate the associations among prenatal and postnatal toxicant exposures, the infant gut microbiome, maternal caregiving, and infant neurocognitive and social-emotional development.

The major goals outlined in the proposal for the first project period of this award were: 1) review study goals with team members; 2) recruit and train research coordinator and graduate student; 3) develop culturally-appropriate Informed Consent and recruitment materials; 4) develop data entry and coding procedures and all specimen handling procedures; 5) present study to staff at each recruitment site; 6) begin recruitment of participants in Project 1 and follow up with phone calls as due date approaches; and 7) enroll mother/child dyads in study. Each of these goals has been met, within the identified timeline of Year 1 as described below. 

Progress Summary:

  1. The data collection protocol for the Microbiome, Environment, and Neurodevelopmental Delay study has been refined as a result of feedback from our team of investigators.
  2. We have hired a culturally competent Research Coordinator with a Public Health and Psychology background to assist in infant assessment protocols. In addition, we have hired a part-time Project Manager, and other research staff to assist in protocol development, procurement of supplies, creation of study materials, etc.
  3. The Informed Consent and recruitment materials for the infant follow ups have been developed and approved by the university IRB.
  4. A common data registry has been developed and tools and measures to be used in the study have been coded and uploaded into the RedCap data management system.
  5. We have introduced the study to staff at Grady Hospital and Midtown, and recruitment procedures have been established for the study.
  6. We have initiated enrollment of mother child dyads and 13 families have participated in the newborn data collection visit; an additional 23 mothers have agreed to be contacted after birth for study participation.

Future Activities:

We have had a successful project start up, hired highly qualified staff, and planned protocol implementation with care. We have initiated enrollment and will continue to review progress with the investigative team and make adjustments (especially to recruitment strategies) if necessary. We will also continue refining data coding and entry procedures during the next project period. Additional staff training on infant assessments for later ages (Bayley Scales of Infant Development) and mother infant interaction coding will be initiated. The demonstrated ability of the parent project to recruit pregnant African American women in Atlanta, and to successfully collect all of the biobehavioral data needed from the prenatal phase of development, is highly significant and bodes well for the outcome of Project 2. Thus, our plans during the next reporting period are to continue to address our Specific Aims by recruiting participants and conducting our study as planned.

Journal Articles on this Report : 1 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other subproject views: All 6 publications 4 publications in selected types All 4 journal articles
Other center views: All 51 publications 16 publications in selected types All 16 journal articles
Type Citation Sub Project Document Sources
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)
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Abstract: Elsevier Publishing-Abstract
  • Other: ScienceDirect-First Page Preview
  • Supplemental Keywords:

    health effects, human health, sensitive populations, infants, children, susceptibility, metals, community-based, environmental chemistry, biology, children's health, biochemistry, environmental chemistry, exposure, environmental monitoring, exposure assessment, developmental disorders, perinatal exposure, prenatal exposure, dietary exposure, biological markers, growth and development, children's vulnerability, exposure, risk, effects, bioavailability, metabolism, vulnerability, chemicals, toxics, particulates, epidemiology, microbiology, metabolomics, modeling, monitoring, analytical, surveys, southeast;

    Relevant Websites:

    C-CHEM2 | Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing | Emory Exit

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 2017 Progress Report
  • 2018

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R836153    Center for Children’s Health, the Environment, Microbiome, and Metabolomics’ Center

    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)