Katherine Ahrens, PhD, MPH

Entered BURPPE program September 2008
Graduated May 2012

“As a BURPPE trainee, I have been able to collaborate with investigators at the Slone Epidemiology Center using their long-standing case-control study data for my thesis, which has been incredible!”

Brief Biography

Kate graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Harvard University in 1999. After working as a research assistant in various fields, such as marine conservation, climate change ecology, and substance abuse, she received an MPH in Epidemiology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She then worked as an epidemiologist for four years for the State of California in the Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Branch and in STD Prevention and Control for the City and County of San Francisco.  She began her doctoral studies in the fall of 2008 and was employed as an analyst for the Slone Epidemiology Center with Dr. Martha Werler during that time.  She graduated in May 2012 and completed her post-doctoral fellowship in summer 2014 with Dr. Enrique Schisterman, Epidemiology branch chief and senior investigator at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), Division of Epidemiology Statistics and Prevention Research. Dr. Ahrens is currently a Senior Service Fellow with the National Center for Health Statistics at the CDC.

Kate’s CV

Research Interests

Kate’s interests are perinatal and reproductive epidemiology. For her dissertation, she analyzed data from both Slone’s Birth Defects Study (BDS) and the National Birth Defects Prevention Study (NBDPS).  The title of her thesis is:  “Consequences of controlling viral diseases during pregnancy:  antiherpetic medication and influenza vaccination.”

Competitive Awards and Honors

  • Member of the Delta Omega Society, an honorary society for graduate students in public health.
  • Accepted to the National Institutes of Health National Graduate Student Research Conference (NGSRC) in Bethesda, MD, October 2011.
  • Selected for participation at the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD) and Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)’s Summer Institute in Reproductive and Perinatal Epidemiology, Val-David, Quebec, Canada, July 2009.

Selected Publications

  • Matyas RA, Mumford SL, Schliep KC, Ahrens KA, Sjaarda LA, Perkins NJ, Filiberto A, Mattison D, Zarek SM, Wactawski-Wende J, Schisterman EF. Effects of over-the-counter analgesic use on reproductive hormones and ovulation in healthy, premenopausal women in the BioCycle Study. Human Reproduction, in press.
  • Silver RM, Ahrens KA, Perkins NJ, Wong L, Galai N, Lesher LL, Faraggi D, Wactawski-Wende J, Townsend JM, Lynch AM, Mumford SL, Schisterman EF. Preconception low dose aspirin and pregnancy outcomes: findings from the EAGeR (Effects of Aspirin in Gestation and Reproduction) randomized trial. Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2015 Apr; 124 (4), in press.
  • Ahrens KA, Kerr S, Louik C, Mitchell AA, Werler MM. Influenza vaccination during pregnancy and the risks of preterm and small for gestational age (SGA) birth. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology. 2014 Nov; 28 (6):498-509.
  • Ahrens KA, Cole SR, Westreich D, Platt RW, Schisterman EF. A cautionary note about estimating effect of secondary exposures in cohort studies. American Journal of Epidemiology, 2015 Feb 1; 181 (3):198-203.
  • Schliep KC, Mumford SL, Vladutiu CJ, Ahrens KA, Perkins NJ, Prasad A, Wactawski-Wende J, Schisterman EF. Perceived stress, reproductive hormones, and ovulatory function among premenopausal women in the BioCycle Study. Epidemiology, 2015 Mar; 26 (2):177-184.
  • Prasad A, Schisterman EF, Schliep KC, Ahrens KA, Sjaarda LA, Perkins NJ, Matyas R, Wactawski-Wende J, Mumford SL. Depressive symptoms and their relationship with endogenous reproductive hormones and sporadic anovulation in premenopausal women. Annals of Epidemiology. 2014 Oct; 24 (12):920-924.
  • Schliep KC, Mumford SL, Ahrens KA, Hotaling JM, Carrell DT, Link M, Hinkle SN, Kissell KA, Porucznik, CA, Peterson CM, Hammoud AO. The effect of male and female body mass index on pregnancy and live birth success after in vitro fertilization. Fertility and Sterility, 2015 Feb; 103 (2):388-395.
  • Schliep KC, Mumford SL, Hammoud AO, Stanford JB, Kissell KA, Sjaarda LA, Perkins NJ, Ahrens KA, Wactawski-Wende J, Mendola P, Schisterman EF. Luteal phase deficiency in regularly menstruating women: prevalence and overlap in identification based on clinical and biochemical diagnostic criteria. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 2014 Jun; 99 (6):E1007-1014.
  • Prasad A, Mumford SL, Buck Louis GM, Ahrens KA, Sjaarda LA, Schliep KC, Perkins NJ, Kissell KA, Wactawski-Wende J, Schisterman EF. Sexual activity, endogenous reproductive hormones and ovulation in premenopausal women. Hormones and Behavior, 2014 Jul; 66 (2):330-338.
  • Kissell KA, Danaher M, Schisterman EF, Wactawski-Wende J, Ahrens KA, Schliep KC, Perkins JN, Sjaarda LA, Mumford SL. Serum anti-Müllerian hormone variation throughout the menstrual cycle in healthy regularly menstruating women. Human Reproduction, 2014 Aug; 29 (8):1764-1772.
  • Pollack AZ, Sjaarda LA, Ahrens KA, Mumford SL, Browne RW, Wactawski-Wende J, Schisterman EF. Cadmium and lead exposure impair paraoxonase 1 (PON1) activity in premenopausal women. PLoS One, 01/2014; 9 (3):e92152.
  • Ahrens KA, Mumford SL, Schliep KC, Kissell KA, Perkins NJ, Wactawski-Wende J, Schisterman EF. The effect of serum leptin levels on reproductive hormones and the risk of sporadic anovulation. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2014 Mar; 210 (3):248.e1-9.
  • Ahrens KA, Vladutiu CJ, Mumford SL, Schliep KC, Perkins NJ, Wactawski-Wende J, Schisterman EF. The effects of physical activity across the menstrual cycle on reproductive function. Annals of Epidemiology. 2014 Feb; 24 (2):127-34.
  • Louik C, Ahrens K, Kerr S, Pyo J, Chambers C, Jones K, Schatz M, Mitchell A. Risks and safety of pandemic H1N1 influenza vaccine in pregnancy: exposure prevalence, preterm delivery and specific birth defects. Vaccine. 2013 Oct; 31 (44): 5033-5040.
  • Ahrens K, Anderka M, Feldkamp M, Canfield M, Mitchell A, Werler M. Antiherpetic medication use and the risk of gastroschisis: findings from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology. 2013 May; 27 (3): 258-262.
  • Ahrens K, Lash TL, Louik C, Mitchell AA, Werler MM. Correcting for exposure misclassification using survival analysis with a time-varying exposure. Annals of Epidemiology. 2012 November; 22 (11):799-806.
  • Werler MM, Ahrens KA, Bosco JLF, Mitchell AA, Anderka MT, Gilboa SM, Holmes LB and the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. Use of antiepileptic medications in pregnancy in relation to risks of birth defects. Annals of Epidemiology. 2011 November; 22 (11): 842-850.
  • Ahrens K, Yazdy M, Mitchell AA, Werler MM. Folic acid intake and spina bifida in the era of dietary folic acid fortification. Epidemiology. 2011 May; 22 (5):731-737.

Invited Presentations

  • Ahrens K.  Consequences of controlling viral diseases during pregnancy:  antiherpetic medication and influenza vaccination.  Slone Epidemiology Center Brown Bag Seminar Series. May 17, 2012. Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Ahrens K.  Influenza vaccination before and during pregnancy and the risk of preterm birth.  Advanced methods student workshop on bias analysis with Dr. Timothy Lash.  Society for Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiologic Research Annual Meeting. June 2011. Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
  • Ahrens K.  Influenza vaccination before and during pregnancy and the risk of preterm birth.  Colby College Mathematics and Statistics Department Spring Colloquium Series.  March 14, 2011.  Waterville, Maine.
  • Ahrens K, Yazdy M, Mitchell AA, Werler MM.  Folic acid intake and spina bifida in the era of dietary folic acid fortification. Society for Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiologic Research Annual Meeting. June 2010. Seattle, Washington.
  • Ahrens KA, Werler MM.  Use of antiepileptic medications in pregnancy in relation to risks of birth defects.  National Birth Defects Prevention Study Webinar, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. November 13, 2009.

Posters Presented at the Following Conferences

  • Society for Pediatric Perinatal Epidemiologic Research.  June 2012.  Minneapolis, Minnesota.
  • National Institutes of Health National Graduate Student Research Conference.  October 2011.  Bethesda, Maryland.
  • International Society for Sexually Transmitted Disease Research.  July 2007.  Seattle, Washington.
  • National Sexually Transmitted Diseases Prevention Conference.  May 2006.  Jacksonville, Florida.

Coursework

  • Modern Epidemiology, Fall 2008
  • Categorical Data Analysis, Fall 2008
  • Logistic Regression and Survival Analysis, Spring 2009
  • Advanced Epidemiology Seminar, Spring 2009
  • Statistical Methods in Epidemiology, Fall 2009
  • Perinatal Epidemiology, Fall 2009
  • Reproductive Epidemiology, Spring 2010
  • Guided Epidemiology Study, Spring 2010