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Principal Investigator: Wylie, Amanda C.
Institute Receiving Award Univ Of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Location Chapel Hill, NC
Grant Number F31ES034256
Funding Organization National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Award Funding Period 01 Mar 2023 to 28 Feb 2025
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): PROJECT SUMMARY Exposures to toxic metals and psychological and social stressors during sensitive periods of fetal and infant development are associated with poorer child cognitive and socioemotional development. There is also evidence for moderating effects between toxic metals and psychological and social stressors, such that the effects of toxic metals on development may be conditional upon exposures to psychological and social stress and vice versa. Because physical, psychological, and social risk factors tend to cluster, the study of combined exposures may be more ecologically valid. Though prior studies have utilized two-way statistical interactions to examine these combined effects, these models still fall short in recognizing that individuals are concurrently exposed to multiple risk and protective factors across the physical and social environments. Previous studies have also failed to rigorously test the extent to which caregiving experience may mitigate or exacerbate the effects of prenatal exposure to toxic metals on child outcomes. Using longitudinal data from the Brain and Early Experiences Study and a finite mixture modeling approach, this study will: 1) categorize prenatal exposures to toxic metals, psychological and social risk factors, and protective factors into latent profiles of prenatal risk; 2) test associations between latent profiles of prenatal risk and indices of child cognitive and socioemotional development at 36 months old; and 3) examine indices of caregiving experience as moderators for the effects of latent profiles of prenatal risk on child cognitive and socioemotional development. Throughout these analyses, inferences between the latent profile approach and more traditional statistical approaches (i.e., two-way interactions) will be compared. This study will examine prenatal toxic metal and psychological and social risk holistically and has the potential to identify strategies to offset the effects of prenatal toxic metals and psychological and social risk on child development. The accompanying training plan will provide Ms. Wylie with the foundation to build her program of research which will combine developmental and public health sciences to study the joint influences of the physical and social environments on child development, and how positive social experience may be used to mitigate the effects of physical and chemical stressors. Specifically, Ms. Wylie will a) build her substantive expertise in early life environmental exposures relevant to child neurodevelopment and their mechanisms of action; b) expand her quantitative skillset towards the application of finite mixture models and moderation analyses; c) expand her expertise in the study of protective social environments in early life; and d) develop her interdisciplinary collaborations and career development skills. Ms. Wylie has assembled a stellar and cohesive mentorship team from the disciplines of developmental science, environmental science, and quantitative psychology. This mentorship team carries the expertise, experience, and dedication to Ms. Wylie’s professional development that will ensure the successful completion of her training goals and research plan.
Science Code(s)/Area of Science(s) Primary: 61 - Neurodevelopmental
Secondary: 03 - Carcinogenesis/Cell Transformation
Publications No publications associated with this grant
Program Officer Kimberly Gray
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