Dr. Reiter’s laboratory studies how preconceptional and in utero environmental exposures alter the epigenome of the offspring and affect their risk for disease later in life. Her laboratory studies a range of exposures in both human and animal models, including substance abuse (e.g., alcohol) and pesticides, such as atrazine and glyphosate. A key tissue of interest is the placenta, which not only acts as the maternal-fetal interface, but may also serve as a potential archive of environmentally-induced epigenetic changes that occurred during pregnancy. Current research is focused on the use of the placenta as a surrogate tissue for the brain and for identifying epigenetic markers for the early detection of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). Her laboratory also studies alcohol-induced epigenetic alteration of the brain as well as sperm, and the potential for epigenetic inheritance of these changes in offspring. These studies apply a broad range of molecular techniques to investigate epigenetic regulation of gene expression, including next-generation sequencing.
Dr. Reiter has also established the Pregnancy Environmental Exposures Study (PEES) biobank to provide a resource for scientists to study exposure levels of environmental contaminants in the urine of pregnant women and the potential risks that these exposures might have for their newborn babies. Her research group developed and maintains a HIPAA compliant REDCap database for storing patient information and clinical data from study subjects and their newborns. Together, the PEES biobank and the associated REDCap database provide an important resource for testing whether maternal exposure during pregnancy is associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as birth defects, fetal growth restriction, and shortened pregnancies.
Dr. Reiter received her B.A. degree in Biology from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN and her PhD in Molecular Genetics from Washington University in St. Louis. Her graduate work focused on the genomics of MYCN oncogene amplification in neuroblastoma tumors. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship in the Tumor Biology Program at the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN), she took her first faculty position in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at Yale University School of Medicine, where her research focused on epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) variants in placenta, as well as in breast and ovarian cancer. This work resulted in two issued patents on the use of soluble EGFR isoforms as cancer biomarkers. Dr. Reiter joined the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Indiana University in 2010, where she is presently the Director of the Perinatal Epigenetics Research Laboratory. Dr. Reiter is a member of the Indiana Alcohol Research Center and several profession associations, including the Society of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD), Society for Reproductive Investigation (SRI), American Association of Cancer Research (AACR), and the American Association of Cell Biology (ASCB). She also serves as a regular grant reviewer for the Department of Defense Medical Research Programs and the Breast Cancer Alliance (Greenwich, CT).