Faculty Profile

Kelly Bakulski

Kelly M. Bakulski, PhD

  • Associate Professor, Epidemiology
  • Data Management and Statistical Core Leader, Michigan Alzheimer's Disease Research Center

Dr. Bakulski's research team goal is to understand the environmental and genetic etiologies of neurological disorders, and in the process promote the conduct of rigorous science and the development of scientific expertise. Dr. Bakulski is an environmental health scientist with expertise in life course heavy metals exposure testing with neurodevelopment and neurodegeneration. She is also a molecular epidemiologist with experience conducting analyses across multiple levels of the genome, including the epigenome and the transcriptome. Dr. Bakulski's research incorporates population approaches and laboratory experiments to develop biomarker and cell type tools that inform molecular epidemiology inferences. Dr. Bakulski is passionate about teaching and mentoring.

  • Postdoctoral fellowship, Johns Hopkins University, 2015
  • PhD, University of Michigan, 2012
  • BA, Colby College, 2007

Research Interests:
Environmental and genetic etiology of neurological disorders using molecular epidemiology and toxicology approaches

Research Projects:
Risk of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias from perinatal lead exposure: Brain region and cell type effects. To identify the consequences of perinatal lead exposure in the brain by pathology, DNA methylation, hydroxymethylation, and RNA expression, including measures at the spatial single cell level. Results from these experiments will advance our understanding of how early life lead exposures affect the brain, with potential implications for the lifelong impacts on dementia.

Study of the environment and Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (SEAD). To comprehensively evaluate a wide range of modifiable environmental exposures, including the currently ubiquitous environmental neurotoxicants lead and cadmium, to advance scientific understanding on the etiology of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias and inform individual-level and population-level interventions to effectively prevent or reduce the burden of dementia. https://grantome.com/grant/NIH/R01-AG070897-01

DNA methylation, genetics, and modifiable risk factors of dementia in a nationally representative, multi-ethnic cohort. To identify modifiable risk factors for Alzheimer's disease and related dementias that influence DNA methylation and dementia status among groups at increased risk for dementia including women, minority groups, rural inhabitants, and those with low educational attainment. https://grantome.com/grant/NIH/R01-AG067592-01

Toxicant-stimulated disruption of gestational tissues with implications for adverse pregnancy outcomes. To assess toxicant-induced activation of oxidative stress and cytokine responses in placental villous explants and disrupted placental tissue function. To test toxicant-induced impairment of extraplacental membrane resistance to GBS infection mediated by oxidative stress. https://web.northeastern.edu/protect/

Michigan Alzheimer's Disease Research Center. To catalyze and perform research of the highest impact in Alzheimer's Disease and related dementias. Promote regional efforts to understand, diagnose and treat the spectrum of dementias through collaborative scientific and outreach efforts. Provide training and research opportunities for health care professionals, scientists and students in the dementias through innovative educational and mentoring programs. Collaborate with other ADRCs, the NACC, and other multi-center efforts to lead the field in developing new, exciting diagnostic and therapeutic interventions for these devastating diseases. https://alzheimers.med.umich.edu/

Dou JF, Middleton LYM, Zhu Y, Benke KS, Feinberg JI, Croen LA, Hertz-Picciotto I, Newschaffer CJ, LaSalle JM, Fallin MD, Schmidt RJ, Bakulski KM. 2022. Prenatal vitamin intake in first month of pregnancy and DNA methylation in cord blood and placenta in two prospective cohorts. Epigenetics and Chromatin. PMID: 35918756, PMCID: PMC9344645 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9344645/ 

Blostein FA, Fisher J, Dou J, Schenper L, Ware EB, Notterman DA, Mitchell C, Bakulski KM. 2022. Polymethylation scores for prenatal maternal smoke exposure persist until age 15 and are detected in saliva. Epigenetics. PMID: 35980258, PMCID: pending. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/35980258/ 

Bakulski KM, Dou JF, Feinberg JI, Aung MT, Ladd-Acosta C, Volk HE, Newschaffer CJ, Croen LA, Hertz-Picciotto, Levy SE, Landa R, Feinberg AP, Fallin MD. 2021. Autism-associated DNA methylation at birth from multiple tissues is enriched for autism genes in the Early Autism Risk Longitudinal Investigation (EARLI). Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience. PMID: 34899183, PMCID: PMC8655859 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc8655859/ 

Bakulski KM, Dou JF, Fisher J, Gard A, Schneper L, Notterman DA, Ware EB, Mitchell C. 2021. Particulate matter exposure in utero is associated with childhood saliva DNA methylation at ages 9 and 15: Applying cumulative DNA methylation scores as an exposure biomarker. Toxics. PMID: 34678958, PMCID: PMC8538839 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc8538839/ 

Middleton LYM, Dou JF, Fisher J, Heiss JA, Nguyen V, Just AC, Faul JD, Ware EB, Mitchell C, Colacino JA, Bakulski KM. 2021. Saliva cell type DNA methylation reference panel for epidemiology studies in children. Epigenetics. PMID: 33588693, PMCID: PMC8865319 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc8865319/ 

Bakulski KM, Vadari HS, Faul JD, Heeringa SG, Kardia SLR, Langa KM, Smith JA, Manly JJ, Mitchell CM, Benke KS, Ware EB. 2021. Cumulative genetic risk and APOE-E4 are independently associated with dementia status in a multi-ethnic, population-based cohort. Neurology Genetics. PMID: 33688582, PMCID: PMC7938646 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc7938646/ 

View full list of publications at Google Scholar or PubMed.

Email: bakulski@umich.edu

Office: (734) 615-5899

Address: M5511 SPH II
1415 Washington Heights
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

For media inquiries: sph.media@umich.edu