Photo of Karin Michels, ScD, PhD
Karin Michels, ScD, PhD
Professor and Chair, Department of Epidemiology, Fielding School of Public Health

Address 71-264 CHS Campus 177220 Los Angeles CA 90095 Phone: (310) 825-8579

Dr. Michels is Professor and Chair of the Department of Epidemiology in the Fielding School of Public Health. Prior to her appointment at UCLA, she was an associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, in Boston, MA. She received her doctorate in epidemiology from Harvard University and her doctorate in Biostatistics from Cambridge University, UK. Dr. Michels has expertise in epidemiologic methods, and epigenetic, nutritional, and cancer epidemiology. She is a co-founder of the new field of epigenetic epidemiology with her research focusing on the role of epigenetics in the developmental origins of health and disease (DoHaD).

Under the umbrella of the DoHaD hypothesis, Dr. Michels is involved in a number of large cohort studies. She is a principal investigator of the Early Life exposures in Latina Adolescents (ELLA) cohort, which focuses on the role of early life environmental chemical exposures and risk of breast cancer and the Harvard Epigenetic Birth Cohort (HEBC), which consists of 1,941 mother-infant dyads recruited to evaluate the role of epigenetics in the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease.

Dr. Michels will be incorporating the microbiome into some of these ongoing studies, with the goal of enhancing our understanding of the human microbiome in early life health and development. Specifically, she and Dr. Leah Stiemsma, a post-doctoral fellow in the Michels lab, will be focusing on three projects: the impact of the placental microbiome in infant health and development, the role of the mammary microbiome in breast cancer, and analysis of the microbiome as a mediator between diet and health.

Recent Relevant Publications

  1. Binder AM, LaRocca J, Lesseur C, Marsit CJ, Michels KB. Epigenome-wide and transcriptome-wide analyses reveal gestational diabetes is associated with alterations in the human leukocyte antigen complex. Clin Epigenetics. 2015;7:79.
  2. Non AL, Binder AM, Kubzansky LD, Michels KB. Genome-wide DNA methylation in neonates exposed to maternal depression, anxiety, or SSRI medication during pregnancy. Epigenetics. 2014;9(7):964-72.
  3. Harris HR, Willett WC, Vaidya RL, Michels KB. An adolescent and early adulthood dietary pattern associated with inflammation and the incidence of breast cancer. Cancer Res. 2017;77(5):1179 – 87.
  4. Barrow TM, Barault L, Ellsworth RE, Harris HR, Binder AM, Valente AL, Shriver CD, Michels, KB. Aberrant methylation of imprinted genes is associated with negative hormone receptor status in invasive breast cancer. Int J Cancer. 2015;137(3):537-47.
  5. Stiemsma LT, Arrieta MC, Dimitriu PA, Cheng J, Thorson L, Lefebvre DL, Azad MB, Subbarao P, Mandhane P, Becker A, Sears MR, Kollmann TR, CHILD Study Investigators, Mohn WW, Finlay BB*, Turvey SE*. Shifts in Lachnospira and Clostridium sp. in the 3-month stool microbiome are associated with preschool age asthma. Clin Sci (Lond). 2016;130(23):2199-207.
  6. Arrieta MC*, Stiemsma LT*, Dimitriu PA, Thorson L, Russell S, Yurist-Doutsch S, Kuzeljevic B, Gold MJ, Britton HM, Lefebvre DL, Subbarao P, Mandhane P, Becker A, McNagny KM, Sears MR, Kollmann, T, Child Study Investigators, Mohn WW, Turvey SE*, Finlay BB*. Early infancy microbial and metabolic alterations affect risk of childhood asthma. Sci Transl Med. 2015;7(307):307ra152. *Equal contribution.

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