the Urban lab is Uncovering the environmental Sources of Postpartum depression. Students have the opportunity to help them analyze their data and predict the susceptibility of postpartum depression in women with attachment insecurity.


  • Early onset Postpartum Depression affects up to 80% of all women after giving birth, but can develop into a deeper lasting depression in 20% of women.

  • Symptoms of the Early Onset Postpartum Depression include sadness, anxiety, tearfulness, and trouble sleeping.

  • The deeper and more lasting Postpartum Depression can leave mothers unable to take care of their children and accomplish daily activities for months or even years.

The Project

The purpose of the project is to look for a pattern of epigenetic modifications that correlate with attachment insecurity in pregnant women, to see whether this can be used to predict susceptibility to postpartum depression.

This is a translational research project that is intended to discover epigenetic markers of attachment insecurity and assess their possible relationship to risk for postpartum depression. 

Students working on this project will be taught how to process and annotate DNA sequence data from pregnant women through a bioinformatic pipeline. They will then statistically regress the women's score on an attachment security screening test against their sequence data to identify candidate genes for postpartum depression.

technical skills

We are looking for students with a background or willingness to learn:

  • Statistical testing in R, Python or Matlab

  • The Bismark bioinformatic pipeline (teaching will be provided)