Cassie Spracklen

B.A. | M.S. | Ph.D.

Dr. Spracklen received her B.A. in Biology from Anderson University in 2009. She received both her M.S. and PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Iowa in 2011 and 2014, respectively. During her PhD, Dr. Spracklen’s research centered around reproductive and perinatal epidemiology with a focus on adverse pregnancy outcomes and lifecourse epidemiology. Dr. Spracklen’s dissertation, guided by Drs. Audrey Saftlas and Kelli Ryckman, was entitled “Dyslipidemia and the risk of preeclampsia: genetic causes and related modifiers”, and capitalized on data available from an NIH-funded case-control study called the Study of Pregnancy-induced Hypertension in Iowa (SOPHIA).

After completing her dissertation, Dr. Spracklen completed a five-year postdoctoral research fellowship in Genetic Epidemiology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill with Dr. Karen Mohlke.  At UNC, her research interests focused around understanding the genetic architecture of complex cardio-metabolic traits (e.g. lipids, adiponectin, T2D), particularly among non-European ancestry populations. Her work was conducted in both single cohort studies (MESTIM, CHNS, CLHNS) and very large meta-analyses as a part of international consortia efforts.

Dr. Spracklen joined the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst as an Assistant Professor in 2019.

Outside the office, you will find Dr. Spracklen walking or jogging (slowly!) on the Norwich Trail or hiking in one of the nearby state parks with her husband and young daughter. You can also find her buying fabric for her next quilt project, touring wineries, or traveling around the world!

Current Group Members

Chi Zhao

PhD Epidemiology Student (2021-)

Research Projects: Trans-ethnic meta-analysis and fine-mapping analyses (GIANT consortium); identifying mechanisms influencing T2D risk (collaboration with Stitzel/Ucar groups at JAX); lipid GWAS and fine-mapping in the CHNS

PhD Thesis: To be determined

Lichen Hao

PhD Epidemiology Student (2021-)

PhD Thesis: Type 2 diabetes management in long-term care facilities: management, risk factors for hospitalization, and the impact of COVID

Christian Daniele

4+1 MS in Epidemiology Student (2021- )

Research Project: Associations between a women’s birth weight and gestational age and her longterm reproductive health and pregnancy outcomes

Vishal Kumar Sarsani

PhD in Statistics Student (2021- )

Research Project: Trans-ethnic meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies of adiponectin and the effect of adiponectin on cardiometabolic traits

Spencer Friedman

Undergraduate informatics, Biochemistry Student (2022-)

Research Project: To be determined

Former Group Members

Caitlin Fields

MPH in Epidemiology Student (2021-2022)

MPH Project: The effect of the microbiome on rheumatoid arthritis risk: literature review and steps for the future

Isabella “Izzy” Gleckman

4+1 MPH in Epidemiology Student (2019-2020)

MPH Project: Patterns of smoking cessation and risk of low birth weight

Aaron Holman-Vittone

MS in Epidemiology Student (2021-2022)

MS Thesis: Preterm birth and subsequent risk of type 2 diabetes among postmenopausal women in the Women’s Health Initiative

Savannah Kangas

MPH in Epidemiology Student (2021-2022)

MPH Project: Incidence of congenital heart defects in offspring born to women with type 2 diabetes

Brian Monahan


MS Thesis: Birthweight and Subsequent Risk of Autoimmune and Thyroid Conditions in the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) 

Monahan B, et al. Birthweight and subsequent risk for thyroid and autoimmune conditions in postmenopausal women. J Dev Orig Health Dis. 2022;13(4):463.

Nora Salo


MPH Project: Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Association Between Maternal Depression during Pregnancy and Preterm Birth Risk among Women in the United States

Christina Ziogas

Undergraduate Public Health STUDENT (2019-2021)

Project: Validation of Maternal Recall and Birth Certificate Data of Events in Labor and Delivery with Medical Records in the Iowa Health in Pregnancy Study (IHIPS)

Ziogas C, et al. Validation of birth certificate and maternal recall of evens in labor and delivery with medical records in the Iowa Health in Pregnancy Study. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2022;22(1):232.