Amy E. Kalkbrenner, PhD MPH
Assistant Professor of Epidemiology
Joseph Zilber School of Public Health Building Room 456
PhD, Epidemiology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
MPH, Epidemiology/Biostatistics & Public Health Nutrition, University of California, Berkeley
BA, Psychology and Biology, Indiana University, Bloomington
Curriculum Vitae [pdf]
Area of Specialization
I am an epidemiologist working to identify important environmental chemicals that are contributing to neuro-developmental disorders. My current studies involve perinatal exposure to criteria and hazardous ambient air pollutants and disorders like autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
I also work to improve the methodology in these studies, for example by examining whether better ascertainment of autism in urban areas introduces a selection bias in studies of environmental exposures and by exploring the degree to which family residential mobility impacts these studies. I am interested in fully utilizing multi-dimensional data, both in the exposure context (where pollutants occur in mixtures) and outcome context (where children may be evaluated with multiple neurodevelopmental instruments).
Active Research Areas
- Neurodevelopmental impacts of air pollutant exposures
- Environmental determinants of autism
- Disparities in autism diagnoses
- Measurement of exposure to pollutants like tobacco smoke and bisphenol A
- Geographic gradients in diagnoses of neurodevelopmental disorders
- Identifying etiologically homogenous subtypes of neurodevelopmental disorders
I am enthusiastic about coaching students in using modern principles of epidemiology, whether they are new to the discipline or deepening their training. I explain epidemiology as the science of getting the best number. Whether the number describes how many children really have autism (prevalence) or the relationship between perinatal exposure to second-hand smoke and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (risk ratio), epidemiological principles apply at all steps. They help us do the best job of measuring exposure and outcome, finding a comparison group, running statistical models, and identifying, quantifying, and fixing threats to validity such as confounding, selection bias, and measurement error. Sound grounding in these concepts of measurement and causation can enhance the effectiveness of public health practice, whether it involves planning for services allocation, testing a community intervention, targeting health disparities, or researching the causes of disease.
As a faculty member in the Zilber School of Public Health, I will be teaching core classes for the MPH and PhD degrees, including “Principles and Methods of Epidemiology” every spring.
Kalkbrenner AE, Braun JM, Durkin M, Maenner MJ, Cunniff C, Lee L-C, Pettygrove S, Nicholas JS, Daniels JL. Maternal smoking during pregnancy and the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2012;120(7):1042-1048. [pdf]
Kalkbrenner AE, Daniels JL, Emch M, Morrissey J, Poole C, Chen JC. Geographic Access to Health Services and Diagnosis with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Annals of Epidemiology 2011;21:304-310. [pdf]
Kalkbrenner AE, Hornung R, Bernert JT, Hammond SK, Braun JM, Lanphear BP. Determinants of serum cotinine and hair cotinine as biomarkers of childhood secondhand smoke exposure. Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology 2010;20(7):615-24. [pdf]
Kalkbrenner AE, Daniels JL, Chen JC, Poole C, Emch M, Morrissey J. Perinatal exposure to hazardous air pollutants and autism at age 8 in North Carolina and West Virginia. Epidemiology September 2010;21(5). [pdf]
For a link to Dr. Kalkbrenner's publications on PubMed, click here.