University of Wisconsin–Madison

Research Experts

Brad Astor

Dr. Astor’s research covers multiple aspects of kidney disease, including chronic kidney disease (CKD), end-stage kidney disease (ESKD), and kidney transplantation. He has a special interest in biomarkers of kidney function and identifying risk factors for relevant outcomes, including CKD progression, ESKD, and cardiovascular disease (CVD).  He also studies risk factors for outcomes in kidney transplant recipients, including infection, rejection, malignancy, CVD and graft failure. Another specific interest is studying outcomes of vascular access in patients on chronic hemodialysis. He has conducted research in these areas in the general population (e.g., Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities [ARIC] Study), in clinical trials (African American Study of Kidney Disease and Hypertension [AASK]) and observational studies of dialysis patients (Choices for Healthy Outcomes in Caring for ESRD [CHOICE]) and transplant recipients (Wisconsin Allograft Recipient Database [WisARD], APOL1 Long-term Kidney Transplantation Outcomes Network [APOLLO]).

See Dr. Astor’s full bio here

Leonelo Bautista

Dr. Bautista is physician epidemiologist whose research focus resides on the causes and prevention of cardiovascular diseases, particularly in the identification of risk factors for hypertension and barriers for hypertension control. His current etiologic work is centered on the independent and joint roles of stress hormones, sex hormones, and immune response markers on the development of cardiometabolic risk factors. Dr. Bautista leads INEFAC, a cohort study on cardiovascular diseases, with 15 years of follow-up, as well as the consortium of Latin American Studies of Obesity (LASO), which includes data on more than 30,000 participants from 11 countries in the region.

See Dr. Bautista’s full bio here

See the LASO website here

Marguerite Burns

Dr. Burns’ research interests are in health policy and health economics particularly in understanding the consequences of public health insurance design on individual health and health care use, interactions with other public welfare programs, labor market outcomes, and public resource use. Current research projects include an examination of the role of Medicaid coverage on post-incarceration health and reincarceration outcomes, an evaluation of providing parity-consistent coverage in Medicaid on mental health and substance use disorder treatment use, and the development and assessment of common metrics for opioid use disorder treatment prevalence and quality within a multi-state Medicaid research network.

See Dr. Burns’ full bio here

Amy Cochran

Dr. Cochran’s area of research is Computational Psychiatry. She is currently funded by an NIMH K01 Career Development Award that aims to establish a digital health platform in psychiatry for delivering behavioral interventions that adapt to an individual in-the-moment.  Her research focuses on developing computational methods for making robust inferences between psychiatric illness and underlying neurobiology. Examples include computational phenotyping of bipolar disorder, modeling of human learning and decision-making, and model-based approached to gene ontology analysis. From a methodological perspective, a general theme is constructing latent variable models and using these models for statistical inference.

See Dr. Cochran’s full bio here

Karen Cruickshanks

Dr. Cruickshanks’ research program investigates the health problems of aging through epidemiological cohort studies. The Epidemiology of Hearing Loss Study (EHLS), funded by the National Institute on Aging, studies hearing, olfactory, and cognitive impairments in a population-based cohort of 3500 older residents of Beaver Dam, WI. This research focuses on the roles of inflammation and vascular factors on age-related disorders. In 2004, a new study of the adult offspring of the EHLS participants, the Beaver Dam Offspring Study (BOSS), was funded by the National Institute of Aging, National Eye Institute, and National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, to study the genetic and environmental factors which contribute to age-related sensory impairments. Dr. Cruickshanks is also the Director of the EpiSense Audiometry Reading (EAR) Center for studying hearing in the Hispanic Community Health Study, a multi-center study of 16,000 Latinos, and the Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications (EDIC) study. A major theme of her research is the link between subclinical atherosclerosis and the sensory and neurological disorders of aging.

See Dr. Cruickshanks’ full bio here

See the Beaver Dam Offspring Study (BOSS) here

Maureen Durkin

Dr. Durkin’s research interests include the epidemiology, prevention, antecedents and consequences of neurodevelopmental disabilities and childhood injuries, both globally and within the United States. She has collaborated in the development of cross-cultural methods for screening for developmental disabilities and methods for surveillance of childhood injuries, and has directed international studies of the prevalence and causes of neurodevelopmental disabilities in low income countries. She has also directed a cohort study of neuropsychological outcomes of neonatal brain injuries associated with preterm birth, and is currently a principal investigator on the Wisconsin Surveillance of Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities System, the National Childrens Study Waukesha County Vanguard Center, and a study of neurodevelopmental outcomes of 2-Methylbutyryl-CoA Dehydrogenase Deficiency detected in newborn screening.

See Dr. Durkin’s full bio here

See the Wisconsin Surveillance of Autism and other Developmental Disabilities System (WISADDS) website here

See the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network website here

Deborah Ehrenthal

Dr. Ehrenthal conducts life course epidemiology and population health research designed to understand and improve the health of women, infants and families, with a focus on achieving health equity. Her research focuses on three intersecting areas of women’s and children’s health, where health disparities are of fundamental importance: perinatal health and health care, child health, and women’s cardiovascular disease. She explores the association of women’s health, health care, and community factors with perinatal outcomes to inform clinical and policy questions on the national agenda.

See Dr. Ehrenthal’s full bio here

See the Ehrenthal Lab website here

Corinne Engelman

Dr. Engelman’s research focuses on the study design and data analysis of genetic, demographic, socioeconomic, behavioral, physiological and environmental factors of complex diseases, including biomarkers and preclinical traits related to Alzheimer’s disease, and also vitamin D deficiency. Dr. Engelman’s group uses epidemiological, statistical, and bioinformatic approaches to analyze large-scale ‘omic data, including that from whole genome array genotyping; whole-genome sequencing; DNA methylation beadchip; and metabolomic, lipidomic, and proteomic mass spectrometry. Her research integrates ‘omic and questionnaire data to understand, predict, prevent, and/or treat health conditions. Dr. Engelman is especially interested in identifying interactions with modifiable factors (e.g., social, behavioral, and environmental) to inform precision medicine and health.

See Dr. Engelman’s full bio here

See the Engelman Lab website here

Ronald Gangnon

Dr. Gangnon’s research interests are in the development and application of statistical methods in clinical and epidemiologic research.  Areas of methodologic interest include spatial epidemiology, with emphasis on detection and modeling of spatial and spatio-temporal clusters, syndromic surveillance, age-period-cohort modeling, multi-state models and ranking. Dr. Gangnon serves as Director of the Biostatistics Core for the Childhood Origins of ASThma (COAST) project, a prospective birth cohort study of early childhood risk factors for the development of asthma and allergy. Dr. Gangnon also serves as senior statistician for the Beaver Dam Eye Study and the Wisconsin Epidemiologic Study of Diabetic Retinopathy.  Dr. Gangnon maintains active collaborative research programs in asthma and allergy, dysphagia, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, geriatrics, environmental epidemiology and osteoporosis.

See Dr. Gangnon’s full bio here

Sheri Johnson

Dr. Johnson’s research focuses on child and family well-being using a variety of community engagement approaches. She works with multidisciplinary research teams, community based organizations, neighborhood residents, and public and private sector entities to develop and test solutions to address problems of local relevance and concern. Dr. Johnson is especially interested in partnering with others to identify solutions that remove unfair obstacles to health.

See Dr. Johnson’s full bio here

See the Population Health Institute website here

Marty Kanarek

Dr. Kanarek’s research interests include many aspects of environmental epidemiology. He has conducted large field studies of indoor and outdoor air pollution as part of the Harvard Six Cities Air Pollution study. His group was integral in the discovery of nitrogen oxide exposures from gas cooking stoves. Dr. Kanarek has conducted many studies of the effects of lead on children. One study revealed that parents were unintentionally poisoning their own children with lead when removing old lead paint using certain techniques in household renovation and remodeling. A large study throughout the state of Wisconsin showed that children’s lead exposure at age 3 were determinative of their 4th grade achievement test scores (seven years later) while controlling for all other variables. Dr. Kanarek has collaborated with the Wisconsin State Health Department on several PCB, dioxin and mercury contaminants in human consumption of sport caught fish projects. He has done seminal epidemiology studies on drinking water and cancer including asbestos and chlorination byproducts. Dr. Kanarek is considered a world’s leading expert on the epidemiology of asbestos exposure and mesothelioma.

See Dr. Kanarek’s full bio here

Sara Lindberg

Dr. Lindberg’s research interests focus on evaluation of prevention, intervention, treatment, and health policy projects. In her role as Program Director for Evaluation Research, she leads a team of 30+ professional evaluators, with a long history of evaluating federal, state, and community-level health and human services programs. The team uses a broad range of methods – from qualitative and descriptive techniques to complex experimental and quasi-experimental trials – to evaluate programs and interventions designed to improve the health of individuals and communities. Dr. Lindberg’s professional career and publishing have centered around the application of her methodological expertise to improve understanding of real-world problems and to support policies and programs that improve opportunities for all people to achieve health and well-being.

See Dr. Lindberg’s full bio here

See the Population Health Institute Evaluation Research here

Kristen Malecki

Dr. Malecki serves as the co-director for the Survey of the Health of Wisconsin (SHOW), overseeing survey implementation efforts and ancillary study development and the Principal Investigator for a number of SHOW ancillary studies involving community-academic partnerships. Her current research is also focused on developing models to examine combined chemical (air pollution, water pollution), physical and social stressors and influence on adult chronic disease, childhood development and obesity. Dr. Malecki’s transdisciplinary work includes identification of biomarkers of expression and response using epigenetics and transcriptomics.

See Dr. Malecki’s full bio here

See the Survey of the Health of Wisconsin (SHOW) website here

John Mullahy

John Mullahy’s research interests include the evaluation of health interventions, comparative effectiveness analysis, analysis of patterns of healthcare spending and costs, health-related behaviors, and the applications of econometric methods to health economics and health policy analysis. His most recent work has focused on health outcome measurement in contexts of multiple outcomes and time-use outcomes. This work attempts to develop novel characterizations of and estimation strategies for treatment effects where such outcomes are of concern.

See Dr. Mullahy’s full bio here

Rebecca Myerson

Dr. Myerson’s research aims to quantify how public policies can improve outcomes for vulnerable patients, including impacts on insurance coverage and incidence, diagnosis, and treatment of chronic conditions. Specific projects have analyzed the impacts of trans fat bans, health insurance expansions, supplemental income programs, and policies targeted for patients with low health insurance literacy or low English proficiency.

See Dr. Myerson’s full bio here

Thomas Oliver

 

See Dr. Oliver’s full bio here

Mariétou Ouayogodé

Dr. Ouayogodé is interested in investigating policy-driven questions in health, behavioral, public economics, and health services research. During her training, Dr. Ouayogodé has gained expertise in evaluating health care reforms and understanding how and to what extent people and organizations respond to incentives and regulatory changes in the healthcare environment. Prior to joining the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she completed a post-doctoral research fellowship at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice in the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth.

See Dr. Ouayogodé’s full bio here

Jonathan Patz

Professor Patz’ research focuses on the intersection between climate change, energy policy and public health. Through a “health in all policies” approach his research includes policy questions across the energy, transportation, and food sectors. Dr. Patz and his team use computer model simulations and remotely-sensed satellite data to assess how alternative energy and urban design especially affect the risk of chronic diseases. Primary disease pathways, in this case, are levels of air pollution, sedentarism (lack of “active travel” by walking or biking), and high red-meat diets. While Patz has previously addressed the multiple health risks of climate change, he has shifted his team’s focus to quantify the potential health “co-benefits” that arise from climate change policies for a low-carbon economy.
See Dr. Patz’s full bio here

Paul Peppard

Dr. Peppard conducts NIH-funded epidemiologic research into the causes and consequences of sleep disorders. Specific areas of interest include: the impact of the obesity epidemic on sleep apnea prevalence; the behavioral (e.g., physical inactivity, weight gain) and genetic predictors of sleep disorders; and outcomes of sleep disorders (e.g., cognitive dysfunction, hypertension, depression). In addition, Paul is Co-Director of the Survey of the Health of Wisconsin (SHOW), a statewide research study designed to measure a broad range of health conditions in Wisconsin.

See Dr. Peppard’s full bio here

See the Survey of the Health of Wisconsin (SHOW) website here

Ajay Sethi

Dr. Sethi’s research interests lie broadly in the study of infectious diseases. His studies aim to identify modifiable behavioral and structural factors associated with transmission and morbidity if infection is established. His research employs both quantitative and qualitative methods in clinic- and community-based settings, observational and quasi-experimental study designs, and is conducted in both the US and in Uganda. He works in the area of HIV/AIDS, healthcare-associated infections, and the microbiome.

See Dr. Sethi’s full bio here

Maureen Smith

Dr. Smith’s research focuses on how health systems and individuals can improve prevention and management of multiple chronic conditions in aging and chronically ill persons. Many of her projects have developed and analyzed measures of healthcare quality for outpatient and inpatient care using electronic health records and health insurance claims data. Dr. Smith directs the Health Innovation Program, a health services research program that integrates healthcare research and practice. Dr. Smith supports strong partnerships between University of Wisconsin faculty, healthcare and community organizations to conduct research that improves health and health equity. Dr. Smith is especially interested in improving health service delivery through innovative interventions and rigorous evaluation.

See Dr. Smith’s full bio here

See the Health Innovation Program (HIP) website here
See the UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR) website here

Amy Trentham-Dietz

As a cancer epidemiologist, Dr. Trentham-Dietz’s research is focused on breast cancer prevention, early detection and outcomes. She employs novel and traditional epidemiologic approaches in her studies complemented by methods deriving from health services research and simulation modeling. She has approached breast cancer prevention and detection by focusing on 1) modifiable lifestyle factors including obesity, physical activity, and environmental factors to better understand breast cancer etiology and reveal avenues for prevention; 2) ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) of the breast which, often detected through mammography, is a non-obligate precursor for invasive breast cancer; and 3) simulation modeling of breast cancer to examine risk-based approaches to screening to maximize benefits of screening programs while reducing harms.

See Dr. Trentham-Dietz’s full bio here

See the Wisconsin Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program (BCERP) website here

Shaneda Warren Andersen

Dr. Warren Andersen’s research program uses molecular and genetic epidemiologic methods to identify risk factors for cancer. She is currently funded by a R00 Pathway to Independence Career Development Award to determine the relations between circulating vitamin D biomarkers, genetic variants, and colorectal cancer tumor characteristics using a trans-ethnic approach. In addition, Dr. Warren Andersen’s research program investigates how the associations between modifiable risk factors and colorectal cancer vary across populations, and how to best apply precision medicine to reduce cancer risk.

See Dr. Warren Andersen’s full bio here