Ginny Nuckols

Ginny Nuckols, PhD student, health and human physiology

Protects brain health after preeclampsia

“Ms. Nuckols is simply outstanding and has published 3 peer-reviewed articles in high impact journals…She is the consummate team player in the lab, an excellent mentor and role model to undergraduate and graduate students, and a joy to work with.” -Gary Pierce, professor, health and human physiology

Hometown: Owings Mills, Maryland

Faculty mentor/advisor: Gary Pierce, PhD, professor and departmental executive officer, health and human physiology

What is your degree program and expected graduate date? PhD in health and human physiology with expected graduation in spring 2023.

Please describe your research: My research investigates the long-term impact of preeclampsia, a cardiovascular complication of pregnancy, on maternal health. Specifically, my research is focused on how maternal cardiovascular health relates to brain health in women with a recent history of preeclampsia, using magnetic resonance imaging to measure brain blood flow and structure.

In simple terms, why does this research matter? Preeclampsia effects 4-6% of pregnancies and this number is continuing to rise, as there are no established methods to predict or prevent preeclampsia before it develops. Nevertheless, women who have had preeclampsia are at a greater risk for early cardiovascular disease and cognitive aging later in life. By understanding the mechanisms that underlie early cognitive aging after preeclampsia, we can identify ways to improve health in affected mothers.

How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? Immediately on starting in the health and human physiology graduate program

How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? My involvement in research has allowed me to develop as a scientist, approach research ideas creatively, and collaborate across a wide range of disciplines.

What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? I plan to continue research with a primary focus on women’s cardiovascular health.

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