Medical and Research Partners

The Heartland Study team includes:

  • Two Principal Investigators, Dr. Melissa Perry and Dr. Paul Winchester,
  • Our Science Advisory Board,
  • Members of operational and administrative committees,
  • Technical and administrative staff, and
  • Research leads and key staff at partner hospitals.

See Our Scientists for much more on the key people engaged in this study. In addition to this core team, several scientists and collaborating institutions are working on specific, technical projects or tasks at the request of the Heartland Study. These include the Organic and Analytical Toxicology Branch of the CDC; the Ramazzini Institute in Bologna, Italy; the Gene Expression and Therapy Group, King’s College, London; the Health Resources Institute in Faifield, Iowa; and, the Indiana University School of Medicine.

The Heartland Study organizational chart  provides an overview of our collaborators.

Current and prospective project partners are noted below:

Partner hospitals will be identified from each of the 13 Midwestern states in our target area (the 12 states in the Census Bureau’s Midwestern U.S. Region, plus Arkansas).  The map below shows prospective and current, Heartland Study partner hospitals. Pending funding progress, our goal is to be enrolling new mother-infant pairs in at least 6 hospitals by the end of 2020.

Partner labs will process urine and other biological samples, and help develop quicker, more cost-effective methodologies for measuring multiple herbicide levels in human biofluids. These include the analytical laboratories conducting pesticide biomonitoring for the CDC, the Heath Resources Institute in Iowa, and Dr. Roy Gerona’s analytical lab at the UC-San Francisco School of Medicine.

The cutting-edge scientific work of the Heartland Study will be supported by experts utilizing state-of-the-art analytical methods to trace how prenatal chemical exposures can impact the health and development of children. The Science Advisory Board will help set research priorities, evaluate proposals for new work, provide guidance in overcoming unexpected hurdles, identify and recruit new Heartland Study partners, and disseminate the study’s research results and conclusions.

Current Heartland Study-Sponsored Research Projects:

  • Quantifying Herbicide Levels in Amniotic Fluid — In partnership with the clinical research team at Franciscan Health Indianapolis, Dr. John Fagan and colleagues at the Health Research Institute in Fairfield, IA are working to develop a methodology for measuring glyphosate and its primary metabolite, AMPA, in amniotic fluid.
  • Analysis of Historic Urine Samples — Dr. Jill Reiter with the Indiana University School of Medicine is working with the Heartland Study to measure herbicide levels in stored urine samples collected in 2013-2016.  These samples will become part of the Heartland Study’s biomonitoring dataset that will be used to estimate historical trends in herbicide levels in the urine of pregnant women in the Midwest. We are actively working to identified other sources of historic urine samples.
  • Markers of Epigenetic Change Following Herbicide Exposure — A team at King’s College in London is carrying out a genomics analysis of bone marrow tissues collected from the rats used in a Ramazzini Institute subchronic feeding study with glyphosate. The team is searching for markers of methylation changes that appear associated with epigenetic disruption in rat DNA. Any such markers will be drawn upon in our genomic analysis of the cheek (buccal) swabs collected from pregnant women enrolled in the Heartland Study protocol, as well as buccal swabs from newborns, and when possible, other family members.

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