Vitamin B12 and Perinatal Health: Elucidating Mechanisms and Biomarkers for Prevention of Birth Defects

Neural tube defects (NTDs) are one of the most common and severe birth defects in the United States and globally. Vitamin B12 deficiency and perturbations in one-carbon metabolism have been linked to common adverse pregnancy outcomes, including neural tube closure defects. Recent evidence from population studies have identified vitamin B12 deficiency as the leading nutritional risk factor for NTDs after folate. However, the biological mechanisms are unknown, and experimental and causal data are lacking. The scientific objective of this application is to elucidate the role of vitamin B12 in the etiology of neural tube defects, to inform the development of risk-predicting biomarkers and preventive interventions.

Institution: Cornell University
Principal Investigator: Julia Finkelstein, PhD
Amount Awarded: $30,000
Year Awarded: 2017

The IAFNS Future Leader Award, given annually to promising nutrition and food scientists, allows new investigators the opportunity to add to an existing project or to conduct exploratory research that might not receive funding from other sources or add to an existing project. Consideration is given to individuals proposing research in the areas of experimental nutrition, nutrition and toxicology, and nutrition and food science. Grants extend for a period of 2 years at a funding level of $15,000 USD per year. Funds may not be used for overhead or to support the investigator’s salary.

View all Future Leader Award Recipients.