Beverly Strassmann, professor of anthropology, is the principal investigator of a $3.2 million research project recently funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Professor Strassmann has directed a nearly 25 year study in Mali, West Africa, in which she and her Malian team followed the growth of two generations longitudinally. Using placental tissue from 470 births, her team is investigating the developmental mechanisms that have the potential to be at the crux of diseases that are rooted in deficits and surfeits of maternal nutrition. These non-communicable diseases are the leading causes of poor health on a global scale and are responsible for seven of ten deaths.  In particular, her team is investigating the role of genomic imprinting, which is a mechanism of epigenetic regulation that selectively reduces the expression of either the maternal or the paternal copy of a gene without regard to the DNA sequence. Currently, a major obstacle in the genomic imprinting field is the lack of longitudinal data on human phenotypes. Dr. Strassmann and her team will deploy a rich data set on phenotypes collected over more than two decades to understand how they are transmitted across the generations.