New study to focus on causes of birth defects

January 21, 2009
Andrew Olshan, PhD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Epidemiology in the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has been awarded a $4.9 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study the causes of birth defects.

The grant provides five years of funding for research that will be coordinated by the N.C. Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention, which contributes data to the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. The study is an ongoing project that collects information from nine states, including North Carolina, on the pregnancies of mothers of children with and without birth defects. It is one of the largest epidemiological efforts ever undertaken in the United States to identify environmental and genetic causes of birth defects.

Co-investigators from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health include Anna Maria Siega-Riz, PhD, associate professor of epidemiology and nutrition, and Amy Herring, ScD, associate professor of biostatistics; and from the UNC School of Medicine, Arthur S. Aylsworth, MD, professor of pediatrics and genetics.