Dr. Kristina Whitworth was recently awarded a five-year, $1.8 million R01 grant from the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) under the Outstanding New Environmental Scientist Award (ONES) program. Dr. Whitworth is an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health in San Antonio and a member of the Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (SWCOEH).
Dr. Whitworth’s project is multidisciplinary, bringing together international experts from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), the University of Valencia, and the Department of Health, Basque Country with UTHealth colleagues Drs. Elaine Symanski and Michael Swartz at UTHealth School of Public Health and Dr. Suneet Chauhan at the McGovern Medical School.
As part of her project, Dr. Whitworth and her team will use data from a large Spanish pregnancy cohort called INMA to assess potential sensitive windows of exposure to fine particulate matter air pollution during pre- and post-natal periods on child cognitive and behavioral outcomes.
“Given the developmental potential of children, exposure timing is critical in understanding the specific nature of the relationship between environmental exposures, such as air pollution and child cognitive and behavioral outcomes,” Dr. Whitworth says. “This study aims to shed light on these specific windows of vulnerability and, along with an investigation of the role of in utero fetal growth, will improve our understanding of the mechanism by which air pollution adversely impacts child neurodevelopment.”Friday Letter Submission