Adrienne S Ettinger ScD, MPH

Assistant Professor of Epidemiology (Chronic Diseases)

Research Interests

Effects of environmental exposures on reproductive, perinatal, and children's health; Global health; Nutrition; Molecular epidemiology

Current Projects

"A Prospective Birth Cohort Study Involving Uranium Exposure in the Navajo Nation" (CDC/ATSDR U01-TS000135, PI J.Lewis, University of New Mexico) 2010 – 2016

“Lifecourse Exposures & Diet: Epigenetics, Maturation & Metabolic Syndrome” (Mexico) (NIH 1 P01 ES022844, Co-PIs K.Peterson & V.Padmanabhan, University of Michigan) 2013 – 2018

“Maternal-Infant Research on Environmental Chemicals (MIREC)” (Canada) (Health Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Co-PIs T.Arbuckle, W.Fraser) 2007 – 2016


Research Summary

Dr. Ettinger's research focuses on the effects of environmental exposures on reproductive, perinatal, and children's health. The objective of her work is to understand how factors, such as genes and diet, may impact how pregnant women and their babies are exposed to chemicals and other contaminants in the environment. This research aims to better understand how exposures vary with respect to the types of environmental contaminants and the indidivual's genetic background and stage of life, particularly during reproductive years and early childhood.

Extensive Research Description

Dr. Ettinger’s research focuses on the effects of environmental exposures on reproductive, perinatal, and children's health. She is a formally-trained epidemiologist, and Fellow of the American College of Epidemiology, with interdisciplinary training in biostatistics, environmental health sciences, and human nutrition. In addition, she completed a Mentored Research Scientist Development (K01) Award in Molecular Epidemiology investigating “Genetic and Epigenetic Modifiers of Maternal-Fetal Transfer of Toxicants & Perinatal Outcomes” (NIH K01 ES014907). The objective of her work is to understand how common genetic variants, epigenetic events, and dietary nutrients may modify susceptibility to environmental exposures in the maternal-fetal unit and, ultimately, impact toxicant-induced pregnancy and developmental outcomes. Her research mainly involves the epidemiologic analysis of environmental exposure to toxic metals (arsenic, cadmium, lead, manganese, mercury, uranium) and the associated human health effects in several new and ongoing longitudinal pregnancy/birth cohort studies. She has extensive “on-the-ground” experience in the design, implementation, data management, and analysis of prospective cohort studies and randomized clinical trials investigating the effects of environmental exposures and nutritional interventions on maternal and child health outcomes. These studies have been carried out in both rural and urban community-based settings working with diverse populations in the U.S. and internationally. Current studies are being carried out in: Mexico, in collaboration with researchers at the National Institute for Public Health; Canada, in collaboration with Health Canada; and in the U.S. at the Tar Creek Superfund site (Oklahoma) and Navajo Nation. Her work aims to provide new insights to better understand how environmental risks within and between populations vary with respect to exposure, underlying susceptibility and developmental stage. Dr. Ettinger’s background also includes applied public health experience working as an Epidemiologist in the federal government (CDC) providing technical assistance to State and local public health departments on the design and implementation of prevention programs and surveillance systems for environmental hazards and health effects. She recently coordinated the efforts of the CDC Lead and Pregnancy Work Group and was the primary author and co-editor of CDC’s Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention “Guidelines for the Identification and Management of Lead Exposure in Pregnant and Lactating Women” (2010).


Selected Publications

  • Ettinger AS, Roy A, Amarasiriwardena C, Smith D, Lupoli N, Mercado-Garcia A, Lamadrid-Figueroa H, Tellez-Rojo MM, Hu H, Hernandez-Avila A. Maternal blood, plasma, and breast milk lead: lactational transfer and contribution to infant exposure. Environ Health Perspect 2014 January; 122:87-92.
  • Ettinger AS, Zota AR, Amarasiriwardena CJ, Hopkins MR, Schwartz J, Hu H, Wright RO. Maternal arsenic exposure and impaired glucose tolerance during pregnancy. Environ Health Perspect 2009 Jul; 117(7):1059-1064.
  • Ettinger AS, Lamadrid-Figueroa H, Téllez-Rojo MM, Mercado-García A, Peterson K, Schwartz J, Hu H, Hernández-Avila M. Effect of calcium supplementation on blood lead levels in pregnancy: a randomized control trial. Environ Health Perspect 2009 Jan; 117(1):26–31.
  • Hennig B, Ettinger AS, Jandacek RJ, Koo S, McClain C, Seifried H, Silverstone A, Watkins B, Suk WA. Using nutrition for intervention and prevention against environmental chemical toxicity and associated diseases. Environ Health Perspect 2007 April; 115:493–495.

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