Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), one of the most common complications of pregnancy, is related to substantial short-term and long-term adverse health outcomes for both women and their offspring. Understanding the epidemiology and etiology of GDM is critical for the development of effective and targeted intervention strategies to prevent GDM and to interrupt the vicious cycle across generations involving maternal GDM, childhood obesity and impaired glucose metabolism, and adulthood onset diabetes. Along this line of research, a series of studies have been conducted and are under study. These include:
- Identification of risk factors, for instance, diet and lifestyle factors, reproductive factors, early life risk factors, and genetic factors, for the development of GDM and its recurrence. In collaboration with investigators at the Harvard School of Public Health and other institutes, a number of novel risk factors have been identified and additional risk factors are currently under study based on data from the Nurses' Health Study II and the Consortium on Safe Labor.
- Investigation of the pathogenesis of GDM using prospectively and longitudinally collected biospecimens from pregnancy cohorts, such as the NICHD Fetal Growth Study. Currently, this line of research focuses on a comprehensive panel of biochemical markers that are putatively implicated in glucose homeostasis, fetal growth, or both. Targeted and non-targeted metabolomics are being analyzed for the discovery of new pathways and/or biochemical markers related to glucose intolerance and subsequent adverse fetal outcomes.
- Investigation of the impact and underlying mechanisms of how a hyperglycemic intrauterine environment affects short-term and long-term health outcomes in the offspring based on multiple datasets, for instance, the Diabetes & Women's Health Study and the Consortium on Safe Labor.
- Stefanie Hinkle, Ph.D.
- Mengying Li, Ph.D.
- Aiyi Liu, Ph.D.
- Enrique F. Schisterman, Ph.D.
- Edwina Yeung, Ph.D.
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