Melissa Wellons, MD, MHS is Assistant Professor in the Division of Preventive Medicine (DOPM) at the University of Alabama, Birmingham (DAB). During residency and chief residency, she developed a new research interest in women's health and cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention. She is committed to an academic career in clinical research and has a proven track record of completing projects and working independently. A K-23 award will provide her with 1) further education in CVD epidemiology, 2) advanced training in biostatistical techniques, cardiovascular imaging, and reproductive endocrinology;3) opportunity to test hypotheses regarding CVD risk in women, and 4) mentorship with outstanding investigators to become a highly productive researcher. Mentors: Cora E. Lewis, MD, MSPH, Professor, DOPM (Primary Mentor) brings expertise in CVD epidemiology and prevention in women. Dr. Nelda Wray, MD, MPH, Professor, DOPM (Co-Mentor) is an experienced CVD researcher and has mentored over 25 junior faculty. Environment: The DOPM at UAB offers a vibrant research environment and commits to protecting Dr. Wellons'time to develop her research career. Research: Dr. Wellons overarching hypothesis is that atherosclerosis of the ovarian vasculature during young adulthood may be a primary determinant of early menopause (natural menopause at an age # 46). Further stated, she posits that early menopause may be a manifestation of subclinical CVD.
Her aims 1 -2 include a bi-racial cohort of women from the NHLBI sponsored CARDIA study: a prospective, epidemiologic study of the determinants and evolution of CVD risk factors among young adults (ages 18-30) which completed its 20th year of follow-up in 2006. In this cohort, she will 1) investigate a marker of subclinical CVD (intimal-medial thickness) and its association with early menopause and 2) investigate the levels of and rate of change of CVD risk factors during women's young adulthood (the premenopausal time period) and their association with the likelihood of undergoing early menopause.
For Aim 3, she will recruit women from the UAB Infertility Clinic and will assess the relationship between small ovarian volume (a marker of early menopause), ovarian perfusion, and CVD risk factors. Conclusion: The proposed career development and research plan will place Dr. Wellons on a 5-year trajectory to reach her target of becoming an independent investigator in CVD prevention in women.
|Wellons, Melissa F; Bates, Gordon Wright; Schreiner, Pamela J et al. (2013) Antral follicle count predicts natural menopause in a population-based sample: the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Women's Study. Menopause 20:825-30|
|McKnight, Katherine K; Wellons, Melissa F; Sites, Cynthia K et al. (2011) Racial and regional differences in age at menopause in the United States: findings from the REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study. Am J Obstet Gynecol 205:353.e1-8|
|Calderon-Margalit, R; Schwartz, S M; Wellons, M F et al. (2010) Prospective association of serum androgens and sex hormone-binding globulin with subclinical cardiovascular disease in young adult women: the "Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults" women's study. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 95:4424-31|