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Lindsay Underhill, PhD

Training Years: 2017-2018

Training Site: Asociacion Benefica PRISMA

Country: Peru

Mentors: William Checkley, MD, PhD; Christine Ladd-Acosta, PhD

Title: Epigenetic mediation of the exposure-response relationship between household air pollution and low birthweight in low-resource communities in Peru

Project Objectives: The overall goal of this study is to identify the underlying epigenetic mechanisms by which household air pollution (HAP) in homes that rely on solid fuels for cooking may lead to the adverse birth outcome of low birthweight (LBW) in low-resource communities in Peru. This project will be nested within a 5-year, multi-site, randomized controlled field intervention trial of LPG stove and fuel distribution (HAPIN trial) in India, Rwanda, Guatemala, and Peru. The proposed project will leverage the extensive resources and multi-disciplinary expertise of the HAPIN research team (including HAP exposure assessment, maternal-fetal and pulmonary medicine, and genetic epidemiology) and the existing HAPIN study infrastructure and exposure findings to investigate the potential mediation role of epigenetic mechanisms in the association between HAP exposure and LBW.

Aim 1: Identify loci in cord blood samples from children at birth showing DNA methylation (DNAm) changes associated with prenatal exposure to HAP constituents (PM2.5, CO, and BC).

Aim 2: Identify loci in cord blood samples showing associations between DNAm levels and birth weight.

Aim 3: Evaluate whether DNAm, among the set of loci identified in aims 1 and 2, mediates the relationship between HAP exposure and birthweight using causal inference testing (CIT).

NIH Support: Fogarty fellowship postdoctoral training award

Lindsay Underhill Headshot