Gillings School Directory

Stephanie M. Engel, PhD

Dr. Stephanie Engel

Stephanie M. Engel, PhD

Department of Epidemiology
  • 2104C McGavran-Greenberg Hall
  • CB #7435
  • Chapel Hill, NC 27599
  • USA

Dr. Engel’s research considers the impact of environmental exposures and innate susceptibility factors on adverse pregnancy outcomes and neurodevelopmental impairment in children. 

Engel has led multiple national and international studies of maternal and child epi/genetic variability in relation to prematurity, growth restriction, preeclampsia and gestational hypertension. A new study, in collaboration with investigators at UNC Charlotte, Virginia Commonwealth University, and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute, will examine the relation of the vaginal microbiome with premature delivery.

Dr. Engel is also deeply engaged in children’s environmental health research and has conducted studies of prenatal exposure to environmental chemicals, including phthalates, phenols, PCBs and pesticides, in relation to neonatal, infant and child neurodevelopment and ADHD, as well as child growth and adiposity. 

Dr. Engel is the lead instructor of “Biomarkers in Population-Based Research” (EPID 742) and “Introduction to Perinatal and Pediatric Epidemiology" (EPID 851).

Honors and Awards

Editor's Choice in AJE "Neonatal genome-wide methylation patterns in relation to birthweight in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort"

2014, UNC-CH

EHP paper of the year "Prenatal Exposure to Organophosphates, Paraoxonase 1, and Cognitive Development in Childhood"

2012, UNC-CH

Representative Courses

EPID 742 “Biomarkers in Population-Based Research”

EPID 851 “Introduction to Perinatal and Pediatric Epidemiology”

Research Activities

Research interests

    Child development
    Environmental toxicants
    Maternal health
    Reproductive health

Research activities

2016-2020 1R01MD011504-01A1 “The Vaginal Microbiome and Racial Disparity in Preterm Birth”. (PI S. Engel) PENDING

This project seeks to determine the association of vaginal microbial ecology with preterm birth, and the relationship between xenobiotic, psychological, and nutritional factors and vaginal microbiome profiles.

2012-2017 NIEHS R01ES021777; “Prenatal Toxicant Exposure and Risk of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder”; (PI: S. Engel)

This project seeks to determine the association of prenatal toxicant exposures with the incidence of ADHD in the Norwegian Mother and Child Birth cohort, and to examine the extent to which maternal thyroid hormone disruption mediates any effects. I am the PI of this project and am responsible for all aspects of project completion.

2016-2021 2 P30 ES010126-15A1 “UNC Center for Environmental Health and Susceptibility (Director, J. Swenberg; Developmental Diseases Translational Research Director: S. Engel, 5%)

This center provides core support and facilitates research into environmental causes of health concerns, emphasizing innate susceptibility and mechanistic studies. Dr. Engel is the director of the Developmental Diseases Translation Research group.

2012-2014 NIEHS R21ES021700; “A Pooled Investigation of Prenatal Phthalate Exposure and Childhood Obesity”; (PI: S. Engel)

This study brings together three NIEHS/EPA funded Children’s Environmental Health Centers to examine the relationship between prenatal phthalate exposure and child growth and adiposity.

2008-2013 NICHD R01HD058008; “Maternal Smoking, Maternal and Fetal Genetic Variation, and Risk of Preeclampsia”; (PI: S. Engel). 

This study examines the role of maternal-child genetics, and prenatal smoking, on the incidence of preeclampsia in a Norwegian population.

2009-2011 NICHD R21HD060207; “Maternal Genetic Variation and Risk of Adverse Pregnancy Outcome”; (PI. S. Engel). 

2003-2011 NIEHS/EPA P01ES09584; “Center for Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Center, Project 2: Pesticides, Endocrine Disruptors, Childhood Growth Development. (Center PI: Wolff, MS; Project 2 PI: S. Engel). 

2004-2011 NIAID U19A1062623; “Viral Immunity in Influenza Infected Adults”; (PI: T Moran; Co-I S. Engel); 

2006-2010 NIEHS R21ES014034; “Advanced Reproductive Age and Environmental Health”: (PI: S. Engel); 

Key Publications

Prenatal Phthalate Exposures and Body Mass Index Among 4- to 7-Year-old Children: A Pooled Analysis. J Buckley, S Engel, J Braun, R Whyatt, J Daniels, M Mendez, D Richardson, Y Xu, A Calafat, M Wolff, B Lanphear, A Herring, A Rundle (2016). Epidemiology (Cambridge, Mass.), 27(3), 449-458.

Prenatal Exposure to Organophosphorous Pesticides and Fetal Growth: Pooled Results from Four Longitudinal Birth Cohort Studies. K Harley, S Engel, M Vedar, B Eskenazi, R Whyatt, B Lanphear, A Bradman, V Rauh, K Yolton, R Hornung, J Wetmur, J Chen, N Holland, D Barr, F Perera, M Wolff (2015). Environmental health perspectives.

Validity of pre-eclampsia registration in the medical birth registry of Norway for women participating in the norwegian mother and child cohort study, 1999-2010. K Klungsøyr, Q Harmon, L Skard, I Simonsen, E Austvoll, E Alsaker, A Starling, L Trogstad, P Magnus, S Engel (2014). Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, 28(5), 362-371.

Neonatal genome-wide methylation patterns in relation to birth weight in the norwegian mother and child cohort. S Engel, B Joubert, M Wu, A Olshan, S Håberg, P Ueland, W Nystad, R Nilsen, S Vollset, S Peddada, S London (2014). American Journal of Epidemiology, 179(7), 834-842.


BA, Psychology, University of California at San Diego, 1997

BS, Animal Physiology and Neuroscience, University of California at San Diego, 1997

MSPH, Epidemiology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2000

PhD, Epidemiology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2003

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