Paul Romitti, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Epidemiology in the College of Public Health at The University of Iowa. Dr. Romitti is the Director of the Iowa Registry for Congenital and Inherited Disorders. He oversees the Iowa Center and directs the interview and sample collection and epidemiologic and gene-environment data analyses for the Center. Dr. Romitti also leads the NBDPS research group to study the effects of tobacco, alcohol, caffeine and illicit drugs on birth defects and is examining the impact of pesticide exposure on birth defects.
What are your research interests?
I am looking at how an individual’s genes can change the risk of birth defects when a mother smokes or drinks.
What do you think the next big discoveries will be?
The NBDPS will give us important clues to the role of diet, medications, smoking, alcohol, and occupation in the causes of birth defects. Knowing this will give us a springboard to develop future prevention programs.
How long have you worked in this field? On the NBDPS?
20 years in the field and thirteen years on the NBDPS.
What are your interests outside of work?
Sports, music, and spending time with my family.
How have birth defects touched my life?
As a child, I was introduced to birth defects, as some of the children in my neighborhood were diagnosed with birth defects. As a high school student, I volunteered at a nearby state hospital for children with birth defects. Now, as a faculty member and researcher at The University of Iowa, I have the opportunity to direct our statewide registry to monitor birth defects surveillance and conduct research into risk factors for birth defects as director of our Iowa Center.
Selected NBDPS Publications:
Romitti PA, Sun L, Honein MA, Rasmussen SA, Correa A, Reefhuis J, and the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. Maternal periconceptional alcohol consumption and risk of orofacial clefts. Am J Epidemiol 2007; 166:775-785.
Schmidt RJ, Romitti PA, Burns TL, Murray JC, Druschel C, Browne M, Olney RS, and the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. Maternal caffeine consumption and neural tube defects. Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol. 2009 85:879-89.