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Dr. Zemel's overall research program aims to improve the understanding of lifelong health and how it relates to childhood antecedents of physical growth and maturation, body composition, population ancestry/genetics, and lifestyle factors. Such insight has practical implications for disease prevention and lifelong wellness, as well as broader scientific implications for understanding human plasticity and evolution.
Dr. Zemel's research program aims to improve understanding of lifelong health and how it relates to childhood antecedents of physical growth and maturation, body composition, population ancestry/genetics, and lifestyle factors. Such insight has practical implications for disease prevention and lifelong wellness, and broader scientific implications for understanding human plasticity and evolution.
To this end, she has focused on two particular health concerns: bone fragility and obesity. As a site PI for the multi-center, multi-ethnic, longitudinal, prospective NICHD Bone Mineral Density in Childhood Study, and Co-PI of the Genome Wide Association Study of Bone Mineral Accretion in Childhood, Dr. Zemel has made significant advancements in pediatric bone health assessment and insights into the genetics of bone accretion in children. This work is now being extended to young children, as she serves as Co-PI of the Bone Mineral Accretion in Young Children study.
These longitudinal studies are advancing insights into bone mineral accretion from early childhood through adulthood, and examining effects of growth, muscle development, physical activity, and diet during this critical life phase.
In addition to studying effects of obesity on pediatric bone health, Dr.Zemel is investigating predictors of excess weight gain in infants as the PI of The Infant Growth and Microbiome Study. This is a prospective, longitudinal study of African-American pregnant women and their children examining factors contributing to excess weight gain in African-American infants and young children, including the microbiome and the metabolome.
Education and Training
BA, University of Pennsylvania (Anthropology), 1979
MA, University of Pennsylvania (Anthropology), 1985
PhD, University of Pennsylvania (Anthropology), 1989
Titles and Academic Titles
Associate Program Director, Center for Human Phenomic Science
Leader, Metabolism, Nutrition and Physical Development Research Affinity Group
Director, Bionutrition Core Laboratory, Clinical and Translational Research Center
Academic Investigator, Healthy Weight Program
Director, Nutrition and Growth Laboratory
Associate Director of the Core Laboratories, The General Clinical Research Center
Professor of Pediatrics
Human Biology Association, 1985-
American Society for Clinical Nutrition, 1988-
International Society of Clinical Densitometry, 2000-
American Society for Bone Mineral Research, 2005-
Society for Pediatric Research, 2005-
International Association of Human Auxology, 2007-
Early Career Teaching Award, American Society for Bone Mineral Research, 2009