Research Team

PRESTO is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and conducted by researchers at the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH).

Investigative Team

Dr. Lauren A. Wise is Professor of Epidemiology at the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH).  She is originally from Canada. She joined the BUSPH Department of Epidemiology in 2004 after completing her doctoral degree at the Harvard School of Public Health.  Dr. Wise teaches Reproductive Epidemiology and Design and Conduct of Cohort Studies at BUSPH.  She has an interest in reproductive and perinatal epidemiology. Her current research involves the study of risk factors for delayed conception, adverse pregnancy outcomes, and benign gynecologic conditions. Dr. Wise is Principal investigator of the Study of Environment, Lifestyle, and Fibroids (SELF), a prospective ultrasound study of uterine fibroids among 1,696 black women from Detroit, Michigan, and Principal Investigator of NIH-funded studies examining the influence of lifestyle, dietary, and genetic determinants of fibroids in the Black Women’s Health Study. Over the past decade, Dr. Wise has been collaborating with Drs. Hatch and Rothman on the Snart Gravid and Snart Foraeldre studies, on which she has investigated the associations of physical activity, obesity, and menstrual characteristics with fertility. Dr. Wise is Principal Investigator of PRESTO.

 Elizabeth HatchDr. Elizabeth Hatch is Professor of Epidemiology at BUSPH.  Dr. Hatch teaches Cancer Epidemiology at BUSPH and her research focuses on prenatal and childhood exposures in relation to long-term health outcomes, especially hormonally-related cancers, reproductive outcomes, and obesity. Prior to joining the faculty at BU in 2000, she was an investigator at the National Cancer Institute, where she led a large cohort study on the health risks of exposure to the synthetic hormone, diethylstilbestrol (DES) among women exposed during pregnancy and their offspring exposed in utero.  She continues her involvement with the DES study as a co-investigator, and is researching whether DES can affect age at menarche, menopause and obesity among prenatally-exposed women. Currently, Dr. Hatch is principal investigator of a collaborative study of factors related to reproductive health in Denmark (Snart Foraeldre/Snart Gravid).  Like PRESTO, these studies use internet-based recruitment and are evaluating factors related to fertility, miscarriage, and adverse pregnancy outcomes.  Dr. Hatch is Co-investigator of PRESTO, and Principal Investigator of the Snart Gravid and Snart Foraeldre studies after which PRESTO is modeled.

bio picDr. Amelia Wesselink is a post-doctoral associate in epidemiology at the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) and co-investigator of PRESTO. In June 2018, she graduated from BUSPH with a doctorate in epidemiology. Her dissertation research involved the study of environmental and psychosocial determinants of fertility, with a focus on environmental chemicals, cigarette smoking, and perceived stress. Dr. Wesselink has interests in environmental and reproductive epidemiology. Dr. Wesselink had a chief role in writing PRESTO’s new R01 investigating air pollution, fertility, and miscarriage and is actively involved in overseeing all aspects of the E-PRESTO studies in Boston and Detroit. She is also co-investigator of the Study of Environment, Lifestyle, and Fibroids (SELF), in which she is examining the role of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and gynecologic disease.

Kenneth RothmanDr. Kenneth J. Rothman is Professor of Epidemiology at BUSPH and Vice President for epidemiology research in RTI Health Solutions.  He has more than 30 years professional experience in epidemiologic research. His recent research has included work on the teratogenicity of vitamin A, the health effects of cellular telephone use, and potential environmental risk factors for cancer.  He has also conducted epidemiologic research on the epidemiology of cancer, cardiovascular disease, birth defects, environmental epidemiology, and methodologic, conceptual and ethical issues in epidemiology.  Dr. Rothman authored two widely used textbook of epidemiologic methods, Modern Epidemiology and Epidemiology: an Introduction, and is the founding editor of Epidemiology, a leading public health journal. He received the American Public Health Association’s Abraham Lilienfeld Award for 2002, recognizing excellence in the teaching of epidemiology during the course of a career, is a Fellow of the International Society for Pharmacoepidemiology, and an honorary fellow of the American College of Epidemiology. Dr. Rothman is Co-investigator of PRESTO.

Dr. Olivia Orta is a post-doctoral associate in epidemiology at the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH). In June 2018, she graduated from Harvard School of Public Health with a doctorate in epidemiology. Dr. Orta has interests in reproductive and environmental epidemiology. Her dissertation research involved the study of the human stress response during pregnancy and in the postmenopausal period in prospective cohort studies from North and South America. She has expertise measuring cortisol, a stress hormone, in hair samples. Dr. Orta has a chief role in designing PRESTO’s new supplemental module on early life experiences. She is also co-investigator of the Study of Environment, Lifestyle, and Fibroids (SELF), in which she is examining the role of persistent pesticides and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) on self-reported stress and gynecologic disease.

Renée Boynton-JarrettDr. Renée Boynton-Jarrett is a pediatrician and social epidemiologist. She is Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine. She received her medical degree from Yale School of Medicine and her doctor of science in social epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health. She is founding director of the Vital Village Network, which uses a trauma-informed lens to improve community capacity to promote child well-being in the inner-city neighborhoods of Boston and to support coalitions nationally through the NOW Forum. Her research scholarship has focused on early-life adversities as life course social determinants of reproductive, perinatal, and pediatric health outcomes.

Ellen MikkelsenDr. Ellen M. Mikkelsen is Senior Researcher in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology at the Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark. Her Ph.D. work focused on the psycho-social consequences of genetic counseling for hereditary breast and ovarian cancers. Dr. Mikkelsen is also trained as a nurse, with experience in intensive care, and has been teaching and tutoring for several years within the field of clinical epidemiology and quality development in the health services. Dr. Mikkelsen has been collaborating with researchers at Boston University on the Snart Gravid and Snart Foraeldre studies, two internet-based studies of women and fertility in Denmark. Like PRESTO, those studies were designed to identify risk factors associated with women’s fertility.  The project also examines whether internet-based questionnaires are useful for collecting scientific data. Dr. Mikkelsen first-authored the main publication describing the methods of the Snart Gravid study in the International Journal of Epidemiology. Her recent work focuses on the effects of oral contraceptives and alcohol on fertility.

Please also visit the Other Research Staff page to see the other members of the PRESTO team.

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