Candidate: I am a Research Assistant Professor with the Eating Disorders Program in the Department of Psychiatry at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I have training in developmental psychopathology and eating disorders. I am seeking training in childhood deregulated eating, psychiatric genetics, longitudinal data analysis, and proteome methodology. Career Goals: My ultimate goal is to define prodromal eating disorders-early signs and symptoms that emerge before the onset of eating disorders-and develop a prognostic algorithm of eating disorder risk in children. Translational science to detect prodromal eating disorders could have the potential to prevent later eating disorders by altering developmental trajectories through early intervention. Career Development: I plan to build my skills and expertise in four areas: 1. Dysregulated eating in childhood;2. Psychiatric genetics including the development of a polygenic risk index;3. Longitudinal data analyses including latent trajectory modeling;and 4. Prodrome theory, methodology, and collaborative research. Research Project: The proposed project leverages existing resources by using previously collected data from the Norwegian Mother and Child Study (MoBa), a longitudinal prospective birth cohort study and biobank of ~110,000 Norwegian children and their mothers. First, I will map the developmental trajectories of restrictive eating in children from 18 months t 8 years of age and test models of pathways to 8-year-old's restrictive eating (e.g. food avoidance and emotional underrating eating less when angry or anxious). Second, I will map the developmental trajectories of binge eating in children from 36 months to 8 years of age and test models of pathways to 8-year-old's binge eating (e.g. eating large amount of food in a short period of time and experiencing loss of control over eating having the impression that one could not stop eating). Third, I will examine the impact of the addition of an anorexia nervosa polygenic risk index to inform trajectory and pathway models of children's restrictive eating in the children of mothers with and without anorexia nervosa. In future independent applications (R01s), these results will inform multi-method direct observations of the children at risk for eating disorders in MoBa as they age into adolescence, the period of greatest risk for eating disorder onset. Environment: The research and training will take place in the Department of Psychiatry at UNC Chapel Hill with additional training in the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Mentorship: The mentorship team includes lead mentor, Dr. Cynthia Bulik, a psychologist, and internationally recognized expert in eating disorder research and treatment and co-mentor, Dr. Patrick Sullivan, a psychiatrist and leading expert in psychiatric genetics. Dr. Eliana Perrin, consultant, is a pediatrician with expertise in deregulated eating in middle childhood. Dr. Kari North, consultant, is a genetic epidemiologist and will provide expertise in integrating genetics and longitudinal data analysis and methods. Dr. Ted Reichborn-Kjennerud, consultant, is a psychiatrist and expert in the MoBa dataset and psychiatric genetic epidemiology. Dr. Robert Hamer, a consultant, is a biostatistician and expert in longitudinal modeling. Dr. Diana Perkins, consultant, is a psychiatrist and co-principal investigator of genomics component of the North American Prodrome Longitudinal Study for schizophrenia.
Eating disorders represent a serious public health concern. Approximately 0.5 percent of women in the United States will have anorexia nervosa, 1 percent to 2 percent will have bulimia nervosa and 3.5 percent will have binge eating disorder over their lifetime.1 Eating disorders carry unacceptably high personal, familial, and societal costs.2-6 Detecting the earliest warning signs in middle childhood before puberty and eating disorder onset poses our greatest opportunity to avert the development of eating disorders. The proposed research will examine how deregulated eating develops in childhood and will ultimately assist in the early detection and prevention of eating disorders.
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