Patricia Chulada, Ph.D., M.H.S.
Health Scientist Administrator
Tel (919) 541-7736
Fax (919) 541-2583
P.O. Box 12233
Mail Drop NH-08
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709
Patricia Chulada, Ph.D., M.H.S., is a Health Scientist Administrator (HSA) within the Clinical Research Program at NIEHS. In her undergraduate studies, Chulada trained as a medical technologist in the Allied Health Department at Merrimack College in Massachusetts and then worked at several large medical centers including Georgetown University Medical Center and the Ambulatory Care Research Facility at the NIH. In 1995, she received her Ph.D. in Toxicology/Genetics from North Carolina State University. During her third year of graduate work, she was invited to join the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and later graduated from the program, summa cum laude. Her graduate research focused on distinguishing between the roles of the cyclooxygenases in cancer, inflammation, and gastric toxicity. Several years later, Chulada received a Masters of Health Sciences in Clinical Research from Duke University. There she statistically analyzed data subsets from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) to examine the relationship between breastfeeding and respiratory disease (asthma and recurrent wheeze) in children.
In her current position in the Clinical Research Program, Chulada established and directs several large projects to further clinical research at the NIEHS. These include the Environmental Polymorphism Registry (EPR) and the Clinical Research Support Services Program. The EPR is a large DNA biobank consisting of up to 20,000 participants from the greater Research Triangle Region that will be available to scientists to screen for SNPs and other genetic mutations. Patient identifiers for the EPR participants are maintained in coded form, thus giving investigators the ability to re-contact subjects for follow-up studies. The Clinical Research Support Services Program is a large, multi million dollar project to provide all types of clinical research support services to investigators within the NIEHS.
Chulada's current research focuses on the genetic and environmental causes of neural tube defects (NTDs) and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). She has investigated the roles of two genes, MARCKS (myristoylated alanine-rich C kinase substrate) and MLP (MARCKS-like protein) in NTD development in the Hispanic population, as well as possible roles for MARCKS and MLP in an autistic population, in collaboration with the Greenwood Genetics Center. For PCOS(http://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/clinical/program/groups/gei/pcos.cfm) , she is conducting a twin study in collaboration with the Virginia Commonwealth University, University of British Columbia and others to derive accurate concordance rates and heritability estimates for PCOS. This study is entering phase 2, in which PCOS twins will be studied to determine possible genetic, epigenetic, intrauterine, autoimmune, obesity-related and other environmental causes of discordance. The twins will be followed over time to investigate incident cases and the differential development of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and other conditions for which PCOS is thought to be a risk factor.
Chulada is also the co-PI of the HEAL project (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/heal/) (Head off Environmental Asthma in Louisiana) . The major aims of this project are to: 1) conduct an epidemiologic study to assess the nature of the environmental and psychosocial impacts of Hurricane Katrina and subsequent flooding on children in New Orleans; 2) examine the genetic and environmental risk factors for asthma, including genetic susceptibility to mold toxins, and gene-environment interactions; and 3) design, implement, and evaluate a case management program to meet the healthcare needs of children with asthma in this disrupted and highly challenging environment.