The North Carolina Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention is a collaborative effort between the Department of Epidemiology at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health and the North Carolina Birth Defects Monitoring Program in the North Carolina Division of Public Health. The Center's mission is to conduct epidemiologic research into the causes of birth defects, and to promote the use of research findings to enhance public health education and prevention efforts in order to improve the health of North Carolina children.
The UNC Department of Epidemiology is an internationally recognized leader in epidemiologic research and training with strong ties to state and local public health agencies in North Carolina. The North Carolina Birth Defects Monitoring Program maintains a statewide, population-based birth defects surveillance system, which provides the basis for birth defects research, education, and public health promotion efforts in the state. This partnership brings to the center considerable expertise to sustain a strong research program and affords a unique opportunity for training the next generation of public health researchers and practitioners for North Carolina.
Andrew Olshan, PhD, as overall Principal Investigator for the North Carolina Center, directs the research agenda and is responsible for overseeing all Center activities. Dr. Olshan also served in key center-wide roles as Chair of the NBDPS Coordinating Council, Chair of Data Sharing Committee, and Chair of the Genetic Analysis Working Group. He is a Professor at the University of North Carolina and is Chair of the Department of Epidemiology...Read More
Robert Meyer, PhD, as Co-Principal Investigator, directs the North Carolina Birth Defects Monitoring Program (NCBDMP). His primary role in the North Carolina Center is to oversee the clinical data collection activities of the Center and to participate in the design and conduct of local and pooled studies using NBDPS data. Dr. Meyer also served in key center-wide roles as Chair of the Data Sharing Committee and Data Sharing Editor...Read More
Local Activities and Research:
Funding for the North Carolina Center has enabled the state to pursue a number of important avenues of research and prevention, including:
Examining geographic patterns and risk factors for birth defects.
- Investigating parental occupational and environmental exposures that may cause birth defects.
- Studying the way in which a person’s genetic makeup and environmental exposures may interact to increase the risk for certain birth defects.
- Evaluating the effect of folic acid education programs on the occurrence of neural tube defects.
- Improving access to services for children with birth defects and their families.
The North Carolina Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention takes pride in strong, long-standing partnerships with our local partner organizations, including:
These partnerships bring together experts in the areas of epidemiology, surveillance, embryology, teratology, and medical genetics, and health promotion.
- Duke University Medical Center
- University of North Carolina Center for Maternal and Infant Health
- North Carolina Chapter of the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation
- North Carolina Folic Acid Council
Desrosiers TA, Herring AH, Shapira SK, Hooiveld M, Luben TJ, Herdt-Losavio ML, Lin S, Olshan AF, National Birth Defects Prevention Study. Paternal occupation and birth defects: findings from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 2012; 69(8):534-542.
Desrosiers TA, Lawson CC, Meyer RE, Richardson DB, Daniels JL, Waters MA, van Wijngaarden E, Langlois PH, Romitti PA, Correa A, Olshan A, National Birth Defects Prevention Study. Maternal occupational exposure to organic solvents during early pregnancy and risks of neural tube defects and orofacial clefts. Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 2012; 69(7):493-9.
Olshan AF, Hobbs CA, Shaw GM. Discovery of genetic susceptibility factors for human birth defects: an opportunity for a National Agenda. American Journal of Medical Genetics. Part A. 2011; 155A(8):1794-1797.
Sotres-Alvarez, D., Siega-Riz, AM., Herring, AH., Carmichael, SL., Feldkamp, ML., Hobbs, CA., Olshan, AF., and the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. Maternal Dietary Patterns are Associated With Risk of Neural Tube and Congenital Heart Defects. American Journal of Epidemiology 2013; Jun 1;177(11):1279-88.