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Mario Cleves, PhD

Research Overview

Dr. Cleves is a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), College of Medicine, and a Senior Biostatistician at the Arkansas Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention. Dr. Cleves received his doctorate degree in Biostatistics from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, and he completed his post-doctoral training in Statistical Genetics at Case Western University. His current research interests focus on discerning the genetic and environmental causes of major structural congenital malformations, particularly neural tube and congenital heart defects. Dr. Cleves is also involved in the assessment of quality and outcomes of pediatric health services as well as the assessment of interventions intended to modify health care provider behavior.

As Co-Investigator on the National Birth Defects Prevention Study (NBDPS), funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Cleves analyzes the data collected about environmental and genetic risk factors for 30 structural birth defects. As of the spring of 2006, over 3,000 Arkansas families have participated in the NBDPS. He is also the co-investigator for a study on folate metabolism and birth defects funded by the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development. This local study investigates nutritional, lifestyle, and metabolic factors that affect the fetal environment. Using maternal interviews and DNA collected from infants affected by congenital heart defects and from their parents, this research team is seeking a greater understanding of the underlying mechanisms causing these defects.

Key Publications

Hobbs CA, James SJ, Jernigan SL, Melnyk S, Lu Y, Malik S, Cleves MA. Congenital heart defects, maternal homocysteine, smoking, and the 677 C>T polymorphism in the methylenetetrahydroflate reductase gene: Evaluating gene-environment interactions. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2006;194:218-224.

Cleves MA. Exploratory analysis of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) for quantitative traits. Stata J. 2005;5:1-13.

Hobbs CA, Malik S, Zhao W, James SJ, Melnyk, S, Cleves MA. Maternal homocysteine and congenital heart defects. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2006;43:162-166.

James SJ, Melnyk S, Hobbs CA, Cleves MA, Halsted CH, Wong DH, Cutler P, Bock K, Boris M, Bradstreet JJ, Baker SM, Gaylor DW. Metabolic endophenotype and related genotypes are associated with oxidative stress in children with autism. Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet. 2006;141:947-956.

Karim MA, Parsian AJ, Cleves MA, Bracey J, Elsayed MS, Elsobky E, Parsian A. A novel mutation in BAP/SIL1 gene causes Marinesco-Sjogren syndrome in extended pedigree. Clin Genet. 2006;70:420-423.

*To find additional publications by this author, please visit Pubmed Central, a National Institutes of Health-operated site for electronic distribution of life sciences research reports.

Research Support

Co-Investigator: Cooperative Agreement to Establish Centers of Excellence to Provide Surveillance Research Services and Evaluation Aimed at Prevention of Birth Defects. Principal Investigator: Charlotte Hobbs, MD, PhD. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Co-Investigator: Genetic and Metabolic Determinants of Congenital Heart Defect Risk. Principal Investigator: Charlotte Hobbs, MD, PhD. National Institute for Child Health and Human Development.

Co-Investigator: Using the HCUP Databases to Study Birth Defects. Principal Investigator: James Robbins, PhD. AAMC-CDC.

Co-Investigator: Metabolic Markers of Autism: Predisposition and Nutritional Intervention. Principal Investigator: S. Jill James, PhD. National Institutes of Health.

Significant Contributor: Tobacco Exposure and Risk of Congenital Heart Defects. Principal Investigator: Sadia Malik, MD, MPH. National Institutes of Health.


Arkansas Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention
13 Children's Way, Mail Slot 512-40
Little Rock, Arkansas 72202
1-877-662-4567 toll free