Amanda Barks

Entering Class - 2015

Member of MSTP (MD/PhD) program


Undergraduate Institution and Major:

University of Michigan, B.S., Evolutionary Anthropology, 2012

Graduate Advisor:

Michael Georgieff, M.D., Department of Pediatrics, Center for Neurobehavioral Development

Thesis Committee Members:

Yasushi Nakagawa, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience (Chair)
Michael Georgieff, M.D., Department of Pediatrics, Center for Neurobehavioral Development
Lorene Lanier, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience
Timothy Hallstrom, M.D., Department of Pediatrics

Graduate Research:

I am interested broadly in understanding the developmental origins of health and disease. Specifically, I am studying this in the context of developmental iron deficiency (ID). When present during early life, ID negatively impacts neurodevelopment and subsequent behavioral outcomes. Importantly, early life iron repletion does not always correct the deficits associated with early life ID, and deficits can last into adulthood. I am interested in understanding the potential epigenetic mechanisms underlying these permanent neurodevelopmental deficits.

Graduate Publications:

  • Barks A, Hall AM, Tran PV, Georgieff MK. Iron as a model nutrient for understanding the nutritional origins of neuropsychiatric disease. Pediatr Res. 2018 Oct 16. doi: 10.1038/s41390-018-0204-8.
  • Barks A, Fretham SJB, Georgieff MK, Tran PV. Early-life neuronal-specific iron deficiency alters the adult mouse hippocampal transcriptome. J Nutr. 2018 Oct 1;148(10):1521-1528.

Undergraduate or Post-Bac Research:

During my undergraduate years, I worked on a clinical research study with a Pediatric Neurologist to determine whether amplitude-integrated EEG (aEEG) monitoring had an effect on the course of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) treatment for neonates with seizures or suspected seizures. I also worked in a lab that studied the epigenetics of perinatal lead (Pb) exposure in a mouse model, where I contributed to a project designed to determine the short- and long-term epigenetic, physiologic, and metabolic changes after perinatal Pb exposure.

What Got You Interested In Research?

Throughout my undergraduate years, I realized how many unknowns there still were in science and medicine, and how many interesting ways there were to find answers.


Michael Georgieff, M.D., Department of Pediatrics

Why Did You Choose MN??

It's not too far from home, it's a good school, and there were people here doing research in my field of interest.

Amanda Barks