Dr. Michele Forman is the Bruton Professor of NutritionalSciences at the University of Texas Austin. She has a Ph.D. in Epidemiology, Master of Art in Nutrition, Master of Science in Public Health and Master of Art in Anthropology. She has developed and conducted 10 longitudinal cohort studies in the U.S. and internationally. Most recently she was the Study Location Principal Investigator for the Harris County National
Children’s Study (NCS) and the Travis County site and
additionally conducted formative research in nutritional status for the NCS. For over 30 years, her research focus has been on women’s health throughout the life course, with an emphasis on the effect of pregnancy, early childhood, puberty, and the reproductive years on risk of breast and other hormonal cancers. She seeks to understand how a woman’s nutritional status in pregnancy influences the newborn’s health and the mother’s health after pregnancy and the effects of each on intermediate markers of and on cancer risk in the
offspring and mother, respectively.
Her work focuses on pre-pregnancy body mass index, diet, weight gain, and physical activity in pregnancy, all of which are captured under the term – energy balance- and are associated with the ages at onset of puberty, and at menarche of the daughter/female offspring as well as risk for obesity and cancer in the mother and daughter. Her research has led to an understanding that women who exercise in pregnancy have daughters who delay the age of menarche by three months on average; that excessive weight gain in pregnancy leads to a higher risk for obesity in the offspring by age 18; and that specific dietary regimes such as frequency of consumption of salads and lifestyle activities such as gardening reduce risk of lung cancer across smoking groups. Her research explores why preeclampsia in pregnancy is associated with lower risk of breast cancer in the mother and index daughter; and later age at onset of puberty in the daughter.