Infertility, Female; Pregnancy; Reproduction
Public Health Interests
Epidemiology Methods; Perinatal Epidemiology; Pregnancy; Prenatal/Fetal Development; Reproductive Biology; Reproductive Health
My research program is targeted towards understanding factors related to fertility, early pregnancy biology and pregnancy outcomes, with the ultimate goal of improving the health of women and children. My research interests have focused on 1) investigating environmental and nutritional exposures that can influence fertility or early pregnancy, 2) describing early pregnancy events that are poorly understood and investigating their associations with pregnancy outcomes, 3) developing high-quality and innovative research methods for perinatal epidemiologic research.
Extensive Research Description
Subfecundity (difficulty conceiving a pregnancy) is a pressing public health problem that affects approximately 6.7 million U.S. women with 1.5 million estimated to be infertile. Factors that affect fertility are not well-understood. I authored a paper investigating the associations of phthalates and bisphenol-a with reproductive health endpoints, including fertility (Jukic et al. 2016). We found no detrimental associations with these contaminants, which can be reassuring for women, since exposure to these chemicals is widespread. I also co-wrote a paper describing the change in fecundity with age (Steiner and Jukic, 2016). This is important, since our data suggest that fecundity decreases slowly, with substantial changes not occurring until after age 35. This is a significant observation, as the age at first pregnancy attempt is increasing in the U.S.
Vitamin D is hypothesized to influence both fertility and early pregnancy, making it an ideal exposure for someone with my background and interests. If vitamin D is important for reproductive function it would be easy to assess clinically, and serve as a low-cost intervention for regulating menstrual cycles and improving fertility. I have published two analyses showing a higher odds of irregular or long menstrual cycles in women with lower 25(OH)D (Jukic et al., 2015 and Jukic et al. 2016). These studies were completed using retrospective self-reported menstrual cycle length, thus a natural next step was to determine if these associations would persist with prospective data. I was awarded an R00 grant to investigate vitamin D and prospective menstrual cycle length, and also fecundability and early fetal growth. Results from the prospective study agree with the cross-sectional analyses, and suggest that lower vitamin D is associated with prolonged menstrual cycles (Jukic et al., in press). Additionally, analyses examining vitamin D status and 1) time to pregnancy, 2) circulating anti-Mullerian hormone, and 3) early fetal size, are in process.
Finally, my research aims to improve the quality of epidemiologic data collection and analysis. Specifically, I have investigated women’s long-term recall of time-to-pregnancy (Jukic et al., 2016), which is important for studies of chronic diseases, which often ask women to report their pregnancy histories in order to look for correlations between reproductive history and current health conditions. Similarly, I am mentoring a post-doctoral fellow who has investigated the quality of recall of pregnancy-related events, behaviors, and exposures (Chin et al, 2017). This analysis is particularly important for studies of in utero exposures and adult disease, as these studies are often based on asking the mothers about their behaviors during a pregnancy that happened many years prior. Our results suggest several considerations for designing these questionnaires. Finally, I have authored a review article that describes vitamin D metabolites and related proteins and provides guidance to researchers who are interested in vitamin D, but are unsure of which biomarkers are most appropriate (Jukic et al., in press). This article will be useful for epidemiologists in any field of study. This work can be used to inform future studies in the production of high-quality, reproducible, research results.
Increasing serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D is associated with reduced odds of long menstrual cycles in a cross-sectional study of African American women
Fertility and Sterility, 2016; 106(1):172-179
Impact of female age and nulligravidity on fecundity in an older reproductive age cohort.
Fertility and Sterility, 2016; 105(6): 1584-1588.e1
Long-term recall of time to pregnancy
Epidemiology, 2016; 27(5):705-711
Urinary concentrations of pthalate metabolites and Bisphenol A and associations with follicular-phase length, luteal-phase length, fecundability, and early pregnancy loss
Environ Health Perspect, 2016; 124(3):321-328
The impact of systematic errors on gestational age estimation.
British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 2015; 122(6):842.
Lower plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D is associated with irregular menstrual cycles in a cross-sectional study.
Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology 2015; 13(1):20.
Association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and ovarian reserve in premenopausal women.
Menopause 2015; 22(3):312-6.
Length of human pregnancy and contributors to its natural variation.
Human Reproduction, 2013; 28(10):2848-2855.
Full List of PubMed Publications
- Chin HB, Baird DD, McConnaughey DR, Weinberg CR, Wilcox AJ, Jukic AM: Long-term Recall of Pregnancy-related Events. Epidemiology. 2017 Jul. PMID: 28346268
- Jukic AM, McConnaughey DR, Weinberg CR, Wilcox AJ, Baird DD: Long-term Recall of Time to Pregnancy. Epidemiology. 2016 Sep. PMID: 27487038
- Jukic AM: Voices: A Conversation with Allen J. Wilcox. Epidemiology. 2016 Sep. PMID: 27482869
- Jukic AMZ, Upson K, Harmon QE, Baird DD: Increasing serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D is associated with reduced odds of long menstrual cycles in a cross-sectional study of African American women. Fertil Steril. 2016 Jul; 2016 Mar 18. PMID: 26997249
- Steiner AZ, Jukic AM: Impact of female age and nulligravidity on fecundity in an older reproductive age cohort. Fertil Steril. 2016 Jun; 2016 Mar 5. PMID: 26953733