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Jill Norris, MPH, PhD 

Chair, Professor 


Research Interests:

My research focuses on the influence of the environment in the development of autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes (T1D), celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and multiple sclerosis in genetically susceptible individuals.  Specifically, I examine the role of maternal, infant, childhood and adult dietary factors in the etiology of these autoimmune diseases, using dietary assessment, metabolomic and epigenomic approaches in large, at-risk populations. ​ 

  • Epidemiology of Autoimmune Diseases

​o   Type 1 diabetes

o   Rheumatoid arthritis

o   Celiac disease

o   Lupus

o   Multiple Sclerosis

  • Nutrition Epidemiology
  • Genetic Epidemiology
  • Nutrigenomics
  • Nutrigenetics

Courses Taught:
  • EPID 6626 Research Methods 
  • EPID 7912:  Developing a Research Grant

Current Research Projects:
  • NIH-NIDDK: Nutrigenetics & -genomics of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids in Type 1 Diabetes (9/14-8/19, Principal Investigator): The goal of this study is to elucidate the nutrition epidemiological findings regarding the putative protective effect of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids in type 1 diabetes utilizing metabolomics, epigenetic and gene expression approaches in a nested case-control study in the Diabetes Autoimmunity Study in the Young.
  • NIH-NIDDK: Natural history of pre-diabetic autoimmunity (11/94-4/20, Co-Investigator): The major goal of this project (The Diabetes Autoimmunity Study in the Young, 'DAISY') is to identify and prospectively follow a cohort of children aged 0-10 years who are at 12-40 times increased risk of IDDM compared to the general population and to determine the age-specific incidence of islet cell auto antibodies (ICA) development up to age 8.
  • NIH-NIDDK: Environmental Causes of Type 1 Diabetes. (3/03-11/23, Co-Investigator and Co-Chair of the Diet Committee): The major goal of this multi-national project is to identify the envirnomental causes of type 1 diabetes autoimmunity and type 1 diabetes itself.
  • Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation: Autoimmunity Screening for Kids Program (ASK). (9/16-11/19, Co-Investigator): The purpose of this study is to learn more about the best way to screen children for the early signs of childhood diabetes and celiac disease.
  • Department of Defense: Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, a Disease Initiated by Mucociliary Dysfunction. (9/17-9/21, Co-Investigator on Project 1). The aims of Project 1 are: 1) to screen 500 asymptomatic siblings of sporadic IPF cases and perform pulmonary function testing on cases of preclinical pulmonary fibrosis (PrePF); 2) Develop and validate a biomarker profile that improves the detection of preclinical pulmonary fibrosis (PrePF); and 3) Elucidate the determinants of progression in preclinical pulmonary fibrosis (PrePF).
  • NIH/NIAID: The role of omega-3 fatty acids and derived lipid mediators in RA.  An Innovative Pilot Project of the Cooperative Study Group for Autoimmune Disease Prevention (CSGADP) (4/18-3/19, Subcontract PI). The first aim of this project is to determine the association of lipid mediators with progression from autoimmunity to inflammatory arthritis. The second aim of this project is to assess whether lipid mediators are associated with reported intake of omega-3 fatty acid supplements.
  • Pfizer/ASPIRE US Rheumatology: The role of lipid mediators in preclinical rheumatoid arthritis. (7/18-6/20, Principal Investigator). The goal of this proposal is to elucidate the role of lipid mediators in the preclinical period of RA. We will examine the association of plasma lipid mediator concentrations with the progression from autoimmunity to IA. We will measure circulating cytokines in order to determine if lipid mediators decrease risk of IA progression by decreasing pro-inflammatory cytokines.
  • Philanthropic Gifts: Risk Factors in Early Multiple Sclerosis (RisEMS) (9/18-8/20, Co-PI). The goal of this is to perform a pilot study to determine the feasibility of screening for preclinical multiple sclerosis in an at-risk population.


Education:
  • Colgate University, NY, BA, Biology, 1986
  • University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, MPH, Epidemiology, 1988
  • University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, PhD, Epidemiology, 1990
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