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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

Columbia: Epidemiologist’s Research Cited by National Cancer Institute

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) selected a paper by Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health’s Dr. Manuela Orjuela-Grimm, assistant professor of epidemiology and pediatrics in the Research Highlights for the 2019 Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program. The paper “Fortification of bakery and corn masa-based foods in Mexico and dietary intake of folic acid and folate in Mexican national survey data” was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and is one of a few to investigate folic acid intake after fortification, and the first such report for Mexico. Dr. Orjuela is a molecular epidemiologist and pediatric oncologist whose research focuses on gene-nutrient/ environment interactions during pregnancy and early childhood and the development of later genetic and epigenetic changes in childhood disease.

The study in collaboration with the National Institute of Public Health, Mexico, accounts for folic acid (FA) fortification in staple foods made from wheat and corn, and found that fortification is highly variable and nearly one third women of childbearing age have FA intake below levels recommended by the National Academy of Medicine.

However, Dr. Orjuela’s research also highlights an unintended consequence of folic acid fortification with the potential to overexpose a subgroup of children under 9 years of age. FA intake above the tolerated upper limit has been associated with increased incidence of multiple common cancers in adults, though the effect of elevated intake in childhood is unknown.

Read more in Research Highlights of the Cancer Epidemiology Matters e-News, at

Read the study results.

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