Marcia Feldkamp, PhD, PA, MSPH, is the Principal Investigator of the Utah Center. She is responsible for overseeing the Center’s infrastructure, its related activities for data collection, and the research projects in Utah. In 2009, she was the Chair of the NBDPS Coordinating Council in 2009 and as of 2010, is the Chair of the Infection Work Group. Dr. Feldkamp is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Utah.
What are your research interests?
I am interested in many birth defects, but one in particular, gastroschisis, is very intriguing. Gastroschisis is the primary focus of my research with a particular emphasis on studying whether certain infections increase the risk for gastroschisis. In addition, by studying families, I am investigating the potential genetic susceptibility of gastroschisis.
Why do you study birth defects?
I became interested in reproductive issues while working as a physician assistant. At that time, we used the Prescription Drug Reference (PDR) to determine whether a drug was a concern in pregnancy, which wasn't all that helpful. I realized there was a need for more research to improve our understanding about the mechanisms and causes of birth defects. Because of this interest, I developed the Utah Birth Defect Network in the early 1990’s to serve as a resource for population-based surveillance, research, and prevention.
Why do you think the NBDPS is important?
The NBDPS is the largest population-based study investigating the environmental and genetic causes of birth defects in the US. This study should provide the necessary clues to improve our understanding about environmental exposures, genetic susceptibility and the risk to the developing embryo.
What are your hopes for the study?
It is my hope that from this national study that we will improve our understanding about the impact of environmental exposures and pinpoint which exposures can be decreased at the population level by implementing primary prevention activities. Primary prevention activities, directed at women in their childbearing years, before pregnancy occurs, will ultimately result in improving the number of babies born healthy.
How long have you worked in this field? On the NBDPS?
20 years in the field and 10 years on the NBDPS.
What is most rewarding about working for the NBDPS?
Working with the many experts in the field from the other Centers and learning something new every day.
Selected NBDPS Publications:
Feldkamp ML, Meyer RE, Krikov S, Botto LD. Acetaminophen use in pregnancy and risk for birth defects: findings from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. Ob Gyn. 2010 Jan. 115(1):109-15.
Feldkamp ML, Reefhuis J, Kucik J, Krikov S, Wilson A, Moore CA, Carey JC, Botto LD and the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. Case-control study of self reported genitourinary infections and risk of gastroschisis: findings from the national birth defects prevention study, 1997-2003. BMJ. 2008 Jun 21; 336(7658): 1420-3.