Latinx Research Week

Student Participants

Student Oral Presentations Recording

Oral Presentation Recording.mp4

Luis Zavala Arciniega

Graduate Student, Epidemiology

Topic: COVID-19 and tobacco/cancer research 

Title: Disparities in access to care, recovery, and the social impact of COVID-19 among Hispanic and Non-Hispanic White Michiganders COVID-19 survivors. Results from a state-level representative survey. 


Aim: To determine disparities in access to care, recovery, and the social impact of COVID-19 between Hispanic and Non-Hispanic White (NH White) Michiganders COVID-19 survivors.

Methods: A total of 1839 adult Michiganders with confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses completed the survey online or over the phone. Phone interviews were conducted in English, Spanish and Arabic. Responses were weighted to be representative of adults with COVID-19 onset in Michigan on or before November 15, 2020.

Key findings: More Hispanic than NH White respondents reported very severe symptoms (25.6% vs. 11.4%). Among hospitalized respondents, Hispanic were more likely than NH White to have a hospital stay lasting longer than one week (74.1% vs. 36.7%). More Hispanic (10.8%) than NH White (1.6%) respondents reported that their COVID-19 testing or treatment made them feel emotionally upset due to how they were treated based on their race, and that their stress levels worsened during the pandemic (67.0% vs. 54.6%). More Hispanic than NH White respondents reported increased social stressors since the start of the pandemic, such as being unable to pay important bills, get enough food or healthy food, access clean water, arrange childcare, and get needed medications. Among employed respondents, paid sick leave was less common for Hispanic than NH White respondents (65.4% vs. 79.8%). Hispanic respondents reported that they never or rarely had access to personal protective equipment at work more often than NH White respondents (29.2% vs. 14.9%). 

Ariana Bueno

Graduate Student, Applied Physics & CLaSP/ PhD

Topic: Lunar science/ Space Sciences & Engineering

Title: Investigating Plume Surface Interactions on the Lunar Surface 

Email: | IG: @arianabueno 

Upcoming lunar lander missions are expected to force dust transport across the Moon whenever a lander’s rocket plume impinges on the surface. Rocket Plume Surface Interaction (PSI) can eject large amounts of regolith particles, limiting visibility and reducing flight safety. Particles ejected from the surface at high velocities can damage spacecraft, its instruments, and surrounding hardware. As a result, this interaction poses multiple risks to future lunar missions. Thus, understanding PSI processes is paramount to the safety of the lunar exploration program. To better understand PSI, we are developing in-flight instrumentation to assess PSI effects. A dedicated PSI instrument is being developed to collect data during landing. The Particle Impact Event (PIE) Sensor is designed to quantify PSI effects in the lunar environment for the first time ever. Since PSI is poorly known and this instrument is first-of-a-kind, it is necessary to calculate estimates of multiple parameters such as distance traveled, particle concentration, impingement time, velocity range, and energy of impacts, to assess the requirements. These initial estimates have been done using various methods along with analysis of Apollo mission data. Our results demonstrate that ejected particles can travel at velocities up to 1200 m/s and could affect surface equipment more than 100 km away. With these initial estimates we are developing the requirements for the PIE sensor. Our instrument can be used to improve prediction capabilities and develop mitigation strategies for future missions. This is crucial in ensuring safety during landings on the Moon. 

Paloma Contreras

Graduate Student, Anthropology

Topic: Health and biological markers of stress

Title: Analytical validation of an enzyme immunoassay protocol to quantify hair cortisol concentrations in human hair 

Email: | IG: @palomasoledah

The biomarker, cortisol, is a steroid hormone that helps mediate energy allocation during environmental or social challenges. As such, elevations in cortisol can be used as evidence of exposure to challenging environments. After being released by the adrenal gland, cortisol travels through the bloodstream and gets incorporated over time from blood capillaries into the hair shaft via passive diffusion. The slow accumulation of cortisol in the hair shaft, in addition to its non-invasive collection and easy storage, has made hair cortisol concentration (HCC) analyses a useful tool to assess long-term exposure to adverse conditions. Yet, despite its widespread use in humans, we failed to find a published validation of human hair cortisol. Here we present a description of our extraction of cortisol from human hair and our analytical validation of an enzyme immunoassay protocol to measure HCCs. Parallelism was calculated by running a serial dilution of our pool, and we did not find significant differences in the slopes generated by running the standards and our pool (ANOVA: t-value = 0.272, p = 0.792), indicating parallelism had been achieved. Accuracy was calculated by spiking standards with 35 μl of pool and obtained a mean recovery of 71.7% (SD = 12.33). Precision was assessed by running the same sample three times on the plate. The coefficient of variation (%CV) obtained from these replicates was an acceptable 12%. The results of our analytical validation, in addition to the high correlation between HCC and average salivary cortisol levels reported by previous studies, provides evidence of the reliability of this measurement as a biological marker of stress. 

Veronica Correa

Graduate Student, School of Environment and Sustainability

Topic: Public health

Title: Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (Drones) to Identify Spatial Variables related to Dengue Transmission 


Vector-borne illnesses, such as Dengue, are a prevalent public health concern in the Americas. Different environmental and behavioral variables, such as factors related to land use or water storage, can impact the density of vector populations, resulting in dengue transmission in both rural and urban communities. This research project is part of a multi-institutional research project between the University of Michigan, the University of California-Berkeley, and the Universidad San Francisco de Quito, to understand the spatial-temporal epidemiology of dengue fever in coastal Ecuador. The overall objective of the project is to determine whether spatial features identifiable by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV, or drones) could be used to identify Aedes Aegypti mosquito densities. Exposure variables were calculated by analyzing UAV images from five communities along an urban-rural gradient in coastal Esmeraldas, Ecuador. Each household within the community was identified, and 40- and 100-meter buffers were programmed from each house in qGIS. From there, the descriptive statistics for normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), number of standing water containers, distance of natural bodies of water, and numbers of male and female Aedes mosquitoes, the primary vector of dengue, were calculated. Our next step will be to develop a spatial regression model with various spatial factors as an exposure variable and mosquito counts as the outcome variable. The results of this model will inform our understanding of dengue risk in the study communities. For example, it may help us to develop spatially-targeted interventions to reduce disease risk. 

Maria Isabel Dabrowski

Graduate Student, School for Environment and Sustainability

Topic: Sustainable fisheries and community advocacy

Title: A Collection of Ecuadorian Fishers' Perspectives on Ocean Conservation 


@maria_withanaccent and @GoGreenForTheOcean 

Artisanal fisheries in Ecuador comprise 87% of artisanal fisheries bycatch in the Eastern Tropical Pacific (Alfaro, 2018). As mistrust has grown between artisanal fishers and the government, government-proposed conservation technologies and policies are largely ineffective. These conservation techniques will likely continue to be ineffective until fishers’ perspectives are acknowledged, and their priorities integrated into local and national policies. This study aims to understand the relationships between the ocean, marine organisms (e.g. sea turtles) and fishers to 1) improve the livelihood of artisanal fishers, 2) help increase marine wildlife populations in the area and 3) foster relationships between fishers and governmental agencies to create bottom-up and top-down conservation policies. Surveys will occur at various ports along Ecuador’s coast. The survey is important in designing effective, collaborative and inclusive solutions to fisheries bycatch to prevent the extirpation of East Pacific leatherbacks and the decline of four other sea 

turtle species in the region. The survey contains questions to understand 1) fishers’ relationships to the ocean, 2) how fishers define conservation, 3) fishers’ conservation priorities, 4) the relationship between fishers and marine animals and 5) how fishers feel about fishing technologies, policies and regulations in Ecuador. The results from this study will be analyzed for patterns and compiled into an easy-to-read report, which will also include recommendations for future policy proceedings that are grounded in effective environmental psychology principles. This report will be presented to local and federal Ecuadorian government officials by our TLP team to impact future marine conservation decision-making. 

Delfina Grinspan

Graduate Student, School for Environment and Sustainability

Topic: Agroecology

Title: Characterizing belowground functional diversity in a perennial agroecosystem 


Increasing evidence of the negative environmental externalities of agriculture has fueled a growing interest in managing agricultural biodiversity to enhance multiple ecosystem functions simultaneously. Novel cropping systems that incorporate perennial grain crops are of particular interest because perennial species have traits that can mitigate agriculture’s impacts on global change. For instance, intercropping perennial grains with legumes can replace synthetic fertilizer inputs with biological nitrogen fixation while building up soil carbon stocks. Yet, to date, the impacts of intercropping on trait expression and ecosystem function in perennial grain systems is poorly understood. To address this gap, the present study will examine inter- and intraspecific variation of root functional traits in a field experiment with intermediate wheatgrass (Thinopyrum intermedium; IWG) and two common forage legumes. Specifically, our objectives are: (1) To assess the effect of species interactions in intercrops on ecologically-relevant crop traits, like root nitrogen concentration and branching density. And (2) to investigate the relationship between root functional diversity and soil microbial community composition and activity, with a focus on microbial nitrogen-cycling functions. Ultimately, this project will contribute to a deeper understanding of belowground functional diversity in perennial grain-legume cropping systems, which can, in turn, inform the management of crop diversity to design multifunctional agroecosystems. 

Kateri Gutierrez

Graduate Student, Ross School of Business

Topic: Employee Ownership / Worker Cooperatives 

Title: Identifying Key Metrics for Successful Conversions to Worker Cooperatives 


The worker cooperative sector is growing in the United States. The employee-owned, governance-based model benefits the worker, the company, and the local economy it operates in. At the same time, many business owners are retiring, a shift called the Silver Tsunami. Such a wave is resulting in more small businesses at risk of staying open. The growing cooperative sector can alleviate the potential economic risks of the Silver Tsunami

by converting their businesses to a worker cooperative. However, there are many moving parts to be ready to convert to a worker cooperative, and the Cooperative Conversion Readiness Framework presents a guideline to execute a successful transition to the employees. The framework breaks down three components: General Business success, Supportive Ecosystem, Internal Change Preparedness, with a set of action steps to execute a successful conversion. 

Bernardette Pinetta

Graduate Student, Combined Program in Education and Psychology

Topic: Education/ Psychology

Title: Developing a culturally sustaining program for the civic/political empowerment of Latina adolescents 

Email: | Twitter: @BPinetta

How Latina youth understand their social identities (e.g., race/ethnicity, gender) and the privileges and constraints they afford play a critical role in shaping the way they chose to engage against systems of injustice (Ginwright & Cammarota, 2002). Unfortunately, in social justice movements (e.g., Chicano Movement, mainstream Feminist movements), the intersection of Latinas’ racial and gendered experiences is often relegated to the sidelines (Montoya & Seminario, 2020). Leaving many Latinas to feel excluded, overlooked, and unable to fully address the social issues that affect their lives (Blackwell, 2016). For Latina adolescents, their sense of self is shaped not only by the racial discrimination Latinx communities face, but also the sexism they experience as girls of color within and outside their community (Ybarra, 2020). Ethnic-racial identity (ERI) development is thus a site of resistance where Latinas are active agents in rejecting deficit narratives and redefining who they are in positive and just terms (Ginwright & Cammarota, 2002). The lives, knowledge, and insurgence of Latina youth are thus critical to the disruption and dismantling of interlocking systems of oppression (Bondy, 2016).  Providing Latina girls spaces to develop their civic and political capabilities while attending to the various identities that shape their experiences may serve as key assets within a larger social, political, and economic terrain where racism, sexism, and xenophobia are the main architects (Ginwright & Cammarota, 2002). This presentation explores the co-creation of a youth participatory action research (YPAR) program for Latina adolescents.  

Genesis Rodriguez

Graduate Student, Department of Neurology/ NGP

Topic: Neuroscience

Title: The Sorting Factor VPS13A is Pivotal for Quality Control of Mitochondria and Endoplasmic Reticulum 

Email: | @neuro_genesis_

Chorea Acanthocytosis (ChAc) is an autosomal-recessive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by parkinsonism and cognitive decline, leading to major disability and early death. The only known causes of ChAc are mutations in the gene encoding vacuolar protein sorting factor 13A (VPS13A), resulting in reduced VPS13A protein levels. While the yeast orthologue VPS13 aids in the transport of lipids between organelles, the physiological function and regulation of VPS13A in mammalian cells remain unknown.

Here I utilized human embryonic kidney (HEK) 293T cells in which the native VPS13A has been labeled with an ultra-bright fluorescent protein, to identify VPS13A interactors by mass spectroscopy and unbiased proteomics. I also took advantage of VPS13A-KO HEK293T cells to determine how loss of VPS13A affects critical pathways relevant to ChAc. These studies led me to investigate specialized branches of autophagy that may be regulated by VPS13A. Loss of VPS13A affects the steady-state levels of receptors involved in mitochondria-specific-autophagy (mitophagy) and endoplasmic-reticulum-limited autophagy (ER-phagy), as well as turnover of these receptors. These findings highlight a central function for VPS13A in ER-phagy and mitophagy, a hypothesis I am now exploring through dynamic studies of ER-phagy, mitophagy, and related pathways in HEK293T cells.

Future studies will examine ER-phagy and mitophagy, and the contribution of VPS13A to protein clearance and cellular survival, in human neurons differentiated from induced pluripotent stem cells donated by individuals with ChAc. Collectively, these investigations will help define a function for VPS13A in neurons and highlight pathways that may be targeted to prevent neuron loss in ChAc. 

Sofia Ruiz-Sierra & Paloma Contreras

Undergraduate Student, Biopsychology, Cognition and Neuroscience

Graduate Student, Anthropology

Topic: Epigenetics and Stress

Title: Methodological challenges of using DNA methylation on stress-related genes as biomarkers of stress

Email: | @sofiarzsr

Email: | @palomasoledah 

DNA methylation is one of the most studied epigenetic mechanisms regulating gene expression. Over the last decade, disciplines such as psychology and anthropology have increasingly used DNA methylation (DNAm) measurements as informative of exposures to environmental adversity. Yet, many methodological aspects that would make DNAm a reliable biological marker of stress are still unclear. Here we present the major methodological challenges of using DNAm as a biomarker of stress in behavioral sciences. We used Pubmed to search peer-reviewed articles using the terms “DNA methylation”, “adults”, and one of these two stress-related genes: FKBP5 and NR3C1. Our findings suggest that studies are often hindered by factors such as limited sample sizes, inconsistent or subjective measurement of traits of interest, unaddressed genotypic and environmental covariates, lack of tools to control for cell-type heterogeneity in targeted epigenetic studies, inconsistent directionality in associations between specific traits and DNAm levels, and low ethnic and racial diversity in study groups. Lack of knowledge regarding the temporal stability of DNAm in different loci is an important limitation in these studies. Although correlational studies do not attempt to establish causality, more studies investigating the biological pathways connecting the interactions between genotypes, DNAm, gene expression and functioning of the HPA axis would strengthen the explanatory power of studies using DNAm as biomarker of stress. DNAm studies have a tremendous potential for the behavioral sciences. Future work should be cautious of methodological limitations, and continue to investigate humans’ epigenetic sensitivity to psycho-social and environmental exposures. 

luisa sánchez

Undergraduate Student, Latino/a Studies and Political Science

Topic: Contemporary Performance in Puerto Rico

Title: Maritza Pérez Otero and Jóvenes del 98: Street Performance, Economic Crisis, and Social Transformation in Puerto Rico 

Email: | @luisa.esther0

Since 1972, Maritza Pérez Otero has brought to light many issues faced by the Puerto Rican people through performance. In 1998, she established the Jóvenes del 98, a performance group of young people in Puerto Rico that have contributed to the conversations of various social issues throughout the late 20th and 21st century. They have challenged colonialism, critiqued the federal and local governments, and proposed social change through performance. By highlighting theories, readings, and frameworks, I will consult the critical bibliography, to frame my research through the scholarship of Puchi Platón, Frances Negrón-Muntaner, Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes, Lowell Fiet, Susan Homar, Diana Taylor, Alana Casanova-Burgess, among many others. I aim to contextualize the political and economic circumstances in Puerto Rico, the history of theater and performance in Puerto Rico, discuss Maritza Pérez Otero’s trajectory, leading to the creation of Jóvenes del 98, and finally analyze a performance titled “Ay María.” 

Cecilia solis-barroso

Graduate Student, Linguistics

Topic: Linguistics & Bilingualism

Title: Bilingual Cross-linguistic Influence on the Interpretation of Ambiguities


Prolonged contact between two or more languages gives rise to language change, both at the individual and community levels (Meisel, 2011). For example, in the context of the United States, extensive research suggests that Spanish/English bilinguals produce innovative morphosyntax, phonology, and lexical items that may reflect their knowledge of their two languages (Montrul, 2004; Silva-Corvalán,, 2014 ). However, the extent of language change (or cross-linguistic influence) might differ from bilingual to bilingual, or it might not occur altogether in some speakers (Blom, Cornips, & Schaeffer, 2017; Genesee, 2006; Hulk & Müller, 2000). In this presentation, I discuss linguistic factors (e.g., similarities between the languages) and socio-linguistic factors (e.g., amount of contact between the languages, age of acquisition, language attitudes) that affect a bilingual’s language outcome. In addition, I present a research study that investigates whether cross-linguistic influence can also impact the way bilinguals interpret ambiguous sentences such as (1). To answer this question, Spanish/English bilinguals, of various language backgrounds, take a Truth Value Judgment Task to determine how they interpret ambiguous sentences with the same structure. In addition, participants are asked to complete a language background questionnaire to investigate how socio-linguistic factors influence this specific phenomenon. The literature review and preliminary results suggest that age of acquisition and language use are the biggest predictors of whether bilinguals maintain similar or distinct interpretations of ambiguous sentences. 

Andrea Valenzuela

Graduate Student, Chemical Biology

Topic: Precision Medicine in TB

Title: Advancing Precision Medicine in Tuberculosis through Host-Pathogen Tailored Modeling 

Email: | @2blessssssssed 

With millions of cases and deaths reported every year, Tuberculosis (TB) is the deadliest infectious disease globally. The TB infection is caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) and is transmitted through the air, primarily from the lungs. In 2017, nearly 558, 000 new TB cases were caused by multi-drug resistant (MDR) or extensively drug-resistant (XDR) Mtb strains. The diversity of pathogen-resistant strains, extensive range of drug combinations, and complex drug-host-pathogen interactions require new TB treatments to be more personalized to slow down antibiotic resistance emergence. This project aims to advance precision medicine in TB by developing clinically relevant predictive computational models that incorporate both host and pathogen multi-omic data. First, we will build a machine learning that inputs MDR/XDR Mtb chemogenomic and transcriptomic strain data and predicts drug combination interaction scores. These scores will tell us how synergistic or antagonistic a specific drug combination is for a particular Mtb resistant strain. Next, we will use genome-wide association studies, LDproxy, and RegulomeDB to identify proxy and functional variants across various TB host populations. RegulomeDB annotates single base-pair variants and predicts regulatory elements associated with the provided phenotype/trait. Using these functional variants, we will develop a polygenic risk score (PRS) model that will inform us how a person’s risk to TB compares to others who are genetically different. To summarize, these models will input host and pathogen TB multi-omic data to allow for drug combination predictions that are strain-specific and genetically tailored. 

Irene Vargas-Salazar

Graduate Student, Department of Astronomy

Topic: Field Massive Stars

Title: In Situ Field Massive Star Formation in the Small Magellanic Cloud

Email: | @irinipocket 

A fundamental question for theories of massive star formation is whether OB stars can form in isolation. We assess the contribution of any in-situ OB star formation by using 210 field OB stars in the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) from the Runaways and Isolated O-Type Star Spectroscopic Survey of the SMC (RIOTS4).  We search for tiny, sparse clusters around our target OB stars using cluster-finding algorithms. Employing statistical tests, we compare these observations with random-field data sets. We find that ~5% of our target fields do show evidence of higher central stellar densities, implying the presence of small clusters. This frequency of small clusters is low, much lower than previous estimates, and within errors, it is also consistent with the field OB population being composed entirely of runaway and walkaway stars. Assuming this small cluster fraction is real, it implies that some OB stars may form in highly isolated conditions. The low frequency could be caused by these clusters evaporating on a short timescale. However, another interpretation is that the low fraction of small clusters is observed because these form rarely, or not at all, implying a higher cluster lower-mass limit and consistent with a relationship between maximum stellar mass (m_max) and the cluster mass (M_cl).  Additionally, we are looking into the binary properties of the runaway stars to provide constraints for the initial properties of the cluster population in future work. 

Glory M. Velazquez-Nieves

Graduate Student, Medicinal Chemistry

Topic: Drug Discovery

Title: Antibiotic Discovery of Inhibitors of Transcription Factors-RNA  Polymerase Protein-Protein Interactions in Mycobacterium tuberculosis 


Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is estimated to account for 3.7% of new cases of TB annually worldwide and is becoming a major threat to global public health. Rifampin is considered the most important antibiotic for killing the slowly metabolizing Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) and acts by targeting DNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RNAP) in order to inhibit transcription. Due to the prevalence of Rifampin resistance, there is an urgent need to improve treatment by either enhancing the application of existing agents or introducing new drugs with novel mechanisms of action. CarD is an essential global transcription regulator in Mtb that binds RNAP to activate transcription, and the Nus factors are essential to transcription elongation and termination. We propose that these transcription factors will be an effective target for therapeutic discovery for the treatment of TB. CarD has been selectively labeled with the green BODIPY FL fluorophore or the red DAOTA fluorophore via engineered Cys mutations at multiple locations. A fluorescence polarization assay which monitors the association of Mtb RNAP and labeled CarD has been developed and validated.  We intend to perform an HTS of an additional 7,000 small molecules (a drug repurposing library generated by Prof. Sexton) by employing the CarD FP assay to identify potential inhibitors of the CarD/RNAP interaction. We will apply these assay protocols to screening NusA and NusG.  Overall, our objective is to identify and characterize small molecule inhibitors which block the CarD or Nus interaction with RNAP and to understand the mechanisms by which they interact with the molecules.

Victoria Vezaldenos

Graduate Student, Education Studies

Topic: Ethnic-Racial Identity Salience for Multiracial Adolescents 

Title: The Influence of Friendships on Biracial Adolescent Ethnic-Racial Identity Saliency 

 Email: | @victoriavezaldenos

The United States has seen a 276% increase in multiracial citizens since 2010 making it the fasting growing racial-ethnic group in the country. However, this rapidly growing demographic is understudied and often excluded from quantitative analyses of adolescent identity development. Therefore, I aim to leverage quantitative methods in order to elucidate how the racial composition of friend groups inform ethnic-racial identity resolution for biracial youth. 

We know that students are more likely to befriend those that are similar to themselves, yet it is unclear if multiracial students seek monoracial friendships, and if so, which monoracial groups will they gravitate towards (Doyle & Kao, 2007; Miville et al., 2005). Further, will these friendships result in the higher ethnic-racial saliency towards only one ethnic-racial identity for multiracial students? 

This study utilizes logistic regression models to determine whether the proportion of same-race friends were significant for each specific ethnic-racial reference group while covarying for overt and covert ethnic-racial socialization, institutional and peer discrimination, skin color, grade level, immigration status, school site, and gender.

The proportions of same race friends were significant predictors in every model assessing specific group differences such that a greater proportion of friends from that same racial group resulted in a greater likelihood that the students felt that race was more salient to them. This confirms that the influence of peer groups and self-nominated friends in particular have significant implications on identity resolution for multiracial youth. 

Valeria Ortiz Villalobos

Graduate Student, Combined Program in Education and Psychology 

Topic: Child Development and education/Language and literacy 

Title: The influences of cognitive and psychosocial factors on early language and literacy outcomes in young learners of Spanish heritage language 


Although one-quarter of children living in the US are Hispanic (National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families, 2021), US children’s early Spanish language and literacy development remain under-researched. This exploratory study examines a population of 52 learners, ages 4-7 of heritage language (HL) Spanish to tease apart central cognitive and psychosocial factors and determine their respective influences on early Spanish language and literacy outcomes. ‘Heritage language’ in the US refers to a non-English language that is spoken in the home or other minority language contexts and exists in intense contact with English (Valdés, 2000).

This study tests the applicability of the Simple View of Reading (Hoover & Gough, 1990) (SVR) framework for Spanish HL reading development, with a focus on measurement of cognitive factors (Spanish code-related skills and linguistic comprehension) in relation to Spanish reading comprehension. As a novel addition, psychosocial factors (affect towards ethnic language and literacy experiences, and the HL home language and literacy environment) are measured using a mixed-methods approach to gain a deeper understanding of children’s HL and reading experiences that influence literacy and language outcomes. Projected results: Cognitive factors are expected to be significantly associated with HL Spanish reading comprehension, in line with the SVR (e.g. Tapia et al., 2016). Psychosocial factors are expected to play a key role in SVR cognitive language and literacy components. This study’s findings will inform parental and educator practices by highlighting the value of combining cognitive and psychosocial strategies to effectively support children’s HL at home and in other literacy learning environments. 

NOTE: This presentation is based on a research proposal

Astrid N. Zamora

Graduate Student, School of Public Health, Doctor of Philosophy

Topic: Nutritional/ Environmental Epidemiology

Title: Exploring connections between phthalates and sleep health in a Mexico City birth cohort 

Email: | IG: @astrid_nicole | Twitter: astridnzamora 

Links between phthalates and sleep have emerged. However, disparities in sleep and toxicant exposures may overlap and confound analyses. This study examined the relationship between phthalates and sleep in Mexico City adolescents adjusting for residential neighborhood and socioeconomic status (SES). Participants included 471 adolescents from the ELEMENT study; mean (SD) age was 14.0 (2.1) years. In 2015, urinary phthalates were measured from spot urine samples; sleep duration, midpoint (a measure of timing), and fragmentation were assessed from wrist-actigraph devices over 7-days. Adolescents’ self-reported SES and residential neighborhood was estimated from GPS coordinates. Summary phthalates from plastic sources (ΣPLASTIC), personal care products (ΣPCP), di-(2-ethyhexyl) phthalate (ΣDEHP), anti-androgenic phthalates (ΣAA), and dibutyl phthalate (ΣDBP) were estimated from urinary phthalate metabolites. The distribution of phthalates and sleep characteristics were examined by neighborhood and SES. Linear regression was used to evaluate associations between phthalates and sleep measures, adjusting for specific gravity (SG), neighborhood, and SES. Bivariate analyses revealed differences in phthalate concentrations and sleep characteristics (i.e., sleep fragmentation) by neighborhood. After adjusting for confounders, phthalates and later midpoint were associated. Every 1-unit increase in ln-transformed ΣDEHP, ΣPLASTIC, ΣAA, and ΣPCP was associated with a 0.3-hour later midpoint, while ΣDBP was associated with a 0.2 hour later midpoint. Among this sample of Mexican adolescents, we found differences in sleep and phthalates by neighborhood. Even after accounting for these variables, higher phthalate exposure was related to later sleep timing.