Hudson Santos, PhD, RN
Assistant Professor, Interim Director - Biobehavioral Laboratory
Children’s Health, Health Disparities, Psychiatric/Mental Health, Research Design, Women’s Health
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
School of Nursing
Carrington Hall, CB #7460
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7460
Dr. Santos is an Assistant Professor and Interim Director of the Biobehavioral Laboratory. He is also the Director of Training and Mentorship Division in the UNC Institute for Environmental Health Solutions at the Gillings School of Global Public Health. Dr. Santos has expertise in symptom science, genomics, early life adversity, and child neurodevelopment. His research focuses the developmental origins of health and disease for at risk children. Most of his NIH-funded work focuses on the placenta-brain axis to identify genetic and epigenetic mechanisms that are predictive of later life health in children who experience early life adversity, such as social hardship and biological insults (e.g., preterm birth).
Dr. Santos is a member of the T32 Executive Committee of the Carolina Consortium on Human Development, and a faculty member in the School of Nursing “Interventions for Preventing and Managing Chronic Illness” NINR-T32 Program. He an elected member in the Board of Directors of the International Society of Nurses in Genetics (ISONG), and an elected Council Member for the U.S. Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD).
Selected Honors and Awards
2019 Reviewers’ choice abstract for podium presentation at the 2019 International Society for Nurses in Genetics Congress, San Antonio, Texas
2019 Selected Member, Summer Institute on Biological Approaches in the Social Sciences at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois
2019 Nominated as PhD Faculty for mentoring excellence in the PhD Program at UNC-CH School of Nursing
2018 Invited Member, NIH Strategic Workshop on Epigenetics and Genetics in the ECHO Program
2017 Health Disparities Research Institute Scholar, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities
2016 Abstract of Distinction, State of the Science Congress on Nursing Research, Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science, American Academy of Nursing
2016 Inducted, Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI), Alpha Alpha Chapter
2015 Emerging Nurse Scholar, Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto, Canada
2010 Honors Doctorate Scholarship, Sao Paulo Research Foundation
2009 Excellence Research Honor. XVI Conference of Graduate Research at the State University of Paraiba
2008-07 Jane da Fonseca Proença Award. Research Excellence in Psychiatric Nursing, Mental Health and Interpersonal Relationships. Brazilian Association of Nursing.
1. Payton A, Clark J, Eaves L, Santos, H.P. Jr., Smeester, L., Bangma, J., O’Shea, T.M., Fry, R.C., & Rager, J.E. (2020). Placental genomic and epigenomic signatures associated with infant birth weight highlight mechanisms involved in collagen and growth factor signaling. Reproductive Toxicology. 2020;96:221-230. doi:10.1016/j.reprotox.2020.07.007.
2. Harris, R., Santos, H.P. Jr. (2020). Maternal depression in Latinas and child socioemotional and cognitive development: A systematic review. PLOS ONE, 15(3): e0230256. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0230256.
3. Martins-Filho, P.R.S., Tavares, C.S.S., Carvalho, A.C.A., Reis, M.C.S., Santos, H.P. Jr., Santos, V.S. (2020). Association between arthrogryposis and mortality in infants with congenital Zika syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Pediatric Neurology. doi: 10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2020.05.007.
4. Oliveira, A.M.M., Melo, E.G.M., Mendes, M.L.T., Oliveira, S.J.G.S., Tavares, C.S.S., Vaez, A.C., Vasconcelos, S.J.A., Santos, H.P. Jr., Santos, V.S., Martins-Filho, P.R.S. (2020). Oral and maxillofacial findings, dietary aspects and nutritional status of children with congenital Zika syndrome. Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology and Oral Radiology. doi: 10.1016/j.oooo.2020.02.019.
5. Martins-Filho, P.R., Tanajura, D., Santos, V.S., & Santos, H.P. Jr. (2020). COVID-19 during pregnancy: Potential risk for neurodevelopmental disorders in neonates? European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, S0301-2115(20)30264-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2020.05.015.
6. Martins-Filho, P.R., Santos, V.S., & Santos, H.P. Jr. (2020). To breastfeed or not to breastfeed? Lack of evidence on the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in breastmilk of pregnant women with COVID-19. Pan American Journal of Public Health. 2020;44:e59. doi: 10.26633/RPSP.2020.59.
7. Salomon, R.E., Crandell, J., Muscatell, K.A., Santos, H.P. Jr., Anderson, R.A., Beeber, L. (2020). Two methods for calculating symptom cluster scores. Nursing Research, 69(2), 133-141. doi: 10.1097/NNR.0000000000000412.
8. Reis, M.C.S., Carvalho, A.C.A., Tavares, C.S.S., Santos, H.P. Jr., & Martins-Filho, P. (2020). Changes in occupational roles and its impact on mental health in mothers of children with ZIKV-related microcephaly. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 74(1):7401345010. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2019.035972.
9. Tomlinson, M.S., Santos, H.P. Jr., Stewart, J.R., Joseph, R.M., Leviton, A., Onderdonk, A., Kuban, K.C., Heeren, T., & O’Shea, T.M., Fry, R. (2019). Neurocognitive and social-communicative function of children born very preterm at 10 years of age: Associations with microorganisms recovered from the placenta parenchyma. Journal of Perinatology, 40(2), 306-315 doi: 10.1038/s41372-019-0505-8.
10. Santos, H.P. Jr., Martin, E., Mokrova, I., Joseph, R.M., Hooper, S., Frazier, J., Kuban, K., O’Shea, M., & Fry, R. (2019). Epigenome-wide placental DNA methylation: Associations with socioeconomic factors in mothers of preterm children. Epigenetics, 14(8), 751-765. doi: 10.1080/15592294.2019.1614743.
11. Dvir, Y., Frazier, J., Joseph, R., Moore P., Allred, E., Leviton, A., O’Shea, T.M., Hooper, S., Santos, H.P. Jr., & Kuban, K. (2019). Psychiatric symptoms: Prevalence, co-occurrence and functioning among extremely low gestational age newborns at age ten years. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 40(9), 725-734. doi: 10.1097/DBP.0000000000000744.
12. Bulka, C.M., Dammann, O., Santos, H.P. Jr., VanderVeen, D.K., Smeester L., Fichorova, R., O’Shea, T.M., & Fry, R. (2019). Placental CpG methylation of inflammation, angiogenic and neurotrophic genes and retinopathy of prematurity. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science Journal, 60(8), 2888-2894. doi: 10.1167/iovs.18-26466.
13. Addo, K.A., Bulka, C.M., Dhingra, R., Santos, H.P. Jr., Smeester L., O’Shea, T.M., & Fry, R. (2019). Acetaminophen use during pregnancy and DNA methylation in the placenta of the extremely low gestational age newborn (ELGAN) cohort. Environmental Epigenetics. 5(2), 1-10. doi.org/10.1093/eep/dvz010.
14. Clark, J.S., Martin, E.M., Bulka, C.M, Smeester, L., Santos, H.P. Jr., O’Shea, T.M., & Fry, R. (2019). Associations between placental CpG methylation of metastable epialleles and childhood body mass index across ages one, two and ten in the Extremely Low Gestational Age Newborns (ELGAN) cohort. Epigenetics, 14(11), 1102-1111. doi: 10.1080/15592294.2019.1633865.
15. Johnson, T.M., Bryant, A.L., Brooks, J., Santos, H.P. Jr., Jenerette, C., Lynn, M.R., Rodgers, S. (2019). Utilizing courageous dialogue to support minority and disadvantaged background nursing students. Journal of Professional Nursing. Epub Ahead of Print. doi: 10.1016/j.profnurs.2019.06.009.
16. Bangma, J., Kwiatkowski, E., Psioda, M., Santos, H.P. Jr., Hooper, S.R., Douglas, L., Joseph, R.M., Frazier, J., Kuban, K.C., O’Shea, T.M., & Fry, R. (2019). Identifying early life antecedents of positive child health index (PCHI) among 10- year-old children born extremely preterm. Pediatric Research. doi:10.1038/s41390-019-0404-x.
17. Bangma, J., Kwiatkowski, E., Psioda, M., Santos, H.P. Jr., Hooper, S.R., Douglas, L., Joseph, R.M., Frazier, J., Kuban, K.C., O’Shea, T.M., & Fry, R. (2019). Understanding positive child health. Pediatric Research. doi: 0.1038/s41390-019-0564-8
18. Nephew, B., Febo, M., Santos, H.P. Jr. (2019). Neither biological nor symptomatology reductionism: A call for integration in psychopathology research. Behavioral & Brain Sciences, 42,e17. doi: 10.1017/S0140525X18001279.
19. Pittet, F., Van Caenegem, N., Hicks-Nelson, A., Santos, H.P. Jr., Bradburn, S., Murgatroyd, C., & Nephew, B. (2019). Maternal social environment affects offspring cognition through behavioral and immune pathways in rats. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 31(9), e12711. doi: 10.1111/jne.12711.
20. Dennis, C-L., Shiri, R., Brown, H.K., Santos, H.P. Jr., & Hassani, K.F. (2019). Breastfeeding rates between immigrant and non-immigrant: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Maternal and Child Nutrition, 15(3), e12809. doi: 10.1111/mcn.12809.
21. Adinksy, H., Zimmer, C., Thorp, J., & Santos, H.P. Jr. (2019). Predictors of psychological distress in low income mothers. Research in Nursing & Health, 42, 205-216. doi: 10.1002/nur.21943.
22. Vieira, P., Carvalho, E., & Santos, H.P. Jr. (2019). Bad news: Families’ experience surrounding the diagnosis of Zika virus-related microcephaly. Nursing Inquiry, 26(1), e12274. doi: 10.1111/nin.12274.
23. Pao, C., Guintivano, J., Santos, H.P. Jr., & Meltzer-Brody, S. (2019). Postpartum depression and social support in a racially and ethnically diverse population of women. Archives of Women’s Mental Health, 22(1), 105-114. doi: 10.1007/s00737-018-0882-6.
24. Santos, H.P. Jr., Nephew, B., Bhattacharya, A., Tan, X., Smith, L., Alyamani, R., Martin, E.M., Perreira, K., Fry, R. & Murgatroyd, C. (2018). Discrimination exposure and DNA methylation of stress-related genes in Latina mothers. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 98, 131-138. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2018.08.014.
25. Bangma, J., Kwiatkowski, E., Psioda, M., Santos, H.P. Jr., Hooper, S.R., Douglas, L., Joseph, R.M., Frazier, J., Kuban, K.C., O’Shea, T.M., & Fry, R. (2018). Assessing positive child health among individuals born extremely preterm. Journal of Pediatrics, 202, 44-49. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2018.06.037.
26. Martins-Filho P & Santos, H.P. Jr. (2018). Femicide trends in Brazil: Relationship between public interest and mortality rates. Archives of Women’s Mental Health, 21(5), 579-582. doi: 10.1007/s00737-018-0842-1.
27. Santos, H.P. Jr., Kossakowski, J., Schwartz, T., Beeber, L., & Fried, E. (2018). Longitudinal network structure of depression symptoms and self-efficacy in low-income mothers. Plos One, 13(1), e0191675. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0191675.
28. Meakin, C., Martin, E., Santos, H.P. Jr., Mokrova, I., Kuban, K., O’Shea, M., Joseph, R.M., Smeester, L., & Fry, R. (2018). Placental CpG methylation of HPA-axis genes is associated with cognition at age 10 among children born extremely preterm. Hormones and Behavior, 101, 29-35. doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2018.02.007.
29. Fryer, K., Santos, H.P. Jr., Pedersen, C., & Stuebe, A. (2018). The Hispanic paradox: Socioeconomic factors and race/ethnicity in breastfeeding. Breastfeeding Medicine, 13(3), 174-180. doi: 10.1089/bfm.2017.0157.
30. Kneipp, S.M., Schwartz, T., Drevdahl, D.J., Canales, M.K., Santacroce, S., Santos, H.P. Jr., & Anderson, R. (2018). Trends in health disparities, health inequity, and social determinants of health research: A 17-year analysis of NINR, NCI, NHLBI, and NIMHD funding. Nursing Research, 67(3), 231-241. doi: 10.1097/nnr.0000000000000278.
31. Freitas, P., Kimoro, A., Santos, H.P. Jr., & Holditch-Davis, D. (2017). Biobehavioral responses of preterm infants to conventional and swaddled tub baths: a randomized crossover trial. Journal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing, 32(4), 358-365. doi: 10.1097/jpn.0000000000000336.
32. Santos, H.P. Jr., Fried, E.I., Asafu-Adjei, J., & Ruiz, RJ. (2017). Network structure of perinatal depressive symptoms in Latinas: Relationship to stress and reproductive biomarkers. Research in Nursing & Health, 40(3), 218-228. doi:10.1002/nur.21784.
33. Santos, H.P. Jr., Tan, X., & Salomon, R. (2017). Heterogeneity in perinatal depression: How far have we come? A systematic review. Archives of Women’s Mental Health, 20(1), 11–23. doi: 10.1007/s00737-016-0691-8.
34. Santos, H.P. Jr., Yang, Q., Docherty, S., White-Traut, R., & Holditch-Davis, D. (2016). Relationship of maternal psychological distress classes to later mother–infant interaction, home environment, and infant development in preterm infants. Research in Nursing & Health, 39(3), 175-86. doi:10.1002/nur.21719.
35. Holditch-Davis, D., Santos, H.P. Jr., Levy, J., White-Traut, R., David, R., O’Shea, M., & Geraldo, V. (2015). Patterns of psychological distress in mothers of preterm infants. Infant Behavior and Development, 41, 154-63. doi:10.1016/j.infbeh.2015.10.004.
36. Santos, H.P. Jr., Black, A.M., & Sandelowski, M. (2015). Timing of translation in cross-language qualitative research. Qualitative Health Research, 25(1), 134-44. PMID: 25189538. doi: 10.1177/1049732314549603.
37. Silveira, M.F.A., Gualda, D.M.R., & Santos, H.P. Jr. (2015). Challenges for primary healthcare professionals in caring for women with postpartum depression. Text & Context Nursing, 24(3), 706-712. doi: 10.1590/0104-0707201500049-14.
38. Santos, H.P. Jr., Sandelowski, M., & Gualda, D.M.R. (2014). Bad thoughts: Early mothering by Brazilian women experiencing postpartum depression. Midwifery, 30(6), 788–94. PMID: 24315035. doi: 10.1016/j.midw.2013.11.004.
39. Santos, H.P. Jr., Gualda, D.M.R., Silveira, M.F.A., & Hall, W. (2013). Postpartum depression: The (in) experience of Brazilian primary health care professionals. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 69(6), 1248-58. PMID: 22882356. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2012.06112.x.
Genetic and Epigenetic Effects on Childhood Cognitive Trajectories (1R01NR019245-01)
Role: Principal Investigator; Funding Agency: NIH/NINR Period: 09/10/2020- 07/31/2025
Placental Origins of Positive Child Health Outcomes (1R03HD101413-01)
Role: Principal Investigator; Funding Agency: NIH/NICHD Period: 04/08/2020- 03/31/2022
Placental DNA Methylation, Maternal Hardship and Child Neurodevelopmental Outcomes (1K23NR017898-01)
Role: Principal Investigator; Funding Agency: NIH/NINR Period: 09/26/2018– 08/31/2021
Environment, Epigenetics, Neurodevelopment & Health of Extremely Preterm Children (4UH3OD023348-03)
Role: Co-Investigator; Funding Agency: NIH/OD Period: 1/9/2018-31/8/2023
Effects of an educational group about bonding and responsive care: a pragmatic clinical trial with first-time parents
Role: Co-Investigator; Funding Agency: National Council for Scientific and Technological Development, Brazil Period: 01/05/2019-12/30/2021
Gene-Environment Interactions Regulating Social Stressors and Health Distress in Latinas
Role: Principal Investigator; Funding Agency: UNC-CH SON, Senich Innovation Award Period: 06/2018-11/2020
Genomics (e.g, DNA methylation, gene expression)
Early life adversity (e.g., social hardship, preterm birth)
Perinatal mental health