Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care


Seminar by Professor Amanda M. Simanek, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

28 February 2020, 4:00 pm–5:00 pm

‘The Role of Prenatal Socioeconomic Disadvantage in Shaping Epigenetic Programming of Offspring Health: An Examination among Mothers and Babies in the Born in Bradford Cohort’

Event Information

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Professor Nicola Shelton


G12 LT
1-19 Torrington Place

Abstract: Maternal socioeconomic disadvantage (SD) during the prenatal period has been proposed to play a key role in fetal programming of adverse health due to increased in utero exposure to maternal stress hormones, adverse health behaviors and environmental toxins among offspring. While the exact mechanisms by which such programming occurs remains unclear, alterations to DNA that can block gene transcription outside of DNA sequence mutations, such as DNA methylation (DNAm), have been proposed as a key biologic pathway linking maternal SD to offspring health. Few studies have, however, assessed the epigenome-wide association between maternal SD during pregnancy and DNAm in offspring at birth, thus understanding of the contribution of epigenetic alterations in perpetuating socioeconomic disparities in health across generations remains limited. This presentation will discuss preliminary findings from an ongoing project utilizing data on 1000 mother-child pairs in the Born in Bradford cohort to examine the association between various aspects of maternal SD experienced during pregnancy and epigenetic alterations present in offspring at birth.’


About the Speaker

Professor Amanda M. Simanek

Associate Professor of Epidemiology in the Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Dr. Amanda M. Simanek is an Associate Professor of Epidemiology in the Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI, and trained in social epidemiology at University of Michigan School of Public Health in the Center for Social Epidemiology and Population Health. Her research interests include social patterning of infectious disease, links between infectious and chronic disease and immunologic pathways by which socioeconomic disadvantage contributes to poor health across the lifecourse and across generations. She is currently funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities for a study examining the association between maternal socioeconomic disadvantage during pregnancy, adverse birth outcomes and inflammatory response at birth.  She has been visiting UCL as a Marmot Prince Mahidol Fellow since December 2019.