Through her leadership and the extraordinary teamwork at the Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center, Dr. Andres has driven novel lines of investigation enhancing understanding of the effects of maternal excessive weight on offspring metabolism and the impact of early infant feeding on children’s growth and development by leveraging an existing longitudinal cohort (Beginnings, a comprehensive study of the impact of early infant feeding on infant outcomes), designing and implementing a new longitudinal cohort (Glowing, a unique study of the role of maternal body composition during the first weeks of gestation on offspring metabolism), and a randomized controlled trial (Expecting, evaluating potential exercise intervention strategies during pregnancy in sedentary women with excessive weight). These outstanding collaborative scientific teams provide unique and significant contributions to frame future guidance for infant feeding and child health. Dr. Andres is currently funded by the USDA-ARS and NIH (NIDDK, NIEHS, NIDA, and NICHD). When not working, she enjoys time outside with her family and friends, hiking, reading, yoga, meditation, and traveling.
- Doctorate: University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois — Nutritional Sciences
- Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center, Little Rock, Arkansas
- University of Central Arkansas, Conway, Arkansas — Registered Dietician
- Master’s Degree, Nutrition, Ecole Supérieure d’Agriculture de Purpan, Toulouse, France
- Bachelor’s Degree, Agriculture, Ecole Supérieure d’Agriculture de Purpan, Toulouse, France
Our research program is dedicated to examining the effects of prenatal and postnatal nutrition on anthropometrics, body composition, metabolism and physical activity of infants and children. Maternal health, body composition and nutrition are all important factors that can influence fetal and neonatal development during a very critical period, the first 1000 days of life, which include prenatal and postnatal periods, yet our understanding on how these factors shape the future child’s health and metabolism is not yet understood. Another major focus of our team is on how early infant nutrition influences growth and body composition which may have short and long-term consequences to a child’s health. We focus on the components of human milk and the characteristics of infant formulas that support optimal growth, health and development. To tackle these complex questions we partner with research groups at ACNC and other institutions using multi-disciplinary approaches.
Grants and Contracts — Extramural Active
Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center — a USDA Agriculture Research Service-funded Human Nutrition Research Centers Program
USDA ARS 6026-51000-012-06S
Principal Investigator: Ferruzzi (PI)
Date Range: 2019–2024
Abstract: This Center Grant uses animal models and clinical studies to determine the effects of early diet and nutritional status on child growth, development and disease prevention.
Role: Project leader and investigator
Growth and metabolic programming from prenatal PFAS exposure: examining the roles of placental functional genomics and protection by maternal exercise
NIH R01 ES032176
Principal Investigators: Andres, Everson, Pearson (mPIs)
Date Range: 2021–2023
Goal: To determine the role of prenatal PFAS exposure on growth and metabolic programming.
Role: Principal Investigator
Phenotypic and metabolic characteristics in early childhood leading to obesity
NIH R01 DK107516-01
Principal Investigators: Andres, Borsheim
Date Range: no cost extension 2023
Goal: To determine energy intake, total energy expenditure rates, fatty acid oxidation rates, and fat mass accretion and distribution of infants and children born to normal weight and obese mothers, during the first two years of life while controlling for important confounding factors.
Role: Principal investigator
Arkansas ECHO ISPCTN Site (AREIS)
NIH UG1 0D024945
Principal Investigators: Perry, Darden
Date Range: 2021–2025
Goal: Increase the enrollment of rural children in clinical trials in ECHO focus areas and increase clinical trial competencies among faculty and staff affiliated with AREIS and continued development of strong partnerships with other ISPCTN sites to enhance the success of future research collaborations in ECHO priority areas.
1/6 HBCD Prenatal Experience and Longitudinal Development (PRELUDE) Consortium
NIH U01 DA055352
Principal Investigators: Ou, Acheson, McKelvey (mPIs)
Date Range: 2021–2025
Goals: The consortium consists of six collaborative centers with complementary expertise that will characterize typical trajectories of brain development from birth through childhood, measuring the influence of key biologic and environmental factors and their interactions on child social, cognitive, and emotional development.
Effects of Maternal Obesity and Inflammation on Offspring Brain Development
NIH R01 HD099099
Principal Investigator: Ou
Date Range: 2019–2024
Goal: We will study the effects of maternal obesity and systemic inflammation during pregnancy on offspring brain structural and functional development as well as neurodevelopmental outcomes
Growth and Adiposity in Newborns: The Influence of Prenatal DHA Supplementation
NIH R01 DK118220
Principal Investigator: Hull (PI)
Date Range: 2018–2023
Goal: We will study the role prenatal DHA supplementation plays on offspring fat accretion and adipose distribution in early life.
- Antenatal factors impacting obesity and metabolism in children. This project investigates mechanisms of maternal obesity-induced fetal programming in prospective, longitudinal studies (including during the pre-conception period). Andres, A (Project Leader)
- Postnatal factors impacting healthy development. This project investigates the effects of early diet in human and animal models on organ development and function. Ferruzzi, M (Project Leader). Role: Investigator
- Pediatric Physical Activity: Mechanisms Impacting Health and Development. This project investigates the effect of physical activity, fitness levels and protein requirements on health and development in children. Børsheim, E (Project Leader). Role: Investigator
Pending Grants & Projects
Lifestyle Factors Impacting Offspring Obesity Risk
Grant ID: NIH UG3/UH3
Principal Investigators: Andres, McElfish
Date Range: 2024-2031
Goal: To determine the role of maternal and child nutrition and 24-hour movement behaviors in mitigating obesity risk
Role: Principal investigator
Effects of Maternal Depression and Exercise on Intervention during Pregnancy on Offspring Brain Development: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Grant ID: NIH UG1 0D024945
Principal Investigators: Ou, Coker, Borsheim (mPIs)
Date Range: July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2027
Goal: To determine the role of exercise in mitigating the effect of depression on offspring brain development.
The Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center is working to better understand how nutrition and physical activity change the health of mothers and children. That’s where we need your help. We are inviting volunteers from central Arkansas to participate in clinical research studies. These research studies evaluate the impact of nutrition, exercise and other lifestyle behaviors in pregnant women, children and infants.