Cindy Visness, Ph.D.

Senior Research Scientist

Cindy Visness, Ph.D.

Senior Research Scientist

Cindy Visness is a Research Scientist with more than 20 years of experience conducting respiratory disease research, with a focus on asthma and allergy indications. Currently, she is the Lead Scientist for the Inner-City Asthma Consortium (ICAC), part of NIAID’s Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Transplant (DAIT) Statistical and Clinical Coordinating Center (SACCC). As the Lead Scientist, she provides oversight to the entire program for protocol development, statistical design, study initiation and management, data monitoring, data analysis, and manuscript preparation.

Her other inner-city asthma work has included a longitudinal characterization of asthma phenotypes in inner-city children, and a program of biomarker studies and clinical trials examining the feasibility and effectiveness of cockroach allergen immunotherapy. She has extensive experience designing study instruments, writing manuals of operation, and creating specifications for the randomization and specimen tracking systems. She has also supervised production of tables for IND reports, as well as DSMB reports and presentations.

Dr. Visness has brought her expertise in reproductive epidemiology to the Urban Environment and Childhood Asthma (URECA) study, a longitudinal birth cohort study studying the development of asthma in high-risk children and to the Systems Biology of Early Atopy (SUNBEAM) study, a longitudinal birth cohort study studying the development of food allergy and atopic dermatitis through three years of age. Additionally, she collaborates with the University of Wisconsin-Madison to coordinate the Children’s Respiratory and Environment Workgroup (CREW), which is a consortium of 12 birth cohorts comprising 6,000+ research participants established to examine early-life risk factors for asthma and allergic disease as part of the NIH-funded Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Program.

Dr. Visness received her doctoral degree in epidemiology in 2008 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH), where she focused on reproductive epidemiology. She also holds master’s degrees in medical anthropology and maternal and child health.

Dr. Visness has co-authored 77 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals, 11 as first author.

Why respiratory?

“Respiratory disease research found me when I came to work at Rho, nearly 22 years ago. My training was in Maternal and Child Health, and I was thrilled to be able to contribute to a field of research that has the potential to directly benefit so many children who suffer with asthma and allergies.”

This is what drives Dr. Visness:

“The holy grail in pediatric asthma research is to find an intervention that could prevent allergic diseases and asthma – that could stop the “atopic march” in its tracks. We are working on the cutting edge of research delving into the molecular pathways of immunopathogenesis and how exposures during pregnancy and early life may set certain children up for having a high risk of allergic disease and asthma. As we learn more about how the immune system reacts to various exposures and stimuli, we get closer to identifying the treatments or interventions that could prevent disease progression.”