Clare Ellen Super
Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationPennsylvania, U. of
Grant numberGr. 10154
Approve DateApril 8, 2021
Project TitleSuper, Clare (Pennsylvania, U. of) "Influences of Energetic Stress on Microbiome, Metabolism, and Health in Wildland Firefighters"
CLARE SUPER, then a graduate student at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received funding in April 2021 to aid research on “Influences of Energetic Stress on Microbiome, Metabolism, and Health in Wildland Firefighters,” supervised by Dr. Theodore Schurr. Renamed “Influences of Physiological Stress and Shift-work Conditions on Microbiome, Metabolism, and Health in Nurses,” this project used microbiome data and an anthropological approach to understand nurses’ health patterns, comparing biomarker and survey data from a cohort of nurses at Pennsylvania Hospital as they engaged in rotational shift and non-shift work. A cross-sectional sample survey of nurses (n=89) measured indicators of microbial diversity/composition, inflammation, intestinal permeability, and metabolism. Survey data recorded activity level, socioeconomic status, demographics, and occupational conditions to assess how these factors may mediate metabolic and microbial outcomes. Preliminary analysis used logistic regression models to explore associations between occupational conditions and gastrointestinal/cardiometabolic illnesses, when controlling for age. Multivariate linear regression models also explored associations of occupational conditions with blood pressure when controlling for age. We found occupational conditions scores were associated with increased odds ratio of high blood pressure (OR 1.18, 95% CI 1.01-1.30). This indicates synergistic effects of more stressful occupational conditions may be associated with preclinical biological response to perceived stress. The short term chronic elevated BP could further have future implications for GI and cardiometabolic illness that are not yet observed in this sample of relatively young nurses. This biocultural approach investigated working conditions of nursing on multiple levels, from institution to individual, focusing on how nursing labor becomes embodied and how broader occupational forces get under the skin of our crucial healthcare workers. Ongoing analyses of the C-reactive protein, HDL, CHO, triglycerides, HbA1c, and gut microbiome results may offer direct evidence of preclinical response and will connect biological consequences of occupational conditions to occupational consequences.