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Sara E. Pinney, MD, MS
Sara E. Pinney
Attending Physician

Dr. Pinney investigates the molecular mechanisms that link an adverse intrauterine milieu to the development of diabetes and obesity later in life. Specifically, she is researching how intrauterine growth restriction, gestational diabetes and in utero exposure to environmental toxicants contribute to the development of diabetes and obesity in offspring.

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Bio

Dr. Pinney's research focuses on the molecular mechanisms linking adverse intrauterine milieu to diabetes and obesity. She is investigating how intrauterine growth restriction, gestational diabetes and in utero exposure to environmental toxicants like bisphenol A, bisphenol S, and perfluorooctanoic acid contribute to the development of diabetes and obesity in offspring.

She performs studies with human samples, animal models, and cell culture systems to understand the mechanisms responsible for fetal programming of childhood and adult metabolic disease.

In addition, Dr. Pinney is identifying and treating children with atypical forms of diabetes, with the aim to develop targeted novel treatments for this population. Along with her colleagues in the Diabetes Center for Children at CHOP, she has identified and treated children and adolescents with 12 different forms of monogenic diabetes. Her lab is actively working to better understand the clinical features and molecular mechanisms responsible for these rare forms of diabetes in children in order to develop novel treatment strategies to benefit all patients with diabetes.

Among her notable accomplishments, Dr. Pinney:

  • Measured concentrations of the endocrine disruptor BPA in human amniotic fluid, and reported that amniotic fluid BPA concentrations are associated with decreased birth weight
  • Correlated amniotic fluid BPA concentrations with genome wide DNA methylation patterns and gene expression profiles via RNA-Seq in corresponding amniocytes and found that male offspring are more affected by in utero BPA exposure than female offspring
  • Characterized the metabolome, transcriptome, and methylome of second trimester amniotic fluid and term placenta exposed to gestational diabetes
  • Made the seminal observation that intrauterine growth restriction-induced epigenetic modifications can be reversed by Exendin-4, thereby normalizing the phenotype
  • Described a new form of monogenic diabetes due to a recessive mutation in Neurogenin-3 and a novel form of dominant congenital hyperinsulinism that maps to chromosome 10q21 at the Hexokinase 1 locus

 

Education and Training

BA, University of Pennsylvania (History of Art), 1996

MD, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, 2002

MS, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania (Translational Research), 2010

Titles and Academic Titles

Attending Physician

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Professional Memberships

Pediatric Endocrine Society, 2005-

The Endocrine Society, 2006-

American Diabetes Association, 2006-

Philadelphia Endocrine Society, 2006

Pediatric Endocrine Society, 2008-

Professional Awards

Outstanding Basic Science Research Presentation, Outstanding Patient-Oriented Research Presentation, University of Pennsylvania Institute of Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism Research Symposium, 2007

Basic Science Award, University of Pennsylvania Center for Research in Reproduction and Women’s Health Research, 2007

Lilly/Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society Research Fellowship, 2007

University of Pennsylvania Institute of Translational Medicine and Therapeutics Fellowship, 2007

Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society, Presidential Reception Poster Presentation, 2010

Susan Heyner Award for Excellence in Research, University of Pennsylvania Center for Research in Reproduction and Women’s Health, 2010

Outstanding Patient-Oriented Research Presentation, University of Pennsylvania Institute of Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism Research Symposium, 2012

Patient-Oriented Research Award, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, 2016

Patient Oriented Research Presentation Winner, University of Pennsylvania Institute of Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism Research Symposium, 2016

University of Pennsylvania Center for Excellence in Environmental Toxicology Mentored Scientist Transition Award, 2016

Patient Oriented Research Presentation Winner, University of Pennsylvania Institute of Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism Research Symposium, 2018

Publication Highlights

Bansal A, Robles-Matos N, Wang PZ, Condon DE, Joshi A, Pinney SE. In utero bisphenol A exposure is linked with sex specific changes in the transcriptome and methylome of human amniocytes. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2019 Sep; 2019 Sep 19;. doi: 10.1210/clinem/dgz037. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 31536135
O’Neill K, Alexander J, Azuma R, Xiao R, Snyder NW, Blair IA, Pinney SE. Gestational Diabetes Alters the Metabolomic Profile in 2nd Trimester Amniotic Fluid in a Sex-Specific Manner. Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Sep; 19(9). PMID: 30201937
Alexander JA, Teague AM, Chen J, Aston CE, Leung YK, Chernausek S, Simmons RA, Pinney SE. Offspring sex impacts DNA methylation and gene expression in placentae from women with diabetes during pregnancy. PLoS ONE. 2018 Feb; 13(2):e0190698. PMID: 29470513. PMCID: PMC5823368
Pinney SE, Mesaros CA, Snyder NW, Busch CM, Xiou R, Aijaz, S, Ijaz N, Blair IA, Manson JM. Second Trimester Amniotic Fluid Bisphenol A Concentration Is Associated with Decreased Birth Weight in Term Infants. Reprod Toxicol. 2017 Jan; (67)1-9. PMID: 27829162
Pinney SE, Jaeckle Santos LJ, Han Y, Stoffers DA, Simmons RA. Exendin-4 Increases Histone Acetylase Activity and Reverses Epigenetic Modifications that Silence Pdx1 in the IUGR Rat. Diabetologia. 2011 Oct; 54(10):2606-14. PMID: 21779870 PMCID: PMC4461231

Links of Interest