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Tsegaselassie Workalemahu, PhD, MSci, SB

Languages spoken:

Academic Information

Departments: Obstetrics/Gynecology - Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine - Adjunct Assistant Professor

Divisions: Epidemiology, Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Academic Office Information

(801) 587-1607

University Hospital
Obstetrics and Gynecology
50 N Medical Dr, Room: 2B293
Salt Lake City, UT 84132

Dr. Workalemahu is a genetic epidemiology researcher investigating causes of unexplained obstetric complications that are often linked with adverse health outcomes over one's lifetime. Specifically, Dr. Workalemahu investigates the genetic factors related to stillbirth and fetal death. Presently, there are knowledge gaps regarding the causes of pregnancy loss and its recurrence. These knowledge gaps have prompted the use of diagnostic tests and treatments that increase cost, anxiety and may even cause harm without clear efficacy. If the genetic factors that are relevant for pregnancy loss and normal pregnancy are determined, expensive but non-specific, diagnostic evaluations and interventions for couples suffering the loss could be avoided. Dr. Workalemahu's study is aimed at determining specific genetic mutations that cause pregnancy loss by conducting whole genome sequencing analysis of DNA from families. Dr. Workalemahu's other research interests include investigating placental epigenetic factors and genetics of complex chronic conditions such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

Dr. Workalemahu received his bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from St. Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania. He received his doctoral degree in Epidemiology from the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington, and completed his post-doctoral training at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Development in Bethesda, Maryland.

Education History

Postdoctoral Fellowship Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Postdoctoral Fellow
Fellowship Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Predoctoral Fellow
Graduate Training University of Washington
Graduate Training Georgia State University
Mathematics with Scientific Computing
Undergraduate St. Francis University
Mathematics, honors
B.Sc. (Hons)

Selected Publications

  1. Workalemahu T, Enquobahrie DA, Gelaye B, Tadesse MG, Sanchez SE, Tekola-Ayele F, Hajat A, Thornton TA, Ananth CV, Williams MA (2020). Maternal-fetal genetic interactions, imprinting, and risk of placental abruption. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med, 1-10.
  2. Shrestha D, Workalemahu T, Tekola-Ayele F (2019). Maternal dyslipidemia during early pregnancy and epigenetic ageing of the placenta. Epigenetics, 1-10.
  3. Rahman ML, Shrestha D, Workalemahu T, Wu J, Zhu C, Zhang C, Tekola-Ayele F (2019). Maternal and Offspring Genetic Risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Offspring Birthweight Among African Ancestry Populations. J Clin Endocrinol Metab.
  4. Tekola-Ayele F, Lee A, Workalemahu T, Snchez-Pozos K (2019). Shared genetic underpinnings of childhood obesity and adult cardiometabolic diseases. Hum Genomics, 13(1), 17.
  5. Tekola-Ayele F, Lee A, Workalemahu T, Zhang W, Shrestha D, Amare AT, Ouidir M (2019). Genetic overlap between birthweight and adult cardiometabolic diseases has implications for genomic medicine. Sci Rep, 9(1), 4076.
  6. Hbel C, Gaspar HA, Coleman JRI, Finucane H, Purves KL, Hanscombe KB, Prokopenko I, MAGIC investigators, Graff M, Ngwa JS, Workalemahu T, Eating Disorders Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, Major Depressive Disorder Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, Schizophrenia Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, Tourette SyndromeObsessive-Compulsive Disorder Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, OReilly PF, Bulik CM, Breen G (2018). Genomics of body fat percentage may contribute to sex bias in anorexia nervosa. Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet.
  7. Workalemahu T, Enquobahrie DA, Gelaye B, Thornton TA, Tekola-Ayele F, Sanchez SE, Garcia PJ, Palomino HG, Hajat A, Romero R, Ananth CV, Williams MA (2018). Abruptio placentae risk and genetic variations in mitochondrial biogenesis and oxidative phosphorylation: replication of a candidate gene association study. Am J Obstet Gynecol, 219(6), 617.e1-617.e17.
  8. Shrestha D, Rahman ML, Workalemahu T, Zhu C, Tekola-Ayele F (2018). Influence of Fetal and Maternal Genetic Susceptibility to Obesity on Birthweight in African Ancestry Populations. Front Genet, 9, 511.
  9. Workalemahu T, Enquobahrie DA, Gelaye B, Sanchez SE, Garcia PJ, Tekola-Ayele F, Hajat A, Thornton TA, Ananth CV, Williams MA (2018). Genetic variations and risk of placental abruption: A genome-wide association study and meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies. Placenta, 66, 8-16.
  10. Tekola-Ayele F, Workalemahu T, Amare AT (2018). High burden of birthweight-lowering genetic variants in Africans and Asians. BMC Med, 16(1), 70.
  11. Workalemahu T, Grantz KL, Grewal J, Zhang C, Louis GMB, Tekola-Ayele F (2018). Genetic and Environmental Influences on Fetal Growth Vary during Sensitive Periods in Pregnancy. Sci Rep, 8(1), 7274.
  12. Workalemahu T, Enquobahrie DA, Tadesse MG, Hevner K, Gelaye B, Sanchez SE, Williams MA (2017). Genetic variations related to maternal whole blood mitochondrial DNA copy number: a genome-wide and candidate gene study. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med, 30(20), 2433-2439.
  13. Graff M, Scott RA, Justice AE, Young KL, Feitosa MF, Barata L, Winkler TW, Chu AY, Mahajan A, Hadley D, Xue L, Workalemahu T (2017). Correction: Genome-wide physical activity interactions in adiposity - A meta-analysis of 200,452 adults. [Letter to the editor]. PLoS Genet, 13(8), e1006972.
  14. Graff M, Scott RA, Justice AE, Young KL, Feitosa MF, Barata L, Winkler TW, Chu AY, Mahajan A, Hadley D, Xue L, Workalemahu T (2017). Genome-wide physical activity interactions in adiposity - A meta-analysis of 200,452 adults. PLoS Genet, 13(4), e1006528.
  15. Workalemahu T, Badon SE, Dishi-Galitzky M, Qiu C, Williams MA, Sorensen T, Enquobahrie DA (2016). Placental genetic variations in vitamin D metabolism and birthweight. Placenta, 50, 78-83.
  16. Workalemahu T, Enquobahrie DA, Yohannes E, Sanchez SE, Gelaye B, Qiu C, Williams MA (2015). Placental telomere length and risk of placental abruption. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med, 29(17), 2767-72.
  17. Locke AE, Kahali B, Berndt SI, Justice AE, Pers TH, Day FR, Powell C, Vedantam S, Buchkovich ML, Yang J, Croteau-Chonka DC, Esko T, Fall T, Ferreira T, Gustafsson S, Kutalik Z, Luan J, Mgi R, Randall JC, Winkler TW, Wood AR, Workalemahu T, et al (2015). Genetic studies of body mass index yield new insights for obesity biology. Nature, 518(7538), 197-206.
  18. Shungin D, Winkler TW, Croteau-Chonka DC, Ferreira T, Locke AE, Mgi R, Strawbridge RJ, Pers TH, Fischer K, Justice AE, Workalemahu Tetal (2015). New genetic loci link adipose and insulin biology to body fat distribution. Nature, 518(7538), 187-96.
  19. Wood AR, Esko T, Yang J, Vedantam S, Pers TH, Gustafsson S, Chu AY, Estrada K, Luan J, Kutalik Z, Amin N, Buchkovich ML, Croteau-Chonka DC, Day FR, Duan Y, Fall T, Fehrmann R, Ferreira T, Jackson AU, Karjalainen J, Lo K, Locke AE, Mgi R, Mihailov E, Porcu E, Randall JC, Scherag A, Vinkhuyzen A AE, Westra HJ, Winkler TW, Workalemahu T, et al (2014). Defining the role of common variation in the genomic and biological architecture of adult human height. Nat Genet.
  20. Winkler TW, Day FR, Croteau-Chonka DC, Wood AR, Locke AE, Mgi R, Ferreira T, Fall T, Graff M, Justice AE, Luan J, Gustafsson S, Randall JC, Vedantam S, Workalemahu T, Kilpelinen TO, Scherag A, Esko T, Kutalik Z, Heid IM, Loos RJ, Genetic Investigation of Anthropometric Traits GIANT Consortium (2014). Quality control and conduct of genome-wide association meta-analyses. Nat Protoc, 9(5), 1192-212.
  21. Workalemahu T, Enquobahrie DA, Moore A, Sanchez SE, Ananth CV, Pacora PN, Liang L, Salazar M, Williams MA (2013). Genome-wide and candidate gene association studies of placental abruption. Int J Mol Epidemiol Genet, 4(3), 128-39.
  22. Graff M, Ngwa JS, Workalemahu T, Homuth G, Schipf S, Teumer A, Vlzke H, Wallaschofski H, Abecasis GR, Edward L, Francesco C, Sanna S, Scheet P, Schlessinger D, Sidore C, Xiao X, Wang Z, Chanock SJ, Jacobs KB, Hayes RB, Hu F, Van Dam RM, GIANT Consortium, Crout RJ, Marazita ML, Shaffer JR, Atwood LD, Fox CS, Heard-Costa NL, White C, Choh AC, Czerwinski SA, Demerath EW, Dyer TD, Towne B, Amin N, Oostra BA, Van Duijn CM, Zillikens MC, Esko T, Nelis M, Nikopensius T, Metspalu A, Strachan DP, Monda K, Qi L, North KE, Cupples LA, Gordon-Larsen P, Berndt SI (2013). Genome-wide analysis of BMI in adolescents and young adults reveals additional insight into the effects of genetic loci over the life course. Hum Mol Genet, 22(17), 3597-607.
  23. Randall JC, Winkler TW, Kutalik Z, Berndt SI, Jackson AU, Monda KL, Kilpelinen TO, Esko T, Mgi R, Li S, Workalemahu T (2013). Sex-stratified genome-wide association studies including 270,000 individuals show sexual dimorphism in genetic loci for anthropometric traits. PLoS Genet, 9(6), e1003500.
  24. Berndt SI, Gustafsson S, Mgi R, Ganna A, Wheeler E, Feitosa MF, Justice AE, Monda KL, Croteau-Chonka DC, Day FR, Esko T, Fall T, Ferreira T, Gentilini D, Jackson AU, Luan J, Randall JC, Vedantam S, Willer CJ, Winkler TW, Wood AR, Workalemahu T (2013). Genome-wide meta-analysis identifies 11 new loci for anthropometric traits and provides insights into genetic architecture. Nat Genet, 45(5), 501-12.
  25. Chu AY, Workalemahu T, Paynter NP, Rose LM, Giulianini F, Tanaka T, Ngwa JS, CHARGE Nutrition Working Group, Qi Q, Curhan GC, Rimm EB, Hunter DJ, Pasquale LR, Ridker PM, Hu FB, Chasman DI, Qi L, DietGen Consortium (2013). Novel locus including FGF21 is associated with dietary macronutrient intake. Hum Mol Genet, 22(9), 1895-902.
  26. Workalemahu T, Gelaye B, Berhane Y, Williams MA (2013). Physical activity and metabolic syndrome among Ethiopian adults. Am J Hypertens, 26(4), 535-40.
  27. Li Y, Qi Q, Workalemahu T, Hu FB, Qi L (2012). Birth weight, genetic susceptibility, and adulthood risk of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care, 35(12), 2479-84.
  28. Qi Q, Workalemahu T, Zhang C, Hu FB, Qi L (2011). Genetic variants, plasma lipoprotein(a) levels, and risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality among two prospective cohorts of type 2 diabetes. Eur Heart J, 33(3), 325-34.
  29. He M, Workalemahu T, Manson JE, Hu FB, Qi L (2012). Genetic determinants for body iron store and type 2 diabetes risk in US men and women. PLoS One, 7(7), e40919.
  30. He MA, Workalemahu T, Cornelis MC, Hu FB, Qi L (2011). Genetic variants near the IRS1 gene, physical activity and type 2 diabetes in US men and women. [Letter to the editor]. Diabetologia, 54(6), 1579-82.
  31. Heid IM, Jackson AU, Randall JC, Winkler TW, Qi L, Steinthorsdottir V, Thorleifsson G, Carola Zillikens M, Speliotes EK, Mgi R, Workalemahu T, et al (2010). Meta-analysis Identifies 13 Novel Loci Associated with Waist-Hip-Ratio and Reveals Sexual Dimorphism in the Genetic Basis of Fat Distribution. Nat Genet, 42(11), 937-48.
  32. Speliotes EK, Willer CJ, Berndt SI, Monda KL, Thorleifsson G, Jackson AU, Lango Allen H, Lindgren CM, Luan J, Mgi R, Randall JC, Vedantam S, Winkler TW, Qi L, Workalemahu T, et al (2010). Association Analyses of 249,796 Individuals Reveal Eighteen New Loci Associated with Body Mass Index. Nat Genet, 41(11), 937-48.
  33. Allen HL, Estrada K, Guillaume L, Berndt SI, Weedon MN, Rivadeneira F, Willer C, Jackson AU, Vedantam S, Ferreira T, Wood A, Weyant RJ, Segr, A, Raychaudhuri S, Speliotes EK, Wheeler E, Soranzo N, Park J-H, Yang J, Gudbjartsson D, Heard-Costa NL, Randall JC, Qi L, Smith AV, Mgi R, Pastinen T, Liang L, Heid IM, Luan J, Thorleifsson G, Winkler T, Bhangale T, Goddard ME, Lo KS, Palmer C, Workalemahu T, et al (2010). Hundreds of Variants Influence Human Height and Cluster within Genomic Loci and Biological Pathways. Nature, 467(7317), 832-8.