PROTECT Team Members Present at ISEE 2019

Researchers and trainees from PROTECT attended and presented at the 31st annual conference of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology (ISEE 2019). This year’s conference was held in Utrecht, the Netherlands, from August 25th through 28th. A total of 12 participants from PROTECT attended the conference, which typically draws over 1,000 people annually and includes participants from academia, government, the non-profit sector, and industry. Attendees included Dr. Deb Watkins, Pahriya Ashrap, Amber Cathey, Marybeth Ingle, and Max Aung from Project 1; Dr. Carmen Vélez-Vega, Héctor Torres, Zaira Rosario-Pabón, and Ishwara Ayala from the Human Subjects & Sampling Core (HSSC) and the Community Engagement Core in Puerto Rico; and Dr. José Cordero, Dr. Michael Welton, and Stephanie Eick from the HSSC at the University of Georgia.

PROTECT Trainee Pahriya Ashrap standing in front of her poster at ISEE 2019
PROTECT Trainee Pahriya Ashrap presenting at ISEE 2019

This year, PROTECT participants presented six posters throughout the conference (see full list of posters below). Project 1 trainee Pahriya Ashrap presented her poster during the Pregnancy Outcomes Poster Discussion Session, which included a 45 minute poster presentation for 18 posters followed by a group discussion with all presenters. Pahriya’s poster focused on “Maternal blood metal levels in association with birth outcomes in northern Puerto Rico.” This study investigated heavy metal concentrations in maternal blood collected at 16-20 and 24-28 weeks gestation along with birth outcome measures; results suggest that low-level prenatal lead exposure along with high manganese and zinc exposure may be a factor in preterm birth and shorter gestational age. The full abstract is available at the poster discussion session link above.

On August 27th, PROTECT staff researcher and former trainee Héctor Torres gave an oral presentation titled “Maternal health in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico,” as part of a session on “Health effects of climate change in low- and middle-income countries.” The presentation reviewed the results of a questionnaire administered in 2018 regarding hurricane-related stress and environmental exposures in women who were pregnant during Maria or its immediate aftermath. Analysis is ongoing, but preliminary results indicate significant sources of stress following the hurricane, including the use of a power generator, lack of electricity for an average of 108 days, property damage/loss, and stagnant water near their homes. This ongoing work will contribute to knowledge on the impacts of natural disasters on maternal and child health, with a goal of identifying ways to minimize these impacts in future disasters.

PROTECT is pleased to have participated in another successful ISEE, and we look forward to next year’s meeting.

Click here to see more PROTECT photos from ISEE 2019.

PROTECT Researchers Ishwara Ayala, Hector Torres, Deb Watkins, Carmen Velez Vega, Michael Welton, Zaira Rosario, and Jose Cordero pose for a photo with Dr. Berna van Wendel from the University of Costa Rica
PROTECT Researchers pose for a photo with session moderator Dr. Berna van Wendel (University of Costa Rica), following Héctor Torres’ oral presentation. From left to right: Ishwara Ayala, Héctor Torres, Deb Watkins, Dr. Berna van Wendel, Carmen Vélez-Vega, Michael Welton, Zaira Rosario, and José Cordero

ISEE 2019 Poster and Oral Presentations (* indicates trainee):

Ashrap P*, Watkins DJ, Rosario-Pabón Z, Vélez-Vega CM, Alshawabkeh A, Cordero JF, Meeker JD. 2019. Maternal blood metal levels in association with birth outcomes in northern Puerto Rico. Poster discussion at the Annual Meeting of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology. August 26. Utrecht, Netherlands.

Cathey AL*, Watkins DJ, Rosario-Pabón Z, Vélez-Vega CM, Alshawabkeh A, Cordero JF, Meeker JD. 2019. Individual and joint effects of phthalate metabolites on oxidative stress among pregnant women in Puerto Rico. Poster presentation at the Annual Meeting of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology. August 26. Utrecht, Netherlands.

Eick SM*, Meeker JD, Brown P, Swartzendruber A, Shen Y, Rios-McConnell R, Rosario Z, Vélez-Vega CM, Milne GL, Alshawabkeh AN, Cordero JF, Ferguson KK. 2019. Associations between psychosocial stress and oxidative stress during pregnancy in Puerto Rico. Poster presentation at the Annual Meeting of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology. August 27. Utrecht, Netherlands.

Rosario Z, Ayala I, Vélez-Vega CM, Huerta G, Watkins DJ, Suh H, Betancourt G, Alshawabkeh AN, Cordero JF, Meeker JD. 2019. Exposures and Respiratory Health Among Children in an Ongoing Birth Cohort in Puerto Rico. Poster presentation at the Annual Meeting of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology. August 27. Utrecht, Netherlands.

Torres Zayas HR, Vélez-Vega CM, Rosario-Pabón Z, Welton M, Agosto L, Cardona N, Díaz Reguero ZJ, Alshawabkeh A, Cordero JF, Meeker JD, Watkins DJ. 2019. Maternal health in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico. Oral presentation at the Annual Meeting of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology. August 27. Utrecht, Netherlands.

Watkins DJ, Zimmerman E, Manjourides J, Hines M*, Huerta-Montanez G, Rosario-Pabón Z, Vélez-Vega CM, Cordero JF, Meeker JD, Alshawabkeh A. 2019. Associations between in utero phthalate exposure and non-nutritive suck: a measure of early neurodevelopment. Poster presentation at the Annual Meeting of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology. August 26. Utrecht, Netherlands.