Nelson Pace
Nelson Pace, Ph.D., S.M.
Scientist
Health Sciences
Oakland

Dr. Pace has 8 years of experience in the design, implementation, and analysis of epidemiologic studies. His expertise is at the crossroad of reproductive health, nutrition, and causal inference. Dr. Pace has conducted epidemiologic research on a wide breadth of topics, including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, environmental health, pharmaceuticals, nutrition, and psychiatric health. His doctoral research focused on reproductive, perinatal, and pediatric health, including topics ranging from the effect of air pollution on preterm birth to the effect of dietary antioxidants on birth defects. His master’s degree research concentration was neuro-psychiatric epidemiology.

Prior to joining Exponent, Dr. Pace was a statistician and epidemiologist for the state of North Carolina’s Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention, where he led state-wide studies assessing the risk of mortality among infants born with heart defects. Dr. Pace also held appointments at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where he studied the effects of industrial pollutants on birth outcomes; and the University of North Carolina Biostatistics Collaborative Studies Coordinating Center, where he built predictive models to assess adherence to dietary guidelines.

Dr. Pace’s areas of expertise and interest include the following:

  • Epidemiology and biostatistics, including study design and analysis
  • Pediatric and perinatal health, including birth defects and exposures during pregnancy and early life
  • Nutrition epidemiology and dietary assessment methods
  • Data mining and prediction models, including classification and regression trees, neural networks, random forests, cluster analysis, and principal components analysis
  • Statistical programming, including SAS, R, Stata, MPlus, and JMP
  • Causal inference models
  • Survey design and implementation
  • Meta-analysis and systematic review
  • Consumer products safety
  • Health risk analysis.

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Epidemiology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2017
  • S.M., Epidemiology, Harvard University, 2013
  • B.S., Statistics, Brigham Young University, 2011
  • Marie W. Taubeneck Award (2017), Teratology Society

    Chancellor’s Fellow, Royster Society of Fellows, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (5 year fellowship providing full tuition scholarship and stipend), 2013–2017

    Data Visualization Showcase and Contest, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: First Place, 2017

    Future Faculty Fellow, Center for Faculty Excellence, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2016

    Gillings Poster Award (awarded to one student poster annually selection based on the strong potential for public health impact as well as scientific and methodologic rigor), Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2016

    Reproductive, Perinatal, and Pediatric Epidemiology Training Grantee, a National Research Service Award funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 2014–2015

    Presidential Scholar (2-year full tuition scholarship), Harvard University, 2011–2013

    Brigham Young Scholarship (full tuition, year-long scholarship), Brigham Young University, 2008–2011

    Eagle Scout, Boy Scouts of America, 2005

    Frank Porter Graham Graduate and Professional Student Honor Society

    Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society

    Mu Sigma Rho National Statistics Honor Society

LICENSES & CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Open Water Diver

College Reading and Learning Association certified tutor

LANGUAGES

  • Spanish

Publications

Pace ND, Desrosiers TA, Carmichael SL, Shaw GM, Olshan AF, Siega-Riz AM. Antioxidant consumption is associated with decreased odds of congenital limb deficiencies. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology; in press.

Merrill RM, Pace ND, Elison AN. Cutaneous malignant melanoma among white Hispanics and non-Hispanics in the United States. Ethn Dis. 2010 Autumn; 20(4):353-8.

Published Abstracts

Pace, ND. Perinatal Mortality in the Context of Spina Bifida. Birth Defects Research 109:640 (S39). 2017.

Pace ND, Siega-Riz AM, Olshan AF, Chescheir NC, Cole SR, Desrosier TA, Tinker SC, Hoyt AT, Canfield MA, Carmichael SL, Meyer RE, TheNational Birth Defects Prevention Study. Survival of Infants with Spina Bifida and the Role of Maternal Pre-pregnancy Body Mass Index. Birth Defects Research 109:679 (P21). 2017.

Pace ND, Meyer RE, Enright D, Forestieri NE, Knight J, Oster ME. First-Year Survival of Infants with Congenital Heart Defects and the Influence of Socioeconomic and Demographic Factors. Teratology Society Annual Meeting 2017 (LB1).

Pace, ND. Where we’ve come from: a historical review of infant survival of spina bifida. Teratology Society Annual Meeting 2016. San Antonio, TX. Jun 25-29 2016.

Pace ND, Luben TJ, Meyer RE. Proximity of maternal residence to pulp mills and the risk of preterm birth. March of Dimes: Prematurity Prevention Conference. Arlington, VA. Nov 18 2015.

Pace ND, Siega-Riz AM, Carmichael SL, Shaw GM, Desrosiers TA, Olshan AF. Antioxidant consumption is associated with decreased odds of congenital limb deficiencies. 2015 National Birth Defects Prevention Network Annual Meeting. Arlington, VA. Oct 20 2015

Tomar N, Jensen TM, Pace ND. Occupations as vehicle for social change: Assessment of a multi-faceted intervention to reduce stigma towards mental illness. Society for the Study of Occupation: USA. Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Oct. 1-3 2015.

Pace ND, Siega-Riz AM, Carmichael SL, Shaw GM, Desrosiers TA, Olshan AF. Antioxidant consumption is associated with decreased odds of congenital limb deficiencies. Teratology Society Annual Meeting 2015. Montreal, Quebec. Jun 30 2015.

Pace ND, Luben TJ, Meyer RE. Proximity of maternal residence to pulp mills and the risk of preterm birth. Society for Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiologic Research Conference 2015. Denver, CO. Jun 15 2015.

Reports and Other Publications

Pace, ND. Survival of infant with spina bifida during the first year of life. Doctoral Dissertation. Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, December 2016.

Tomar N, Jensen TM, Pace ND. Stigma Free Carolina 2014 Report. August 17, 2015. http://stigmafree.unc.edu/stigma-free-carolina-2014-report/.

Pace ND, Luben TJ, Meyer RE. Proximity of maternal residence to pulp mills and the risk of preterm birth [Poster]. March of Dimes: Prematurity Prevention Conference. Arlington, VA, November 18, 2015.

Tomar N, Jensen TM, Pace ND, Markiewitz. Stigma Free Carolina 2015 Report. Jul 28 2016. http://stigmafree.unc.edu/stigma-free-carolina-2015-report/.

Pace ND. De la isla a la tierra firme: como llegar hasta el fin [Spanish]. Mezcla. Fall 2016. 12-13. https://issuu.com/allyjlevine_/docs/onlinemezcla-fall2016/.

Pace ND. Interpregnancy interval, education, and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Master’s Thesis. Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard University. May 2013.

Presentations


Pace ND. Perinatal mortality in the context of spina bifida. Teratology Society Annual Meeting 2017, Denver, CO, June 27, 2017.

Pace ND. First-year survival of congenital heart defects in North Carolina. North Carolina Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention, Chapel Hill, NC, April 26, 2017

Pace ND. First-year survival of congenital heart defects in North Carolina. Academic Research Conference, UNC-Chapel Hill, April 6, 2017

Pace ND. Pre-pregnancy Body Mass Index and Survival among Infants Born with Spina Bifida. Real-World Evidence, QuintilesIMS. Durham, NC. Feb 13 2017.

Pace ND. Lives at risk: an examination of survival patterns among infants born with spina bifida. Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine. Houston, TX. Jan 9 2017.

Pace ND. Does Prepregnancy BMI affect Infant Mortality? An Analysis of Infants Born with Spina Bifida. Reproductive, Perinatal and Pediatric Epidemiology Seminar Series. Chapel Hill, NC. Dec 12 2016.

Pace ND. Survival of Infant with Spina Bifida during the First Year of Life. Dissertation Defense, Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health. Chapel Hill, NC. Dec 5 2016.

Pace ND. Prevention Research In the context of Birth Defects. Future Faculty Fellowship presentation, The Graduate School, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Chapel Hill, NC. Nov 16 2016.

Pace ND. First-year survival of Infants with Spina Bifida. Royster Research Seminar, Royster Society of Fellows, The Graduate School, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Chapel Hill, NC. Nov 4 2017

Pace ND. Final Report: Stigma Free Carolina 2015,” with Todd Jensen and Nathan Markiewitz. Stigma Free Carolina Stakeholder Meeting 2016. Chapel Hill, NC. Jul 28 2016.

Pace ND. Maternal dieting behaviors and the risk of stillbirth. Epidemiologic Research Methods (EPID 726). Chapel Hill, NC. Apr 23 2015.

Pace ND. Fighting Tooth Decay by Vaccination. Vaccine Epidemiology (EPID 799C-002 Spring 2015). Chapel Hill, NC. Apr 21 2015.

Pace ND. Stigma Free Carolina: Redefining Mental Health,” with Nikhil Tomar and Todd Jensen. Guest Lecture for Public Relations Campaigns (JOMC 434). Chapel Hill, NC. Jan 28 2015.

Pace ND. Proximity of maternal residence to pulp and paper mills and the risk of preterm birth and birth defects. Reproductive, Perinatal and Pediatric Epidemiology Seminar Series. Chapel Hill, NC. Jan 28 2015.

Pace ND. Pre-eclampsia and dietary sodium intake. Cardiovascular Epidemiology (EPID 735). Chapel Hill, NC. Dec 2014.

Pace ND. Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System. Introduction to Public Health Informatics (EPID 795). Chapel Hill, NC. Dec 2014.

Pace ND. Matched designs and causal diagrams by Mansournia MA, Hernán MA, Greenland S. an overview. General Epidemiologic Methods (EPID 719). Chapel Hill, NC. Oct 2014.

Pace ND. Stigma Free Carolina: Making UNC Free From Mental Health Stigma,” with Todd Jensen. UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health: School-wide Welcome and Department Orientations. Chapel Hill, NC. Aug 18 2014.

Pace ND. Stigma of Mental Illness And Access To Care,” with Nikhil Tomar and Todd Jensen. UNC Counseling and Psychological Services Staff Meeting. Chapel Hill, NC. May 2 2014.

Pace ND. Gastroschisis, Atrazine, and the role Maternal Water Consumption: a few pieces of a large puzzle. Advanced Perinatal and Pediatric Epidemiology (EPID 853). Chapel Hill, NC. Apr 2014.

Pace ND. Congenital Limb Defects and Maternal Antioxidant Consumption. Reproductive and Perinatal Epidemiology (EPID 851). Chapel Hill, NC. Nov 2013. 

Pace ND. CATAR: an approach to reducing Fetal Alcohol Syndrome among American Indian and Alaska Native populations. Issues in Maternal and Child Health Programs and Policies (SHDH 246). Boston, MA. May 2013.

Prior Experience

Statistician, Epidemiologist, North Carolina Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention, 2017

Epidemiologist, Biostatistician, UNC Collaborative Studies Coordinating Center, 2013–2017

Research Assistant, Environmental Protection Agency, 2013–2014

Lead Investigator, Harvard School of Public Health, 2012–2013

Academic Appointments

Chancellor’s Fellow, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2013–2017

Professional Affiliations

Society for Epidemiologic Research

Society for Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiologic Research

Teratology Society

American Statistical Association

Project Experience

Led a team to guide state-wide projects investigating clinical and socioeconomic risk factors of congenital heart-defect-related infant mortality. Severity of defects was linked to potential mortality-influencing factors.

Designed and led a study to assess the relation of antioxidant consumption during pregnancy with birth defects in the corresponding birth. Study assessed retrospective dietary recall to quantify dietary intake of nutrients and foods.

Built predictive models for a study to quantify consumption and assess adherence to dietary guidelines based upon consumption estimates. Project required the development of SAS programs to estimate Healthy Eating Index scores for study participants based on dietary recall data.

Designed and conducted a study to assess the relation of regional industrial pollutants on adverse birth outcomes. Study involved collaborations of both the state and regulatory institutions.

Led a three-institution collaboration to examine the effect of education and other socioeconomic factors on the time of subsequent pregnancies and how this related to improved newborn health.

Reviewed pertussis and measles outbreaks in a U.S. state to evaluate the ability of syndromic surveillance systems to identify the outbreak. Assessed the influence of news and other media on heightened emergency department visits for corresponding symptoms.

Additional Information

Peer Reviewer

Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology

Obesity

PLoS ONE

News & Events

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Epidemiology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2017
  • S.M., Epidemiology, Harvard University, 2013
  • B.S., Statistics, Brigham Young University, 2011
  • Marie W. Taubeneck Award (2017), Teratology Society

    Chancellor’s Fellow, Royster Society of Fellows, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (5 year fellowship providing full tuition scholarship and stipend), 2013–2017

    Data Visualization Showcase and Contest, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: First Place, 2017

    Future Faculty Fellow, Center for Faculty Excellence, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2016

    Gillings Poster Award (awarded to one student poster annually selection based on the strong potential for public health impact as well as scientific and methodologic rigor), Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2016

    Reproductive, Perinatal, and Pediatric Epidemiology Training Grantee, a National Research Service Award funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 2014–2015

    Presidential Scholar (2-year full tuition scholarship), Harvard University, 2011–2013

    Brigham Young Scholarship (full tuition, year-long scholarship), Brigham Young University, 2008–2011

    Eagle Scout, Boy Scouts of America, 2005

    Frank Porter Graham Graduate and Professional Student Honor Society

    Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society

    Mu Sigma Rho National Statistics Honor Society

LICENSES & CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Open Water Diver

College Reading and Learning Association certified tutor

LANGUAGES

  • Spanish