The placenta and the epidemiology of endocrine disruption

Our lab unites environmental health, reproduction, and development as we study the human placenta as a novel approach to quantify the effects of phthalates in pregnancy.



Discovery of phthalate effects on human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)

We measured an association of maternal urinary phthalates and placental mRNAs that encode proteins in the hCG pathway. We have confirmed this finding through in vitro models of primary human placental tissue, and have replicated this finding in three independent birth cohorts. We now theorize that the hCG hormone may be important in the programming of maternal postpartum health.


Establishing phthalate effects via the placental transcriptome

We have used placental tissue collected in the first and third trimesters to measure the placental transcriptome (a quantitative measure of the expression of all genes expressed in a sample, in the ballpark of 20,000 genes) to confirm associations with hCG, and to gain insight into the molecular gene expression signature.


Applying analytical strategies to quantify placental mediation

We are applying novel methods to answer our research questions. We have developed a statistical method and R package to identify shapes of association between continuous biomarkers and outcomes when linear models are potentially insufficient or incorrect. We have extended this approach to causal mediation in cases where the mediator-outcome association is not linear.


Theory building in placental-fetal endocrine disruption

We are developing, in a review paper and empirically, a critical theory specifically on molecular pathways in the placenta that are sources of biomarkers in the first trimester, and which can be useful to more accurately establish associations between environmental exposures in pregnancy and outcomes.

Adibi Lab

Contact Information

5132 Public Health
130 Desoto Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261

adibij [@]