Kelli Ryckman, associate professor of epidemiology and pediatrics, will be the 2016 – 2017 State Hygienic Laboratory Environmental and Public Health Ambassador.
Ryckman, who specializes in understanding genetic and metabolic predicators of preterm birth, will serve in the honorary position to help raise awareness of the public health laboratory system and its role in assuring the health of Iowans.
An open house to welcome Ryckman is scheduled for 3 – 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 4 at the State Hygienic Laboratory on the UI Research Park Campus in Coralville.
“Dr. Ryckman’s research into how we can improve birth outcomes dovetails perfectly with the Hygienic Laboratory’s focus on maternal and newborn screening,” said State Hygienic Laboratory Director Christopher Atchison. “We look forward to expanding our work with Dr. Ryckman to further improve birth outcomes in Iowa.”
Ryckman has authored many studies, including research of metabolic profiles and gestation. She collaborated with the State Hygienic Laboratory and the Iowa Newborn Screening Program on the study.
Also scheduled for 2 – 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 4 is a visit to the laboratory by the UI Mobile Museum, which brings university artifacts, research and interactive displays to communities across the state. The Hygienic Laboratory’s Ambient Air Quality program is featured in one of this year’s displays. Since April 2016, the Mobile Museum has traveled 4,366 miles and attracted 10,413 visitors.
Investigators in the College of Public Health will lead a project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to evaluate newborn metabolic biomarkers for their ability to predict gestational age, and identify associations between them and long-term academic achievement.
The project will analyze existing data on gestational age, newborn metabolic profiles and academic tests from the population of children born in Iowa over the past three decades and will identify the most predictive biomarkers of gestational age and academic achievement. The investigators will also evaluate how much metabolic markers explain differences in educational achievement by gestational age. In the future they will expand their method to developing countries to help estimate gestational age and identify newborns at risk of neurodevelopmental impairments and poor academic achievement.
George Wehby, associate professor of health management and policy at the University of Iowa College of Public Health is leading the project. Other University of Iowa investigators and collaborators include Kelli Ryckman, assistant professor of epidemiology; the State Hygienic Laboratory at the University of Iowa; and Iowa Testing Programs, a research, development, and outreach unit in the University of Iowa College of Education.
New research led by Kelli Ryckman, assistant professor of epidemiology, shows that lower birth weight is associated with an increased risk for type 2 diabetes in white and black postmenopausal women in the U.S.
“Our findings confirm what we’ve seen with other studies in that low birth weight is a risk factor for later life type 2 diabetes,” says Ryckman. “What was unique about our study is that it was a large cohort of postmenopausal women who were very diverse in ethnicity and race.”