UI Genetics Cluster Hire Initiative

  • Current Cluster Faculty Members

    Downing, NancyNancy Downing, PhD, RN, SANE

    Assistant Professor of Nursing
    (319) 335-7051 


    The focus of my research is improvement of function and enhancement of quality of life for persons with the gene mutation that causes Huntington Disease (HD) who are not yet diagnosed (prodromal HD). I currently have three funded grants to examine body composition in persons with prodromal HD. This study is being conducted in conjunction with the PREDICT-HD study (NIH/NINDS 5R01NS040068-11). My dissertation involved a mixed-methods study of 23 couples, in which one member had prodromal HD, that assessed couples’ attributions for functional changes and how they coped with changes. I completed a NIH T32-funded fellowship in Clinical Genetics Nursing Research at the University Of Iowa College Of Nursing from January 1-December 31, 2011. I held a postdoc position with the PREDICT-HD study from January 1, 2012. I began my current position as assistant professor at the University of Iowa College of Nursing on August 1, 2012. During my postdoc fellowships I participated as a team member of the PREDICT-HD study and of a study involving management of genomic incidental findings (NHGRIRC1HG005786). My research participation in these projects included data collection, analysis, and manuscript preparation. I have presented these data at national and international meetings. I also have experience as project coordinator of the Police Heart Health study conducted at the University of Iowa in 2008. I obtained my PhD from the University of Iowa College of Nursing in 2010. I attended the NIH/NINR Summer Genetics Institute in 2008.

    Research Interest(s)

    The focus of Dr. Downing's program of research is application of genomics to healthcare. This ranges from promotion of genomics at the patient bedside to understanding interactions between genomes and the environment. Currently she is exploring genetic and environmental modifiers of cognitive and day-to-day functioning in people with the gene mutation that causes Huntington disease.

    Selected Publications

    Downing, N.R., Williams, J.K., Daack-Hirsch, S., Driessnack, M., & Simon, C.M. (2012). Genetics’ specialists perspectives on disclosure of genomic incidental findings in the clinical setting. Patient Education & Counseling, EPub ahead of print.
    PMID 23068909

    Brossman, B., Williams, J. K., Downing, N., Mills, J. A., & Paulsen, J. S. (2019). Development of the Huntington Disease Work Function Scale. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 54(10), 1300-1308.

    Ramey, S., Culp, K., Downing, N., Perkhounkova, Y. (2012). Evaluation of stress and vital exhaustion in a Midwestern, urban police department. American Association Occupational Health Nurses Journal, 59(11), 221-227.

    Williams, J.K., Daack-Hirsch, S., Driessnack, M., Downing, N., Shinkunas, L., Brandt, D., & Simon, C. (2012). Researcher and IRB chair perspectives on incidental findings in genomic research. Genetic Testing and Biomarker, 16(6), 508-513.
    PMID 22352737

    Downing, N. R., Williams, J. K., Leserman, A., & Paulsen, J. S. (2012). Couples’ coping in prodromal Huntington disease: A mixed methods study. Journal of Genetic Counseling. EPub ahead of print.
    PMID 22278219

    Downing, N., Smith, M. M., Beglinger, L. J., Mills, J., Duff, K. Rowe, K. C., Epping, E. &
    Paulsen, J. S. (2012). Perceived stress in prodromal Huntington disease. Psychology & Health, 27(2), 196-209.
    PMID 21623544

    Williams, J., Downing, N., Vaccarino, A. L., Guttman, M., & Paulsen, J. S. (2011). Self reports of day-to-day function in a small cohort of people with prodromal and early HD. PLoS Currents, August 11:3, RRN1254.

    Ramey, S., Downing, N. R., Franke, W., Perkhounkova, Y., Alasagheirin, M. (2011). Relationships among stress measures, risk factors and inflammatory markers in law enforcement officers. Biological Nursing Research, EPub ahead of print.
    PMID 21362637

    Downing, N. R., Williams, J. K., & Paulsen, J. S. (2010) Couples’ attributions for work function changes in prodromal Huntington disease. Journal of Genetic Counseling, 19(4), 343-352.

    Ramey, S. L., Downing, N. R., & Knoblauch, A. A. (2008). Developing strategic interventions to reduce CVD risk in law enforcement: The art and science of data triangulation. AAOHN Journal, 56(2), 54-62