Fall 2022 Seminars

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 13 2022 | 3:30 p.m Zoom

Julie Petersen, PhD

University of Pittsburgh
Department of Epidemiology

“A Look into the Black Box: Machine Learning Applications in Perinatal Epidemiology”

Have you heard of machine learning but don’t really know what it is? I will review a selection of my work applying supervised and unsupervised machine learning methods to research topics in perinatal epidemiology. These topics include: 1) investigation of subgroups of placental features using cluster analysis and their relations with adverse pregnancy outcomes and 2) exploration of potential risk factors for gastroschisis (a congenital malformation of the abdomen whose prevalence has increased in recent years) using random forests. By the end of the talk, my hope is that you will have a better sense of what these methods are, what they are capable of (and their limitations), and maybe see how they could be applied in your own research. 


THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2022 | 3:30 p.m.  Zoom

Margot Kushel, MD

Professor of Medicine
University of California, San Francisco

"Aging in Homeless Populations: An Emerging Crisis"

In this talk, Dr. Kushel will discuss her ongoing longitudinal study of older adults who experience homelessness: the “Health Outcomes in People Experiencing Homelessness in Older Middle agE” (HOPE HOME) study. This cohort, active since 2013, has enrolled and followed adults 50 and older and homeless at time of enrollment. She will discuss both the methods her team has used to engage and follow this population, key findings, and implications for policy and practice. 


THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2022  3:30 p.m
In-Person: E4 Fee Hall or via Zoom

Rebecca R. Knickmeyer, PhD

Michigan State University
Associate Professor
Pediatrics and Human Development

"Genes, Microbes, and Brain Development"

The prenatal and early postnatal period represents the foundational phase of human brain development, while infancy and early childhood are characterized by explosive brain growth, the emergence of functional brain networks, and dramatic advances in cognitive ability and behavioral repertoire.  The goal of Dr. Knickmeyer's research program is to identify genes and molecular pathways that shape brain development during these critical stages through the integration of pediatric neuroimaging with cutting-edge techniques in genomics, metagenomics, and analytical chemistry. In this talk, Dr. Knickmeyer will present data from several different studies. The first portion of her presentation will focus on identifying common genetics variants associated with brain morphometry and white matter microstructure in the infant brain using genome-wide association approaches. The second portion of her presentation will focus on integrating measures of the infant gut microbiome with imaging and behavioral data, which has revealed that certain features of the human infant gut microbiome are strongly associated with infants' cognitive development, regional brain volumes, functional connectivity, and responses to frightening or unpleasant stimuli.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2022 | 3:30 p.m.  Zoom

Sandie Ha, PhD

Assistant Professor
University of California, Merced

"Climate change and pregnancy health"


Climate change is the biggest public health threat of the 21st century but has not received the emphasis within the field of epidemiology to match its unprecedented health threats. Moreover, climate impacts on pregnancy health are largely unexplored. In this talk, Dr. Ha will present evidence linking adverse perinatal outcomes with climate related health drivers such as air pollution and extreme temperatures. She will further discuss potential intergenerational impacts of climate change.