I am a molecular anthropologist with an interest in the genetic and sociocultural contributors to racial and social inequalities in health. Currently, I am investigating how social experiences can become biologically embedded early in life to affect health throughout the life course. To do this, I am exploring epigenetic mechanisms, or modifications to the genome, that can link early adverse environmental exposures with altered gene expression, potentially resulting in long-term consequences for adult health and disease. In a current project, I am exploring levels of methylation in a number of stress-response genes in children raised in orphanages relative to those raised in foster care settings in Bucharest, Romania. In past research, I have also explored the role of African genetic ancestry and sociocultural measures of race and socioeconomic status in explaining racial inequalities in blood pressure, both in Puerto Rico and in the US.
Visit the research and publication pages to learn more about my past and current work.
Research in the News
November 30th, 2012
August 13, 2012
Expansion of MHS department at Vanderbilt
June 15, 2012
Racial Disparities in Hypertension Related to Education, not Genetic Ancestry