Xiaobin Wang, MD, ScD, MPH
Director, Center on the Early Life Origins of Disease
Dr. Wang is a board certified pediatrician and a molecular epidemiologist whose work unites biomarkers, clinical medicine, epidemiology, and disease prevention. She has served as the principal investigator (PI) of multiple large-scale molecular and genetic epidemiological studies funded by the National Institute of Health, with a particular focus on environmental factors, nutritional biomarkers, genetic variants, epigenetic alterations, and their interactions in complex human diseases, including reproductive and pregnancy outcomes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and other high-impact diseases such as food allergy and asthma. Dr. Wang and her team have established three large study cohorts (Boston Birth Cohort, Chicago Family-based Cohort, and Chinese Twin Cohort). Along with extensive epidemiological and clinical data as well as related biorepositories, these cohorts are well-designed for studying a broad range of health and disease outcomes and early life precursors of pediatric and adult diseases. Dr. Wang has authored and co-authored more than 140 publications and many of them appear in prestigious medical journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association, and Lancet. Her work has contributed to the understanding of environmental exposures, genetic susceptibility and gene-environment interactions in complex human diseases. Her work has provided evidence on folic acid supplementation in the prevention of stroke for populations without folate grain fortification; and was cited by the American Stroke Association in the latest guidelines for the prevention of stroke. Dr. Wang served as a member of the Institute of Medicine Committee on Understanding Premature Birth and Assuring Healthy Outcomes. She is a regular member of the NIH study section.
Dr. Wang received her MD from Beijing Medical University in Beijing, China, and a master of public health from the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at Tulane University in New Orleans. She also received a doctor of science degree from the Department of Maternal and Child Health at the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health in Baltimore. She completed a three-year research fellowship in Environmental Epidemiology at the Harvard University School of Public Health and a residency in pediatrics at the Boston University Medical Center. Before joining Hopkins, Dr. Wang was the Professor of Pediatrics, and Director of the Mary Ann and J. Milburn Smith Child Health Research Program at Children's Memorial Research Center, Department of Pediatrics, Northwestern University School of Medicine in Chicago.
Xiumei Hong, MD, PhD
Dr. Hong is a molecular epidemiologist with extensive experience in epidemiology and molecular genetics. Her research is to incorporate molecular genetic technology with epidemiologic design to systematically investigate the environmental factors, nutritional biomarkers, genetic variants, and epigenetic alterations and their interactions associated with complex human diseases including preterm birth, osteoporosis, obesity and metabolic syndromes. She also has vast experience in data management and statistical analyses. Over the past 6 years, she has worked closely with Dr. Wang and her team, serving as data manager, statistician and/or co-investigator on multiple NIH-funded studies. Dr. Wang's current work mainly focuses on the investigation of inflammatory- and obesity- related biomarkers (such as CRP, IL-6, TNF alpha, leptin, adiponectin, and insulin) and tests for gene-environment interactions and epigenomic modification in complex diseases. She has authored and co-authored over 35 publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals; some of them have appeared in prestigious journals such as the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.
Guoying Wang, MD, PhD
Dr. Wang's work focuses on clinical medicine and genetics in both clinical- and population-based studies. In the last decade, she participated in various research studies focused on common complex diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome. She also has gained considerable experience in genetics and epidemiology, with a particular focus on incorporating molecular genetic technology with epidemiologic design to systematically investigate the environmental factors, nutritional biomarkers, genetic variants, and epigenetic alterations and their interactions associated with common metabolic diseases. Over the past 3 years, she has worked closely with Dr. Xiaobin Wang and her team, serving as co-investigator and molecular genetics lab manager on multiple NIH-funded projects. Dr. Wang's current work focuses on the investigation of adiposity-related biomarkers (such as leptin, adiponectin, insulin, CRP, etc.) and tests for gene-environment interactions in complex diseases. She has authored and co-authored over 13 book chapters and 46 publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals; some of them have appeared in prestigious journals such as the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and JAMA.
Mengmeng Li, MBBS, MSPH
Mengmeng Li is interested in data-driven insights in epidemiology and applies them to inform health policy guidelines. Her research focuses on maternal health and health outcomes from perinatal to adolescent developmental stages. She has been a senior data analyst on the Global Early Adolescent Study (GEAS) since the beginning of the longitudinal phase for multiple study sites across five continents. In addition to research involvement with the GEAS, Mengmeng has also worked under the mentorship of Dr. Xiaobin Wang from the Center on the Early Life Origins of Disease (CELOD) to understand the impact of environmental exposures on neurodevelopmental disorders among children. Her recent research project, on a broader (population level) and molecular scales, investigates the influence of maternal exposure to PM, air pollutant particles with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less, during pregnancy on childhood Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) risk. This project focuses on a racial-ethnically diverse and socioeconomically disadvantaged population from an urban setting in Boston, United States, comprising the Boston Birth Cohort (BBC).
Besides the research endeavors described above, Mengmeng Li collaborates with reproductive endocrinologists nationwide on multiple projects to unravel maternal profile or treatment parameters from assisted reproductive technology that inform In-vitro Fertilization (IVF) outcomes. Besides four ongoing projects, she has published three peer-reviewed articles as the first and corresponding author in the leading journals in the field.
She holds a medical degree from Nanjing Medical University in China and an MSPH in Maternal, Fetal, and Perinatal Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The provided link includes a complete list of publications summarizing Mengmeng’s research activities.
Serena Rusk, MPH
Serena Rusk (she/her) is a Research Assistant in the Center on the Early Life Origins of Disease lead by Dr. Xiaobin Wang. Serena earned her BA in Biology and Science in Society from Wesleyan University and is pursuing her MPH at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. When she joined Dr. Wang’s team during the COVID-19 pandemic (September 2020), her work focused on COVID-19’s impact on low-income, multiracial communities. More recently, Serena has shifted her research focus to the role of neighborhood on children’s health, especially children with neurodevelopmental disabilities such as ADHD and autism. Her work aims to leverage social epidemiology methodologies and life course perspective frameworks to advance health equity among multiracial, low-resourced communities. In addition to her work at the Center, Serena has worked alongside mentors at other institutions, collaborating on projects related to structural racism, neighborhood environment, and birth outcomes among women of color. Serena is passionate about merging public health research and social justice, and creating community among fellow queer academics.