Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Boland Lab

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My name is Mary Regina Boland. I am a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Informatics in the Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. I am also a Senior Fellow in the Institute for Biomedical Informatics and an Affiliate Member of the Center for Excellence in Environmental Toxicology at University of Pennsylvania. I am also an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical and Health informatics (DBHi) at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and a senior fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. I lead the Fertility and Health Informatics Lab at the University of Pennsylvania. I am also a Fellow of the American Medical Informatics Association (FAMIA). I have published over 70 peer-reviewed publications in journals and respected informatics conferences, including 50 as either first or senior-author!!! I am also senior-author on one book chapter! Recently, I was an Associate Editor of a special issue at JAMIA on sex and gender-related health, see our editorial here!!!

Research Summary

I have performed paradigm-changing research demonstrating the utility of electronic health records for integrating clinical phenotypes with environmental exposures using information routinely collected during clinical care. My pioneering work launched a new branch of informatics research that integrates exposures, including seasonal exposures, into EHR phenotyping algorithms.

On the informatics-side, my work focuses on developing novel and interesting data mining methods that integrate data from electronic health records, observational health data and genetic data. On the clinical side, my work focuses on the relationship between environment and disease, especially during the prenatal / perinatal period. Because developmental effects due to the environment can be hard to study in adult populations, I use birth-related data (such as birth month) as a proxy for the environment at birth (perinatal) and prior to birth (prenatal). I have a combined 17 years of experience!  This includes 4 years in the Pittsburgh Metropolitan area, 7 in New York City Metropolitan Area (Columbia University) and 6 so far in the Philadelphia Metropolitan area (UPenn).

Recent News

We will present our work at the AMIA Informatics Summit (March 16, 2023) on PFAS, full paper here

Other News


PhD Biomedical Informatics, 2017 Columbia University, 2013-2017

Doctoral Thesis: Systems-Level Approach to Understand the Seasonal Factors of Early Development with Clinical and Pharmacological Applications

MPhil Biomedical Informatics, 2016 Columbia University

MA Biomedical Informatics, 2012 Columbia University, 2010-2012

Masters Thesis: Associating Periodontal Diseases with Medical Conditions by Linking Medical and Dental Records

BS Bioinformatics, 2010 Saint Vincent College, 2006-2010

Undergraduate Thesis: Functional Annotation of Putatively Conserved Non-Coding Regions in B. Floridae

Minors: Computer Science, History

Research in Media

Delaware Valley experts, residents call ‘forever chemical’ health screening recommendations a 'bold step' by Zoe Read August 07, 2022

Raising The Stakes To Advance Equity In Black Maternal Health by Michele Cohen Marill March, 2022

Increased Risk of Stillbirth for Pregnant Women With Sickle Cell Trait by Kenny Walter November 24, 2021

Living in majority-Black neighborhoods in Philly linked to increased maternal health issues, Penn Medicine study finds by Sojourner Ahebee April 16, 2021

Penn Medicine researchers create app to locate toxic water caused by fracking by Grace Brazunas October 13, 2020

How our ‘birth environment’ can influence our health by Penn Today Staff Writer February 18, 2020

A Dog's Birth Month May Predict Its Cardiovascular Health by Stanley Coren May 23, 2018

Link Between Birth Month and Canine Heart Disease Risk by Kerry Lengyel May 22, 2018

Penn study: Summer puppies more prone to heart disease by Stacey Burling May 21, 2018

How a dog's birth month impacts its health by Joseph Pinkstone May 18, 2018

How the Seasons Affect Our Health by Alexandra Thompson Nov. 15, 2017

Safe While Pregnant? A Machine-Learning Algorithm Helps Demystify "Class C" Drugs Oct., 2017

How Having a Spring Birthday Could Affect Your Health by Amanda Gardner Mar. 3, 2017

What Your Birth Month Can Tell You About Your Health Risks by Susannah Bradley Jan. 31, 2017

What's the Healthiest Month to Be Born In? by Anna Miller Aug. 31, 2016

The Shocking Things Your Birthday Says About Your Health by Elizabeth Narins Jun. 10, 2015

Scientists have discovered how the month you’re born matters for your health by Ana Swanson Jun.15, 2015