Nov 12, 2021: Gene-environment interactions as risk factors for neurodevelopmental disorders

Headshot of Heather E. Volk, PhD, MPH

Heather E. Volk, PhD, MPH

Associate Professor

Departments of Mental Health and Environmental Health and Engineering

Bloomberg School of Public Health

Johns Hopkins University

She / Her / Hers


In her seminar, Dr. Volk will summarize findings from studies of air pollution on risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD), cognitive development, and discuss the role of potential gene-air pollution interaction.

About the Speaker: Heather E. Volk, PhD, MPH is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mental Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is also Co-Director of the NICHD-funded Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (IDDRC) at the Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins University, and Associate Director for Environmental Epidemiology in the Wendy Klag Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Research. Dr. Volk additionally is co-Director of the Psychiatric Epidemiology Training program, supported by a Institutional Training grant (T32) from the National Institute of Mental Health. She also holds a joint appointment in the School’s Department of Environmental Health and Engineering. Dr. Volk earned a MPH in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Boston University and a PhD in Public Health Studies (Epidemiology) at Saint Louis University, prior to post-doctoral training in Environmental Genomics through the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Southern California (USC).  She, along with her team, studies how environmental and genetic factors work together to confer risk for neurodevelopmental outcomes, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  She is the PI of several NIH-funded research grants which examine how environmental exposures (air pollution, metals) effect brain development, epidemiologic studies of comorbidity with ASD, and leads investigations into joint genetic, epigenetic, and environmental risks for ASD.  Dr. Volk additionally serves as co-PI for the Autism Spectrum Disorder Enriched Risk ECHO Cohort, a collaboration of nine cohorts of infants at high-familial risk for ASD.

Friday, November 12, 12:00-1:15 pm Eastern


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