Candidate: Dr. Kelli Ryckman is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow for the Carver College of Medicine at the University of Iowa. Her primary research focus is on the genetics and epidemiology of complex reproductive disorders including preterm birth and related complications. Her short-term career goals are to enhance her knowledge of the genetics of complex reproductive and perinatal conditions in newborns and to gain additional skills in analytical methods and techniques for elucidating risks of complex diseases. Her long-term goals are to become a funded independent scientist in the fields of genetics, statistics and epidemiology as tenure-track faculty at a University. Her research plan is innovative in combining genomic and metabolomic profiles to understand complex disease risks. This research will utilize the Iowa Newborn Metabolic Screening Program (INMSP) where a deep resource of phenotypic, environmental and genetic components is available. This research has the potential to identify new biological pathways involved in neonatal disease and to have direct clinical impact on universal newborn screening programs. Mentors and Consultants: Dr. Jeff Murray will serve as primary mentor on this award. He is a well-funded full professor at the University of Iowa with 25 years of experience in training successful graduate and postdoctoral students. Dr. Mary Marazita, an expert in the field of statistical genetics, will serve as co-mentor of this award. Drs. Stanton Berberich and Kristi Borowski will serve as consultants on this project by providing clinical and statistical genetic expertise. Drs. Sara Copeland, John Dagle and Jonathan Haines will serve as external advisory members and will consult with, advise and evaluate the progress of Dr. Ryckman throughout the award period and have complementary expertise in the metabolomics of the neonatal biochemical milieu, the complications of preterm birth and genomic analysis. Environment: The University of Iowa has an established reputation for the successful training of graduate and postdoctoral students, particularly in research and clinical areas. The University offers a range of learning and development seminars as well as other programs focused on career development and advancement and particularly benefits from training opportunities deriving from its ICTS (Institute for Clinical and Translational Sciences) support by a CTSA award. Career Development Plan: Dr. Ryckman plans to meet regularly with her mentors, consultants and external advisory members to gain the knowledge necessary to obtain her career and research goals as well as attending tutorials, courses, seminars and relevant conferences. Research Study: The focus of this study is to use the Iowa newborn screening data as a model for studying the metabolomic and genomic profiles of newborns and relate the profiles to human disease, particularly prematurity and its complications.

Public Health Relevance

Understanding the etiology of complex genetic diseases can only be accomplished by studying large database repositories containing a wealth of environmental, phenotypic and genetic variables. The focus of this work will be to use the rich resource of data from the Iowa newborn metabolic screening database as a model for studying the combined genomic and metabolomic profiles of newborns. This research will aid in increasing the sensitivity and accuracy of newborn screening tests while identifying key environmental, metabolic and genetic factors that may impact complex diseases such as preterm birth.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Research Transition Award (R00)
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Special Emphasis Panel (NSS)
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Urv, Tiina K
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University of Iowa
Schools of Medicine
Iowa City
United States
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Ryckman, Kelli K; Spracklen, Cassandra N; Dagle, John M et al. (2014) Maternal factors and complications of preterm birth associated with neonatal thyroid stimulating hormone. J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab 27:929-38
Ryckman, Kelli K; Smith, Caitlin J; Jelliffe-Pawlowski, Laura L et al. (2014) Metabolic heritability at birth: implications for chronic disease research. Hum Genet 133:1049-57