My research is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of cardiometabolic diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. I address this research objective from the perspectives of lifecourse epidemiology, nutritional science, microbiome science, and environmental health science. I believe that primordial prevention of lifestyle and environmental risk factors, particularly in high-risk populations (e.g., mothers and children), provides the greatest opportunity to curb contemporary, chronic disease epidemics. As such much of my research aims to identify early-life, modifiable antecedents of cardiometabolic disease in diverse populations, both in the U.S. and globally.
Since 2014, my research has largely focused on using epidemiologic studies to identify impacts on the intestinal microbiota, and on translating these findings into clinical trials in which we can rigorously test interventions to restore and/or modify our intestinal microbiota to improve our health. Recently, I have also begun to investigate how in utero exposure to environmental factors, including ambient air pollution and heavy metals, affect cardiometabolic health outcomes of mothers and children. The overarching objective of my research is to decrease the high burden of cardiometabolic diseases by developing the scientific basis for population-based clinical, behavioral, and pharmacologic interventions.
My work is enriched through mentoring students and facilitated by collaborations with colleagues in the US and abroad. I also thoroughly enjoy teaching general epidemiology, clinical epidemiology, nutritional science, and microbiome science. My research, teaching, and mentoring efforts are currently partitioned between the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the LEAD Center at the Colorado School of Public Health.