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The UNC Center for Women’s Health Research is delighted to share the award winners from our inaugural Women’s Health Research Poster Presentation & Awards Program.

The UNC Center for Women’s Health Research launched this research poster presentation program to stimulate and showcase research being done by undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, residents, faculty members, and staff of UNC and to encourage networking and multidisciplinary collaborations to promote the essential work being done in alignment with our mission: Learning about diseases, disorders, and conditions that uniquely affect women, predominantly affect women, and affect women differently than men.

Unfortunately, we were unable to hold a physical poster presentation this year but all posters can be viewed online and we are extremely grateful for the enthusiasm and hard work demonstrated by those who submitted as well as the effort of our awards jury!

Best Poster by an Undergraduate Student

Esther Son, Peritraumatic Circulating 17β-Estradiol as a Resiliency Factor for Chronic Pain Outcomes in Women Following Trauma

“Our work is significant because it indicates that in women, estrogen levels at the time of a traumatic event predicts their risk of developing chronic pain. The implications of this finding are numerous, but the most substantial implication is that treatment with estrogen in the early aftermath of trauma might prevent the development of long term pain outcomes in women. However, additional research is necessary to test this possibility.”

Click here to view the poster

Best Poster by a Graduate Student, Fellow, or Resident

Katie Hirsch, PhD, EP-C, CISSN, Metabolic Effects of High Intensity Interval Training and Essential Amino Acid Supplementation: Modulatory Effects of Sex

“This study provides important evidence that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is an effective form of exercise for improving fitness and metabolism in both men and women. There are known differences in metabolism between men and women during and after exercise, which can lead to differences in exercise related outcomes. For example, in response to moderate intensity exercise, men often show greater fat loss compared to women, while fat gain is sometimes observed in women. HIIT appears to overcome these sex related differences, leading to more positive exercise responses, especially for women. This study also shows that the addition of an essential amino acid (EAA) supplement (similar to a protein supplement) can have positive metabolic benefits as well, increasing metabolic rate and fat burning. Both HIIT and EAA are easy to incorporate into everyday life, requiring minimal time and lifestyles changes. HIIT can also be adapted to meet any exercise preference, ability, or fitness level, making it a great option for anyone looking to improve health.”

Click here to view the poster

Best Poster by Faculty or Staff

Sydney E. Browder, BS, Females Undertreated for Vascular Disease by Vascular Quality Initiative Analysis

“When it comes to some of the major cardiovascular diseases, it is often said that females tend to have atypical symptoms and present later, when compared to men. Based on our research, it is apparent that these ‘atypical’ symptoms are impacting the rate at which women are diagnosed and treated for abdominal aortic aneurysms, carotid stenosis, and peripheral arterial disease. For men, some of these symptoms may be considered atypical, but for women, better diagnostic guidelines could potentially save their life. More women-specific health research is imperative to broaden our knowledge of sex-specific disease presentation and management.”

Click here to view the poster

Poster that Best Demonstrates the Importance of Sex as a Biological Variable

Margeaux Wetendorf, PhD, E-Cigarette Exposure Delays Pregnancy and Causes Long-Term Metabolic Effects in Female Offspring

“Currently in our nation today, 20% of high school students use e-cigarettes. This is especially troubling considering the number of reproductive-aged women using these devices. Presently, little information is known how e-cigarettes may affect pregnancy. My research provides a cautionary tale to women using e-cigarettes while pregnant or trying to become pregnant. We have concluded that e-cigarette use may impair the start of pregnancy and can have a lasting and long-term impact on the health of the child. Our studies show that an e-cigarette exposed fetus can have metabolic defects lasting to adulthood. Additionally, while our studies did not include e-cigarette flavors, we expect the addition of flavors to have a worsened impact on pregnancy outcome. Thus, our research is ongoing. As we understand this research is of high importance to women and future children in our community, we desire to provide a word of caution in the usage and supposed safety of e-cigarettes while pregnant.”

Click here to view the poster