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Jennifer Smith

Ph.D., Epidemiologic Sciences, University of Michigan
M.P.H., Health Management and Policy, University of Michigan
M.A., Statistics, University of Michigan
B.S., Biology, Cornell University

Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Michigan
Research Assistant Professor, Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan

Dr. Smith’s overarching research focus is on the genetics of chronic diseases, subclinical phenotypes, and their risk factors. She works with three large, multi-ethnic cohort studies: the Health and Retirement Study (HRS, N=20,000), the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA, N=6,000), and the Genetic Epidemiology Network of Arteriopathy (GENOA, N=3,000). Her work encompasses a broad range of phenotypes, including cardiovascular traits, hypertension, chronic kidney disease, subclinical phenotypes for dementia and cognition, obesity and body mass index, diabetes and glucose metabolism, metabolic syndrome, inflammation, and health behaviors. She studies genetic determinants both as direct risk factors for chronic disease, as well as the interaction between genetic and non-genetic factors in shaping disease risk. In particular, she is interested in genetic interaction with social and psychosocial determinants of health, especially those that influence health disparities. Her research also includes biological markers that may lend insight into disease etiology and molecular mechanisms, including epigenetics, gene expression, and telomere length.