PI, Institution:
Cathrine Hoyo, North Carolina State University
Susan Murphy, Duke University Medical Center

Grant: R24ES028531

NEST is a birth cohort in North Carolina exploring how early life environmental exposures and nutrition affect DNA methylation profiles in newborns and later obesity and neurobehavioral outcomes in children at ages 3–5 years. For more information about this cohort, visit the NIEHS Epidemiology Resources webpage for NEST or contact the PI whose information is listed below in the data access section.

Cohort Maintenance & Enrichment Activities:
Expanding follow-up through age 11–17 years and collecting additional data and specimens. Using these data to estimate time-varying exposures and subclinical indicators of cardiometabolic dysfunction using a combination of questionnaires, electronic medical records, and in-person assessments. Implementing quality control assurance protocols on existing and newly collected data and specimens to maximize preservation and integrity for re-use and sharing.

Assessing the integrity of specimens that were collected at cohort assembly. Addressing the quality of DNA obtained from NEST cord blood specimens that have been stored long term. Comparing cord blood DNA prepared at the time of collection to those prepared at later time points, up to 103 months, to demonstrate quality and purity.

Data Management & Sharing Activities:
Developing a comprehensive searchable web database to expand usability and increase the capability for data re-use. Involving data cleaning of archived data, enhancing algorithms to search the database and preparing for linkage of cohort data to other data sources, and pooling with other cohorts to enhance statistical power. Planning to link NEST data with identifiable health system- and state-run medical records.

Data Access:
NEST data will be accessed through a data sharing platform that is currently under development as part of a searchable database. Investigators will also soon be launching a public facing website with basic cohort summaries and information. To learn more about the cohort or obtain data and specimens, please contact Cathrine Hoyo.

Please see NIH RePORTER for publications associated with this R24 grant.