Martha M. Werler, Sc.D.
Slone Epidemiology Center
Professor of Epidemiology
Boston University School of Public Health
Boston University Reproductive, Perinatal, and Pediatric Epidemiology Training Program
B.S., 1980, Biology, Boston College
M.P.H., 1983, Environmental Epidemiology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Sc.D., 1989, Epidemiology, Boston University School of Public Health
Dr. Werler’s research is in the areas of perinatal and pediatric epidemiology. She has been conducting studies of risk factors for various birth defects since 1982. Dr. Werler and colleagues conducted the first study to identify that women who take 400 micrograms of folic acid (the dose found in most over-the-counter multivitamins) in early pregnancy have a significantly lower risk of neural tube defects in their offspring. Additional work on neural tube defects includes maternal obesity, diabetes, and dietary glycemic index as risk factors. Dr. Werler has designed and implemented several case-control studies of specific birth defects that focus on behavioral, medical, and genetic risk factors. Her most recent study of clubfoot has identified cigarette smoking and genetic factors involved in the metabolism of the products of cigarette smoking as risk factors. Dr. Werler is an active co-investigator of the Slone Birth Defects Study and the CDC’s National Birth Defects Prevention Study. In addition to studies of risk factors for specific birth defects, Dr. Werler conducts follow-up studies of affected children. Outcomes of interest include behavioral problems, cognitive deficits, and quality of life during early childhood and adolescence. In addition to her research, Dr. Werler is Director of the Boston University Reproductive, Perinatal, and Pediatric Epidemiology predoctoral training program. She also teaches Design and Conduct of Case-Control Studies and From Conceptualization to Manuscript: A Guided Epidemiologic Study in the Epidemiology Department and is Assistant Editor of the journal Birth Defects Research Part A: Clinical and Molecular and Teratology.