Philip May

Philip A. May, PhD

Department of Nutrition
UNC Nutrition Research Institute
500 Laureate Way, Room 1145
Kannapolis, NC 28081


The major focus of Dr. May’s work is the epidemiology of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). With an exceptional multidisciplinary clinical and epidemiologic research team from several universities, Dr. May is funded by NIH to research the characteristics of FASD in South Africa, Italy, and the general population of the United States. His studies have helped refine the diagnostic criteria for FASD, define proximal and distal maternal risk factors for FASD, and target prevention and intervention on FASD. His research team’s investigations have specifically linked maternal body mass and dietary intake to the severity of FASD outcomes in children. Studies of maternal nutrition in the prenatal period, nutritional interventions for young children, and biomarkers of alcohol use are currently underway in South Africa.

Honors and Awards

Geoffrey Robinson Memorial Keynote Presentation
2017, International Conference on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

Henry Rosett Award
2014, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Study Group, Research Society on Alcoholism

Excellence Award
2011, National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

The Mark Keller Honorary Lecture Award
October 29, 2018, The National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), Bethesda, Maryland

Key Publications

Prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders in 4 US Communities. P May, C Chambers, W Kalberg, J Zellner, H Feldman, D Buckley, D Kopald, J Hasken, R Xu, G Honerkamp-Smith, H Taras, M Manning, L Robinson, M Adam, O Abdul-Rahman, K Vaux, T Jewett, A Elliott, J Kable, N Akshoomoff, D Falk, J Arroyo, D Hereld, E Riley, M Charness, C Coles, K Warren, K Jones, H Hoyme (2018). JAMA, 319(5), 474-482.

A utilitarian comparison of two alcohol use biomarkers with self-reported drinking history collected in antenatal clinics. P May, J Hasken, M De Vries, A Marais, J Stegall, D Marsden, C Parry, S Seedat, B Tabachnick (2018). Reproductive toxicology (Elmsford, N.Y.), 77.

Breastfeeding and maternal alcohol use: Prevalence and effects on child outcomes and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. P May, J Hasken, J Blankenship, A Marais, B Joubert, M Cloete, M de Vries, R Barnard, I Botha, S Roux, C Doms, J Gossage, W Kalberg, D Buckley, L Robinson, C Adnams, M Manning, C Parry, H Hoyme, B Tabachnick, S Seedat (2016). Reproductive toxicology (Elmsford, N.Y.), 63.

The continuum of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders in a community in South Africa: Prevalence and characteristics in a fifth sample. P May, A Marais, M de Vries, W Kalberg, D Buckley, J Hasken, C Adnams, R Barnard, B Joubert, M Cloete, B Tabachnick, L Robinson, M Manning, K Jones, H Bezuidenhout, S Seedat, C Parry, H Hoyme (2016). Drug and alcohol dependence, 168.

Computer-Aided Recognition of Facial Attributes for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. M Valentine, D Bihm, L Wolf, H Hoyme, P May, D Buckley, W Kalberg, O Abdul-Rahman (2017). Pediatrics, 140(6).

Who is most affected by prenatal alcohol exposure: Boys or girls? P May, B Tabachnick, J Hasken, A Marais, M de Vries, R Barnard, B Joubert, M Cloete, I Botha, W Kalberg, D Buckley, Z Burroughs, H Bezuidenhout, L Robinson, M Manning, C Adnams, S Seedat, C Parry, H Hoyme (2017). Drug and alcohol dependence, 177.

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and assessment of maxillary and mandibular arc measurements. K Abell, W May, P May, W Kalberg, H Hoyme, L Robinson, M Manning, K Jones, O Abdul-Rahman (2016). American journal of medical genetics. Part A.


  • PhD, Demography, Epidemiology and Population Studies, The University of Montana, 1976
  • MA, Sociology, Wake Forest University, 1971
  • BA, Sociology, Catawba College, 1969