Digna Velez Edwards
Last active: 5/10/2018


My research is focused on understanding and identifying genetic risk factors for complex diseases with a specific focus on genetic factors related to women’s health and reproductive outcomes. My labs current research projects focus on examining genetic risk factors for adverse pregnancy outcomes in a large epidemiologic pregnancy cohort. For these studies I am working with Right from the Start: A Study of Early Pregnancy Health (RFTS). RFTS is an ongoing, community-based prospective cohort study with the goal of advancing knowledge about maternal and fetal health from conception to birth. Since 1999, RFTS has enrolled more than 6,000 women, 20% prior to conception, in order to study determinants of fecundability, miscarriage, spontaneous preterm birth, and other adverse pregnancy outcomes. Data have been carefully collected with regard to quality control and the data set has reached sufficient size to have good power to investigate additional important etiologic and clinically relevant questions. We are collecting DNA samples from past and current RFTS participants and their children to ask new questions regarding the etiology of pregnancy and its adverse outcomes. Current studies focus on testing for interactions between genes and maternal exposures during pregnancy. These studies include examining maternal nonsteroidal-anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) exposure during preconception and early pregnancy on risk for spontaneous abortion as well as studies examining environmental exposures, including bleeding and spotting during pregnancy, on risk for spontaneous preterm birth.


The following timeline graph is generated from all co-authored publications.

Featured publications are shown below:

  1. Genetic Determinants of Pelvic Organ Prolapse among African American and Hispanic Women in the Women's Health Initiative. Giri A, Wu JM, Ward RM, Hartmann KE, Park AJ, North KE, Graff M, Wallace RB, Bareh G, Qi L, O'Sullivan MJ, Reiner AP, Edwards TL, Velez Edwards DR (2015) PLoS One 10(11): e0141647
    › Primary publication · 26545240 (PubMed) · PMC4636147 (PubMed Central)
  2. The Relationship between Total Fibroid Burden and First Trimester Bleeding and Pain. Michels KA, Hartmann KE, Archer KR, Ye F, Edwards DR (2016) Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol 30(2): 115-23
    › Primary publication · 26525634 (PubMed) · PMC4749406 (PubMed Central)
  3. A genome-wide association study identifies variants in KCNIP4 associated with ACE inhibitor-induced cough. Mosley JD, Shaffer CM, Van Driest SL, Weeke PE, Wells QS, Karnes JH, Velez Edwards DR, Wei WQ, Teixeira PL, Bastarache L, Crawford DC, Li R, Manolio TA, Bottinger EP, McCarty CA, Linneman JG, Brilliant MH, Pacheco JA, Thompson W, Chisholm RL, Jarvik GP, Crosslin DR, Carrell DS, Baldwin E, Ralston J, Larson EB, Grafton J, Scrol A, Jouni H, Kullo IJ, Tromp G, Borthwick KM, Kuivaniemi H, Carey DJ, Ritchie MD, Bradford Y, Verma SS, Chute CG, Veluchamy A, Siddiqui MK, Palmer CN, Doney A, MahmoudPour SH, Maitland-van der Zee AH, Morris AD, Denny JC, Roden DM (2016) Pharmacogenomics J 16(3): 231-7
    › Primary publication · 26169577 (PubMed) · PMC4713364 (PubMed Central)
  4. Genome-Wide Association Study of Serum Creatinine Levels during Vancomycin Therapy. Van Driest SL, McGregor TL, Velez Edwards DR, Saville BR, Kitchner TE, Hebbring SJ, Brilliant M, Jouni H, Kullo IJ, Creech CB, Kannankeril PJ, Vear SI, Brothers KB, Bowton EA, Shaffer CM, Patel N, Delaney JT, Bradford Y, Wilson S, Olson LM, Crawford DC, Potts AL, Ho RH, Roden DM, Denny JC (2015) PLoS One 10(6): e0127791
    › Primary publication · 26030142 (PubMed) · PMC4452656 (PubMed Central)
  5. Meta-analysis of correlated traits via summary statistics from GWASs with an application in hypertension. Zhu X, Feng T, Tayo BO, Liang J, Young JH, Franceschini N, Smith JA, Yanek LR, Sun YV, Edwards TL, Chen W, Nalls M, Fox E, Sale M, Bottinger E, Rotimi C, COGENT BP Consortium, Liu Y, McKnight B, Liu K, Arnett DK, Chakravati A, Cooper RS, Redline S (2015) Am J Hum Genet 96(1): 21-36
    › Primary publication · 25500260 (PubMed) · PMC4289691 (PubMed Central)
  6. Enhancing uterine fibroid research through utilization of biorepositories linked to electronic medical record data. Feingold-Link L, Edwards TL, Jones S, Hartmann KE, Velez Edwards DR (2014) J Womens Health (Larchmt) 23(12): 1027-32
    › Primary publication · 25495367 (PubMed) · PMC4267124 (PubMed Central)
  7. Epiregulin (EREG) and human V-ATPase (TCIRG1): genetic variation, ethnicity and pulmonary tuberculosis susceptibility in Guinea-Bissau and The Gambia. White MJ, Tacconelli A, Chen JS, Wejse C, Hill PC, Gomes VF, Velez-Edwards DR, Østergaard LJ, Hu T, Moore JH, Novelli G, Scott WK, Williams SM, Sirugo G (2014) Genes Immun 15(6): 370-7
    › Primary publication · 24898387 (PubMed) · PMC5789787 (PubMed Central)
  8. First-trimester antihistamine exposure and risk of spontaneous abortion or preterm birth. Aldridge TD, Hartmann KE, Michels KA, Velez Edwards DR (2014) Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf 23(10): 1043-50
    › Primary publication · 24789281 (PubMed) · PMC4776748 (PubMed Central)
  9. Genetic epidemiology of pelvic organ prolapse: a systematic review. Ward RM, Velez Edwards DR, Edwards T, Giri A, Jerome RN, Wu JM (2014) Am J Obstet Gynecol 211(4): 326-35
    › Primary publication · 24721264 (PubMed) · PMC4213176 (PubMed Central)
  10. Racial differences in risk of spontaneous abortions associated with periconceptional over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug exposure. Velez Edwards DR, Hartmann KE (2014) Ann Epidemiol 24(2): 111-115.e1
    › Primary publication · 24331921 (PubMed) · PMC3946756 (PubMed Central)
  11. Uterine leiomyomata and cesarean birth risk: a prospective cohort with standardized imaging. Michels KA, Velez Edwards DR, Baird DD, Savitz DA, Hartmann KE (2014) Ann Epidemiol 24(2): 122-6
    › Primary publication · 24321612 (PubMed) · PMC3926444 (PubMed Central)
  12. Variants in BET1L and TNRC6B associate with increasing fibroid volume and fibroid type among European Americans. Edwards TL, Hartmann KE, Velez Edwards DR (2013) Hum Genet 132(12): 1361-9
    › Primary publication · 23892540 (PubMed) · PMC3830582 (PubMed Central)
  13. Association of age at menarche with increasing number of fibroids in a cohort of women who underwent standardized ultrasound assessment. Velez Edwards DR, Baird DD, Hartmann KE (2013) Am J Epidemiol 178(3): 426-33
    › Primary publication · 23817917 (PubMed) · PMC3727338 (PubMed Central)
  14. Parkinson disease loci in the mid-western Amish. Davis MF, Cummings AC, D'Aoust LN, Jiang L, Velez Edwards DR, Laux R, Reinhart-Mercer L, Fuzzell D, Scott WK, Pericak-Vance MA, Lee SL, Haines JL (2013) Hum Genet 132(11): 1213-21
    › Primary publication · 23793441 (PubMed) · PMC3797866 (PubMed Central)
  15. BET1L and TNRC6B associate with uterine fibroid risk among European Americans. Edwards TL, Michels KA, Hartmann KE, Velez Edwards DR (2013) Hum Genet 132(8): 943-53
    › Primary publication · 23604678 (PubMed) · PMC3715562 (PubMed Central)
  16. Risk of miscarriage among black women and white women in a U.S. Prospective Cohort Study. Mukherjee S, Velez Edwards DR, Baird DD, Savitz DA, Hartmann KE (2013) Am J Epidemiol 177(11): 1271-8
    › Primary publication · 23558353 (PubMed) · PMC3664339 (PubMed Central)
  17. Progestogens for preterm birth prevention: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Likis FE, Edwards DR, Andrews JC, Woodworth AL, Jerome RN, Fonnesbeck CJ, McKoy JN, Hartmann KE (2012) Obstet Gynecol 120(4): 897-907
    › Primary publication · 22955308 (PubMed)
  18. Periconceptional over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug exposure and risk for spontaneous abortion. Edwards DR, Aldridge T, Baird DD, Funk MJ, Savitz DA, Hartmann KE (2012) Obstet Gynecol 120(1): 113-22
    › Primary publication · 22914399 (PubMed) · PMC3427532 (PubMed Central)
  19. Genome-wide association and linkage study in the Amish detects a novel candidate late-onset Alzheimer disease gene. Cummings AC, Jiang L, Velez Edwards DR, McCauley JL, Laux R, McFarland LL, Fuzzell D, Knebusch C, Caywood L, Reinhart-Mercer L, Nations L, Gilbert JR, Konidari I, Tramontana M, Cuccaro ML, Scott WK, Pericak-Vance MA, Haines JL (2012) Ann Hum Genet 76(5): 342-51
    › Primary publication · 22881374 (PubMed) · PMC3419486 (PubMed Central)
  20. HTR1B, ADIPOR1, PPARGC1A, and CYP19A1 and obesity in a cohort of Caucasians and African Americans: an evaluation of gene-environment interactions and candidate genes. Edwards TL, Velez Edwards DR, Villegas R, Cohen SS, Buchowski MS, Fowke JH, Schlundt D, Long J, Long JR, Cai Q, Zheng W, Shu XO, Hargreaves MK, Smith J, Jeffrey S, Williams SM, Signorello LB, Blot WJ, Matthews CE (2012) Am J Epidemiol 175(1): 11-21
    › Primary publication · 22106445 (PubMed) · PMC3244609 (PubMed Central)
  21. First-trimester bleeding characteristics associate with increased risk of preterm birth: data from a prospective pregnancy cohort. Velez Edwards DR, Baird DD, Hasan R, Savitz DA, Hartmann KE (2012) Hum Reprod 27(1): 54-60
    › Primary publication · 22052384 (PubMed) · PMC3241603 (PubMed Central)
  22. Polymorphisms in maternal and fetal genes encoding for proteins involved in extracellular matrix metabolism alter the risk for small-for-gestational-age. Edwards DR, Romero R, Kusanovic JP, Hassan SS, Mazaki-Tovi S, Vaisbuch E, Kim CJ, Erez O, Chaiworapongsa T, Pearce BD, Bartlett J, Friel LA, Salisbury BA, Anant MK, Vovis GF, Lee MS, Gomez R, Behnke E, Oyarzun E, Tromp G, Menon R, Williams SM (2011) J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med 24(2): 362-80
    › Primary publication · 20617897 (PubMed) · PMC3104673 (PubMed Central)
  23. Maternal and fetal genetic associations of PTGER3 and PON1 with preterm birth. Ryckman KK, Morken NH, White MJ, Velez DR, Menon R, Fortunato SJ, Magnus P, Williams SM, Jacobsson B (2010) PLoS One 5(2): e9040
    › Primary publication · 20140262 (PubMed) · PMC2815792 (PubMed Central)
  24. Geographic ancestry and markers of preterm birth. Williams SM, Velez DR, Menon R (2010) Expert Rev Mol Diagn 10(1): 27-32
    › Primary publication · 20014920 (PubMed)
  25. CLCNKB-T481S and essential hypertension in a Ghanaian population. Sile S, Velez DR, Gillani NB, Narsia T, Moore JH, George AL, Vanoye CG, Williams SM (2009) J Hypertens 27(2): 298-304
    › Primary publication · 19226700 (PubMed) · PMC3845205 (PubMed Central)
  26. Exploring the performance of Multifactor Dimensionality Reduction in large scale SNP studies and in the presence of genetic heterogeneity among epistatic disease models. Edwards TL, Lewis K, Velez DR, Dudek S, Ritchie MD (2009) Hum Hered 67(3): 183-92
    › Primary publication · 19077437 (PubMed) · PMC3078287 (PubMed Central)
  27. Preterm birth in Caucasians is associated with coagulation and inflammation pathway gene variants. Velez DR, Fortunato SJ, Thorsen P, Lombardi SJ, Williams SM, Menon R (2008) PLoS One 3(9): e3283
    › Primary publication · 18818748 (PubMed) · PMC2553267 (PubMed Central)
  28. Racial disparity in maternal-fetal genetic epistasis in spontaneous preterm birth. Fortunato SJ, Menon R, Velez DR, Thorsen P, Williams SM (2008) Am J Obstet Gynecol 198(6): 666.e1-9; discussion 666.e9-10
    › Primary publication · 18538149 (PubMed)
  29. Patterns of cytokine profiles differ with pregnancy outcome and ethnicity. Velez DR, Fortunato SJ, Morgan N, Edwards TL, Lombardi SJ, Williams SM, Menon R (2008) Hum Reprod 23(8): 1902-9
    › Primary publication · 18487217 (PubMed) · PMC6457081 (PubMed Central)