Genes and Biology

Identification of Molecular Signatures of Disease in Umbilical Cord Blood

Sallie Permar, MD, PhDJoanne Kurtzberg, MDKyle Walsh, PhD

Many common chronic diseases originate with exposures in the prenatal period.

Identify molecular signatures in cord blood that predict the development of disease in childhood/early adulthood.

We will link Carolinas Cord Blood Bank (CCBB) donors with their electronic health records in order to identify donors with different disease states. We will then use ‘omics approaches to identify molecular signatures associated with these disease states. 


  • Gain new insights into fetal origins of disease
  • Develop new early life diagnostics and therapeutics

Initial questions

  1. Do immune cell populations in cord blood predict development of asthma and/or allergy?
  2. Do cord blood molecular signatures of children with type 1 diabetes suggest potential therapeutic strategies?
  3. Do maternal infections or environmental exposures increase the risk of developing autism?

Estimated number of
affected CCBB donors

Childhood obesity 7310
Neurodevelopmental disorder 6450
Asthma 3612
Neonatal infection 430
Congenital heart disease 400
Childhood cancer 150
Type 1 diabetes 142


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