Megan K Horton, PhD Email Megan Horton
- ASSISTANT PROFESSOR | Environmental Medicine & Public Health
Dr. Horton earned her doctoral degree in Environmental Health Sciences at Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University in 2009. During her doctoral training, she gained expertise in the development and use of biological markers to measure prenatal and early life exposures to environmental toxicants, focusing mainly on residential exposure to pesticides. Subsequently, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Sergievsky Center for the Epidemiologic Study of Neurologic Diseases. The focus of this postdoc was to explore the use of brain imaging (i.e., magnetic resonance imaging – MRI) to investigate the impact of prenatal exposure to pesticides and secondhand smoke on neuropsychological and behavioral function throughout childhood. Dr. Horton was awarded an NIH career transition award and accepted a position as an Assistant Professor of The Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Her research at Mount Sinai combines state-of-the-art environmental exposure assessment with structural and functional neuroimaging and behavioral phenotyping to understand how early life exposure to developmental neurotoxicants impacts typical brain development and leads to aberrant cognitive and behavioral outcomes in children. Recently, her research extends to investigate how environmental, social and occupational stressors impact later life health outcomes including PTSD and cognitive impairment.
Dr. Horton’s research is currently funded from grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the New York/New Jersey Educational Research Center (NY/NJERC) and the Honest Company. Dr. Horton’s research is highly collaborative and involves several ongoingstudies that are based in New York City, Italy, Mexico.
BA, Loyola University Chicago
MA, University of Nebraska at Omaha
MPH, Columbia University
PhD, Columbia Univeristy
Prenatal exposure to a mixture of endocrine disrupting compounds and child neurodevelopment
NIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00)
In a sister study to PROGRESS, the Programming of Intergenerational Stress Mechanisms (PRISM) study enrolls pregnant mothers in Boston and New York city and focuses on examining associations between maternal and lifetime psychosocial stress, environmental toxicant exposures and children’s health. Dr. Horton’s lab was recently funded to initiate a pilot study to collect structural and function MRI on 4 year old subjects. The aim of the pilot study is to examine associations between early life environmental exposures such as maternal stress and neuroimaging phenotypes.
Early life manganese exposure and the adolescent brain.
- The Public Health Impact of Manganese Exposure (PHIME) study consists of a well-characterized cohort of adolescents from three communities in Northern Italy that differ in the timing and intensity of environmental Mn exposure from current or historic ferromanganese alloy plant operations. Current research initiatives use biological and environmental monitoring to assess longitudinal exposure to manganese (and other metals) and examine associations with brain structure and function and adolescent health outcomes.
Health effects of welding fume exposure
- This ongoing pilot study is currently enrolling active welders from the New York City area (i.e., ironworkers, steelworkers, dockbuilders, etc) and uses PET/MRI to examine associations between welding fume exposure and cerebrovascular and cardiovascular health.
Cumulative lead exposure and risk for drug addiction
- This case-control pilot study is an ongoing investigation exploring how lifetime exposure to lead (Pb) impacts the risk for cocaine use. Embedded within the parent NARC study, a subset of CUD cases and controls participated in substudy using x-ray fluorescence to measure cumulative life exposure to lead in bones.
Neuroimaging in PROGRESS
- The Programming Research in Obesity, Growth, Environment and Social Stressors Study (PROGRESS) is collaboration between Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, University of Michigan and the National Institute of Public Health in Mexico City. The study consists of mother-dyad pairs enrolled during pregnancy and followed through early adolescence. PROGRESS uses state of the art methods in social science, exposure science, epidemiology and toxicology to assess trans disciplinary risk factors impacting neurodevelopment. Dr. Horton recently completed a pilot study to collect structural and functional MRI data from 20 PROGRESS subjects at the Center for Medical Imaging and Instrumentation (Ci3M). Ongoing work examines associations between early life exposures, structural and functional neuroimaging phenotypes and child behavior, emotional regulation, and cognition.
Pérez JJ, Williams MK, Weerasekera G, Smith K, Whyatt RM, Needham LL, Barr DB. Measurement of pyrethroid, organophosphorus, and carbamate insecticides in human plasma using isotope dilution gas chromatography-high resolution mass spectrometry. Journal of chromatography. B, Analytical technologies in the biomedical and life sciences 2010 Oct; 878(27).
Horton MK, Rundle A, Camann DE, Boyd Barr D, Rauh VA, Whyatt RM. Impact of prenatal exposure to piperonyl butoxide and permethrin on 36-month neurodevelopment. Pediatrics 2011 Mar; 127(3).
Horton MK, Jacobson JB, McKelvey W, Holmes D, Fincher B, Quantano A, Diaz BP, Shabbazz F, Shepard P, Rundle A, Whyatt RM. Characterization of residential pest control products used in inner city communities in New York City. Journal of exposure science & environmental epidemiology 2011 May-Jun; 21(3).
Rauh V, Arunajadai S, Horton M, Perera F, Hoepner L, Barr DB, Whyatt R. Seven-year neurodevelopmental scores and prenatal exposure to chlorpyrifos, a common agricultural pesticide. Environmental health perspectives 2011 Aug; 119(8).
Rauh VA, Perera FP, Horton MK, Whyatt RM, Bansal R, Hao X, Liu J, Barr DB, Slotkin TA, Peterson BS. Brain anomalies in children exposed prenatally to a common organophosphate pesticide. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2012 May; 109(20).
Liu B, Jung KH, Horton MK, Camann DE, Liu X, Reardon AM, Perzanowski MS, Zhang H, Perera FP, Whyatt RM, Miller RL. Prenatal exposure to pesticide ingredient piperonyl butoxide and childhood cough in an urban cohort. Environment international 2012 Nov; 48.
Horton MK, Margolis AE, Tang C, Wright R. Neuroimaging is a novel tool to understand the impact of environmental chemicals on neurodevelopment. Current opinion in pediatrics 2014 Apr; 26(2).
Rauh VA, Garcia WE, Whyatt RM, Horton MK, Barr DB, Louis ED. Prenatal Exposure to the Organophosphate Pesticide Chlorpyrifos and Childhood Tremor. Neurotoxicology 2015 Sep;.
Horton MK, Blount BC, Valentin-Blasini L, Wapner R, Whyatt R, Gennings C, Factor-Litvak P. CO-occurring exposure to perchlorate, nitrate and thiocyanate alters thyroid function in healthy pregnant women. Environmental research 2015 Sep; 143(Pt A).
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Dr.Horton did not report having any of the following types of financial relationships with industry during 2017 and/or 2018: consulting, scientific advisory board, industry-sponsored lectures, service on Board of Directors, participation on industry-sponsored committees, equity ownership valued at greater than 5% of a publicly traded company or any value in a privately held company. Please note that this information may differ from information posted on corporate sites due to timing or classification differences.
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