Rachel J. Keith, Ph.D., APRN, ANP-C

Associate Professor of Medicine

502-852-4211 E-mail

Education and Training

Ph.D.: University of Louisville, Physiology and Biophysics
BSN: University of Louisville
MSN: University of Louisville
Postdoctoral Fellowship: University of Louisville, Diabetes and Obesity Center

Research Interests

My research experience started with the Molecular Cardiology Center and progressed to the Diabetes and Obesity Center. The focus of this research was on understanding the cardiprotection of late phase preconditioning to the damage associated with myocardial infarction. Previous studies have implicated inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) and aldose reductase (AR) as mediators of late phase preconditioning. These proteins are all endogenous, and there are ways to increase the proteins’ expression for brief periods of time through lifestyle changes.

Since I already had a unique understanding of the biochemical pathways that regulate cytoprotection in the heart, my interest began to focus on how to translate this to humans. Thus, I began to pursue a graduate level nursing degree to facilitate the transition to human studies. This pursuit led me participate in human studies with neonatal medicine where we investigated the potential protective effect of iNO on lung disease in neonates.

In addition, I have participated in various studies ranging from telemedicine studies of retinopathy of prematurity to survey studies for adults who were once in the neonatal intensive care and received Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO). I participated in all aspects of these human studies including screening, consenting, data collection, regulatory components, proposal submission, and manuscript writing. After completion of my nurse practitioner license, I returned to the DOC to coordinate human studies. I am also an investigator on several projects of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Included in this work is a new grant which will focus on many aspects of regulation, attitudes toward, and injury associated with tobacco use. These and other studies will allow me to incorporate clinical care with my knowledge of mechanistic injury in cardiovascular disease and diabetes. By combining the two skill sets, I will be able to expand my translational research of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity.

Featured Publications

  • Xie Z, Chen JY, Gao H, Keith RJ, Bhatnagar A, Lorkiewicz P, Srivastava S. Global Profiling of Urinary Mercapturic Acids Using Integrated Library-Guided Analysis. Environ Sci Technol. 2023 Jul 25;57(29):10563-10573. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.2c09554. Epub 2023 Jul 11. PMID: 37432892.
  • Keith RJ, Holm RH, Amraotkar AR, Bezold MM, Brick JM, Bushau-Sprinkle AM, Hamorsky KT, Kitterman KT, Palmer KE, Smith T, Yeager R, Bhatnagar A. Stratified Simple Random Sampling Versus Volunteer Community-Wide Sampling for Estimates of COVID-19 Prevalence. Am J Public Health. 2023 Jul;113(7):768-777. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2023.307303. Epub 2023 May 18. PMID: 37200600; PMCID: PMC10262242.
  • Yeager R, Browning MHEM, Breyer E, Ossola A, Larson LR, Riggs DW, Rigolon A, Chandler C, Fleischer D, Keith R, Walker K, Hart JL, Smith T, Bhatnagar A. Greenness and equity: Complex connections between intra-neighborhood contexts and residential tree planting implementation. Environ Int. 2023 Jun;176:107955. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2023.107955. Epub 2023 May 12. PMID: 37196566; PMCID: PMC10367429.
  • Basner M, Smith MG, Jones CW, Ecker AJ, Howard K, Schneller V, Cordoza M, Kaizi-Lutu M, Park-Chavar S, Stahn AC, Dinges DF, Shou H, Mitchell JA, Bhatnagar A, Smith T, Smith AE, Stopforth CK, Yeager R, Keith RJ. Associations of bedroom PM2.5, CO2, temperature, humidity, and noise with sleep: An observational actigraphy study. Sleep Health. 2023 Jun;9(3):253-263. doi: 10.1016/j.sleh.2023.02.010. Epub 2023 Apr 18. PMID: 37076419; PMCID: PMC10293115.
  • Amraotkar AR, Keith RJ, Palmer KE, Bhatnagar A. Using SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Testing in COVID-19 Research. Am J Med. 2023 Jun;136(6):501-503. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2023.02.001. Epub 2023 Feb 12. PMID: 36780969; PMCID: PMC9922202.
  • McGraw KE, Konkle SL, Riggs DW, Rai SN, DeJarnett N, Xie Z, Keith RJ, Oshunbade A, Hall ME, Shimbo D, Bhatnagar A. Exposure to Volatile Organic Compounds Is Associated with Hypertension in Black Adults: The Jackson Heart Study. Environ Res. 2023 Apr 15;223:115384. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2023.115384. Epub 2023 Feb 14. PMID: 36796615; PMCID: PMC10134439.
  • Wahlang B, Gao H, Rai SN, Keith RJ, McClain CJ, Srivastava S, Cave MC, Bhatnagar A. Associations between residential volatile organic compound exposures and liver injury markers: The role of biological sex and race. Environ Res. 2023 Mar 15;221:115228. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2023.115228. Epub 2023 Jan 4. PMID: 36610539; PMCID: PMC9957966.
  • Amraotkar AR, Owolabi US, Malovichko MV, Majid S, Weisbrod RM, Benjamin EJ, Fetterman JL, Hirsch GA, Srivastava S, Poudel R, Robertson RM, Bhatnagar A, Hamburg NM, Keith RJ. Association of electronic cigarette use with circulating angiogenic cell levels in healthy young adults: Evidence for chronic systemic injury. Vasc Med. 2023 Feb;28(1):18-27. doi: 10.1177/1358863X221126205. Epub 2022 Dec 11. PMID: 36503365.
  • Majid S, Weisbrod RM, Fetterman JL, Keith RJ, Rizvi SHM, Zhou Y, Behrooz L, Robertson RM, Bhatnagar A, Conklin DJ, Hamburg NM. Pod-based e-liquids impair human vascular endothelial cell function. PLoS One. 2023 Jan 26;18(1):e0280674. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0280674. PMID: 36701344; PMCID: PMC9879485.
  • Holm RH, Rempala GA, Choi B, Brick JM, Amraotkar AR, Keith RJ, Rouchka EC, Chariker JH, Palmer KE, Smith T, Bhatnagar A. SARS-CoV-2 wastewater concentration and linked longitudinal seroprevalence: a spatial analysis of strain mutation, post-COVID-19 vaccination effect, and hospitalization burden forecasting. medRxiv [Preprint]. 2023 Jan 7:2023.01.06.23284260. doi: 10.1101/2023.01.06.23284260. PMID: 36656780; PMCID: PMC9844017.