Career Development

Dr. Margaret Kurzius-SpencerMargaret Kurzius-Spencer received her M.P.H. (1997) and Ph.D. (2012) in Epidemiology from the University of Arizona, Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, and is currently an Assistant Professor, in the Department of Pediatrics and College of Public Health.  Prior to receiving her doctorate, Dr. Kurzius-Spencer worked as a research specialist and research scientist with faculty in the Arizona Respiratory Center, including Stefano Guerra, M.D., Ph. D., Research Associate Professor of Medicine, Fernando Martinez, M. D., Regents’ Professor and Director of the BIO5 Institute, and Anne Wright, Ph.D., Professor of Pediatrics, on research on genetics and epidemiology of allergy, asthma and lung function, maternal prenatal biomarkers and infant eczema, and an assessment of pediatric asthma among Alaska Natives.  She has also worked closely with faculty in Environmental Health Sciences, including Jeff Burgess, M.D., M.S., M.P.H., Professor and Associate Dean of Research, and Mary Kay O’Rourke, Ph.D., Associate Professor, on environmental exposure to arsenic and biomarker effects, occupational exposures and lung and heart disease in firefighters, and biomarkers of tracheobronchial injury with smoke-inhalation in burn victims.

Since December 2012, Dr. Kurzius-Spencer has been working as an Assistant Professor (Research Scholar Track) in Genetics and Developmental Pediatrics in the UA Steele Children’s Research Center on the epidemiology of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and intellectual disability.  She is co-Principal Investigator on a Centers for Disease Control Autism and Developmental Disability Monitoring (ADDM) Network surveillance grant, responsible for tracking the prevalence of ASD among children in multiple sites across the U.S. In addition, she is collaborating on other research projects related to ASD and other developmental disabilities, including assessment of ASD and access to services among minorities and underserved populations. 

Because of her background in epidemiology of respiratory disease, genetic epidemiology and arsenic research, Dr. Kurzius-Spencer was invited to join the SWEHSC Environmental Lung Disease Research Focus Group (RFG-2).  As a new faculty member, she will be mentored through the Career Development Core of the SWEHSC. She is collaborating with several members of SWEHSC, including Drs. Burgess and O’Rourke, and Clark Lantz, Ph.D., Professor and Associate Head of Cell Biology and Anatomy and Deputy Directory of SWEHSC, who will provide core mentorship for developing a research program to model exposure, metabolic pathways and health biomarkers for arsenic and other toxic chemicals.

Recent Publications:

Kurzius-Spencer M, Guerra S, Sherrill DL, Halonen M, Elston RC, Martinez FD.  Familial aggregation of allergen-specific sensitization and asthma.  Pediatr Allergy Immunol 2012; 23:21-27 (Editor’s Choice Series, Feb 2012) (PMID: 22017397).

Kurzius-Spencer M.  2012.  Modeling the effects of dietary arsenic and nutrient intake on urinary arsenic biomarkers.  Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Arizona.  269 pp.

Burgess JL, Kurzius-Spencer M, O’Rourke MK, Littau SR, Roberge J, Meza-Montenegro MM, Gutierrez-Millan LE, Harris RB.  Environmental arsenic exposure and serum matrix metalloproteinase-9.  J Exp Sci and Environ Epidemiol 2013; 23:163-169 (PMID: 23232971).

Kurzius-Spencer M, O’Rourke MK, Hsu C-H, Hartz V, Harris RB, Burgess JL.  Measured versus modeled dietary arsenic and relation to urinary arsenic excretion and total exposure.  J Exp Sci and Environ Epidemiol 2013; 23:442-449 (PMID: 23321855). 

Burgess JL, Kurzius-Spencer M, Poplin GS, Littau SR, Kopplin MJ, Sturup S, Boitano S, Lantz RC.  Environmental arsenic exposure, selenium and sputum alpha-1 antitrypsin. J Exp Sci and Environ Epidemiol. 2014; 24(2):150-155. (PMID: 23838883).

Kurzius-Spencer M, Burgess JL, Harris RB, Hartz V, Roberge J, Huang S, Hsu C-H, O’Rourke MK.  Contribution of diet to aggregate arsenic exposures--An analysis across populations.  J Exp Sci and Environ Epidemiol 2014; 24(2):156-62 (PMID: 23860400).

Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network Surveillance Year 2010 Principal Investigators.  Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children Aged 8 Years—Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 Sites, United States, 2010.  MMWR 63(2):1-21 (PMID: 24670961).

Kurzius-Spencer M, Burgess JL, Hartz V, Roberge J, O’Rourke MK, Harris RB.  Dietary inorganic arsenic intake in the US and relation to serum matrix metalloproteinase-9 at different threshold concentrations of tap water arsenic.  J Exp Sci and Environ Epidemiol 2015, Jan 21. [Epub ahead of print] (PMID: 25605447).