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Early Life Factors (ELF) Study

We are all exposed to thousands of chemicals every day in the products we use-like our shampoo, or the containers we store our food in. This study is interested in learning how chemicals that are found everywhere in our environment may influence brain development in children. If you are pregnant in your 2nd or 3rd trimester you may be eligible to participate. We will follow the development of your child with visits at 1, 3, 12 and 24 months. The study uses non-invasive brain imaging to take pictures of your child's brain, and collects urine from you and your child to measure your exposure to common chemicals. There is no radiation or medicine involved, and MRIs are conducted during your child's nap time. For more information, please contact the ELF study team.

Age & Gender

  • 0 years ~ 99 years
  • Male, Female, Gender Inclusive

Visit Availability

  • Standard business hours (M-F, 8-5)
  • Extended hours (M-F, early morning or evening)
  • Weekend hours, if needed
  • Visits can be combined with regular clinical appointments


North Carolina (Statewide)

What will be asked of you

During pregnancy we will ask you to donate two urines, and complete a fetal MRI scan (optional). Once your baby is born, we will ask you to return at 1, 3, 12 and 24 months for a study visit that includes infant urine collection, a safe and non-invasive MRI, and a behavioral assessment. You can stay with your child the entire time.


$25 - $140 per visit, Pictures of your baby's brain

In-person visits:
Total length of participation:
2 years

Looking for Healthy Volunteers

Requirements for healthy volunteers are different than for those with a specific condition. If you are interested in becoming a healthy volunteer for this study, use the below categories to determine if you are able to participate.

Able to participate:

  • 18 years of age or older
  • Single-child pregnancy
  • 2nd or 3rd trimester of pregnancy

Not eligible if:

  • Pregnancy from a donor egg
  • Excessive maternal alcohol or illicit drug use during pregnancy

Contact the Team

Visit Location

Contact & Visit Location

Primary Contact

Primary Visit Location

Biomedical Research Imaging Center
Marsico Hall (UNC-Chapel Hill)
125 Mason Farm Rd, Chapel Hill, NC 27514, USA

Additional Study Information

Principal Investigator

Weili Lin
Radiology - Research

Study Type

Behavioral or Social

Study Topics

Brain, Head, Nervous System
Child and Teen Health
Healthy Volunteer or General Population
Mental and Emotional Health
Parents of Children
Language and Speech

IRB Number


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