The five investigators who had Adjunct appointments with NIMHD DIR in FY17 continued their appointments for FY18. They are described briefly. Fasil Tekola-Ayele, Ph.D., is an Stadtman Tenure Track Investigator in the NICHD Epidemiology Branch of the Division of Intramural Population Health Research. He was appointed as an Adjunct Investigator in FY16. His lab employs genetic-epidemiology approaches integrating genomic and environmental data to investigate genetic influences in early growth, cardiometabolic diseases and health disparities. For example, using genome-wide data from a longitudinal cohort of ancestrally diverse individuals in the NICHD Fetal Growth Studies cohort, he studies genetic mechanisms in longitudinal fetal growth variations and related maternal cardiometabolic traits, and the role of genetic ancestry for observed disparities in fetal growth among diverse ancestral populations. Michele Evans, M.D. is the Deputy Scientific Director, Senior Investigator and Chief, Disparities Research Section, Laboratory of Epidemiology and Population Sciences at NIA. She was appointed as an Adjunct Investigator in FY16. Dr. Evans is a board-certified internist and medical oncologist. Dr. Evans is the Principal Investigator of the Healthy Aging in Neighborhoods of Diversity Across the Life Span (HANDLS) study, a cohort study of 3,720 community-dwelling African American and white adults aged 30-64 that sampled a wide range of socioeconomic status individuals in Baltimore, MD. Her research interests include investigating the role of oxidative stress in accelerated aging and populations at risk for health disparities. Chandra Jackson, PhD, MS, is a Stadtman Tenure Track Investigator with a primary appointment in the Epidemiology Branch at NIEHS. She arrived at NIEHS in January 2017. Dr. Jacksons research program goals are to: 1) Investigate modifiable upstream factors in the physical and social environment that contribute to health inequities; and 2) Identify downstream social, behavioral, and biological pathways leading to health inequities. Dr. Jackson indicated that she has a particular interest in how race plays a part in the interaction of physical and social environment and suboptimal sleep with cardiometabolic dysfunction outcomes. Tiffany Powell-Wiley, M.D., M.P.H. is an Assistant Clinical Investigator, in the Social Determinants of Obesity and Cardiovascular Risk Lab at NHLBI. She was appointed as an Adjunct Investigator in FY16 and is a Stadtman Tenure Track Investigator. Dr. Powell-Wiley's research interests include investigating the social determinants of obesity and obesity-related cardiovascular risk factors that contribute to racial and ethnic disparities in cardiovascular disease. She has been investigating the relationship between neighborhood environment and the development of obesity employing community-based participatory research approaches in the African American community of Washington, D.C. She is designing and testing several interventions to improve nutrition and promote weight loss among overweight African Americans, including a mobile phone intervention. Anne Sumner, M.D. is a Senior Investigator and Chief of the Section on Ethnicity and Health in the Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Obesity Branch of NIDDK. She was appointed as an Adjunct Investigator in FY16.
Her research aims to design screening tests and early interventions to decrease the impact of the diabetes and heart disease in African descent populations worldwide. Her research, determined that triglyceride-based screening tests failed to detect early cardiometabolic disease in African-Americans and African immigrants to the United States, thus, missing important opportunities to intervene and delay or prevent diabetes. Her team continues to investigate the best screening tests for cardiometabolic disease in African descent populations. Dr. Sumner is the founder of the Rwanda Fellowship Program for clinician researchers that is co-funded by the NIMHD DIR.