Recent Graduate Publishes Paper on Culminating Experience

Recent Environmental Health Science and Policy MPH Alumna Alexandra “Ali” Goldstone published her culminating experience in Reproductive Toxicology this month.  Professor and Department Chair Melissa Perry, Goldstone’s advisor, was a coauthor of the publication, Urinary bisphenol A and semen quality, the LIFE Study

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a high-production volume industrial chemical found in several consumer products.  The goal of Goldstone’s culminating experience (CE) project was to estimate the association between BPA and 35 measures of semen quality among a group of 418 reproductive aged men recruited from 16 counties in Michigan and Texas between 2005 and 2009.  The men were participants in the LIFE Study, a prospective cohort study including couples who discontinued contraception to become pregnant.  Each of the men provided a urine sample and at least one semen sample.

Goldstone used linear and logistic regression models to assess the association between urinary BPA levels and individual semen quality endpoints. She employed generalized estimating equations to account for repeated measures of semen quality. 

As Goldstone explained when she presented her culminating experience, her research showed a  negative association between exposure to BPA and sperm quality.  Her analysis linked higher amounts of BPA in urine with lower amounts of sperm DNA damage.  This was the sole significant finding; all of the other investigated associations were null. 

The paper’s other coauthors include well-known environmental health researchers.  Germaine Buck-Louis is the director of the Division of Epidemiology, Statistics and Prevention Research at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).  She is the principal investigator of the LIFE Study, which has associated several cases of environmental chemicals with fecundity impairments, such as longer time required to become pregnant and poor semen quality.  Zhen Chen is a biostatistician at the NICHD. 

Kurunthachalam Kannan is an environmental chemist at the State University of New York at Albany’s School of Health whose analytical skills in identifying chemicals are widely regarded. 

“I'm so thankful to have an advisor like Dr. Perry, who encouraged me to find a challenging and meaningful CE,” Goldstone said. “Dr. Perry, Germaine, Zhen, and Dr. Kannan helped me hone epidemiology and data analysis skills while working on a project that aligned perfectly with my interests. I'm very grateful to have had the opportunity to work with this incredible team!”

Dr. Perry said that she is “very proud of Ali for all of the hard work she put into this publication.”