Photo of Koenig, Mary Dawn

Mary Dawn Koenig, PhD, RN, CNM

Associate Professor

Department of Human Development Nursing Science

Pronouns: She, her, hers


Building & Room:

College of Nursing


845 S. Damen Ave., MC 802, Chicago, IL 60612

Office Phone:



Dr. Mary Dawn Koenig is a certified nurse-midwife and Associate Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Nursing. Born in Canada, she received her BSN from McMaster University, her MSN with a specialty in midwifery from Yale University, and her PhD in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Koenig investigates how inflammation, the iron regulatory hormone hepcidin, and genetic factors in the placenta determine the flow of iron in both the maternal and fetal systems. Her goal is to develop innovative, safe, and effective therapies that will optimize maternal and fetal iron bioavailability. She has received a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. Dr. Koenig has taught at both the undergraduate and graduate levels and mentors students from the University of Illinois Honors College.

Selected Grants

National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, Mitigating the effects of structural violence on maternal iron status: a randomized controlled pilot study of probiotic supplementation in at-risk pregnant Black women, Primary Investigator

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Nurse Faculty Scholars Program, Obesity in Pregnancy: Iron Dysregulation in Mother and Fetus, Primary Investigator

Sigma Theta Tau International, Hepcidin, Iron Bioavailability, and its Role in Birth Outcomes, Primary Investigator

Association of Women's Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nursing, Hepcidin, Iron Bioavailability and its Role in Birth Outcomes, Primary Investigator

Midwest Nursing Research Society, Psychological Stress and Hepcidin: Link to Birth Outcomes, Primary Investigator

University of Illinois at Chicago, Center for Clinical and Translational Science (UL1RR029879) Pilot Grant Award (CCTS 08011-02), Pathways to Preterm Birth: Stress, Inflammation and Cervical Remodeling, Co-Investigator

Selected Publications

Woo J, Koenig MD, Engeland CG, et al. Neighborhood disorder predicts lower serum vitamin D levels in pregnant African American women: A pilot study. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2020;200:105648. doi:10.1016/j.jsbmb.2020.105648

Koenig MD, Klikuszowian E, O’Brien KO, et al. Prepregnancy Obesity Is Not Associated with Iron Utilization during the Third Trimester. J Nutr. 2020;150(6):1397-1404. doi:10.1093/jn/nxaa065

Welke L, Koenig MD, Thomson JL, et al. Iron Metabolism in African American Women in the Second and Third Trimesters of High-Risk Pregnancies. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2017;46(1):148-158. doi:10.1016/j.jogn.2016.06.013

Koenig MD, McFarlin BL, Steffen AD, et al. Decreased Nutrient Intake Is Associated With Premature Cervical Remodeling. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2017;46(1):123-134. doi:10.1016/j.jogn.2016.08.006

Koenig MD, Tussing-Humphreys L, Day J, Cadwell B, Nemeth E. Hepcidin and iron homeostasis during pregnancy. Nutrients. 2014;6(8):3062-3083. Published 2014 Aug 4. doi:10.3390/nu6083062


Publication Aggregators

Service to Community

I served as a community advisory board member for the March of Dimes campaign “Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait” and the March of Dimes Health Leadership Awards. We explore new ways to improve the lives of women (both pregnant and new mothers) in Chicagoland by facilitating ways the University and community can work together to remove barriers to attendance at prenatal care visits and identify early risk factors for prematurity, both clinically and through community health workers.

I work with the community organization New Moms, located in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago. I am developing and implementing maternal nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices programming that will serve this high-risk group of pregnant women.

Notable Honors

2014, DAISY Faculty Award for Teaching, DAISY Foundation

2014, Jonas Salk Award for Research, March of Dimes

2013-2015, Faculty Scholar, Irving Harris Foundation

2013, New Investigator Award, Midwest Nursing Research Society, Women's Health and Transitions in Childbearing Research Section


2008 Ph.D., Nursing Science, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
2002-2005 Pre-doctoral Fellowship, Research on Vulnerable Women, Children, and Families
(T32 NR007100), University of Pennsylvania
2002 M.S.N., Nurse-Midwifery, Yale University, School of Nursing
1996 B.Sc.N., Nursing, McMaster University, School of Nursing

Licensures and Certifications

Registered Nurse, Illinois, License No. 041.389528

Certified, Nurse Midwife, AMCB Certification No. 10861


Selected Presentations

Tussing-Humphreys, L., Koenig, M.D., Penelvar-Bernabe, B., Cralle, L., McLeod, A., DeMartelly, V., LaBomascus, B., Hemphill, N., Welke, L., Furlette-Koski, M., Ruchob, R., Pezley, L. (2018, June). Iron Absorption and Gut Microbiota Composition in Pregnancy. Poster presented at the Chicago-Area Maternal and Infant Microbiome Symposium (MIMOS), Chicago, IL.

Turturice, B. A., Koenig, M. D., Tussing-Humphreys, L. M., Perkins, D. L., & Finn, P. (2018, June). Maternal obesity is associated with transcriptional changes in cord blood mononuclear cells. Poster presented at the Chicago-Area Maternal and Infant Microbiome Symposium (MIMOS), Chicago, IL.

Butudom, A., Patil, C., & Koenig, M. D. (2018, March) Breastfeeding behavior outcomes of breastfeeding-friendly policies among mothers working in a factory in Thailand. Poster presented at Consortium of Universities for Global Health, New York, NY.

Research Currently in Progress

Mitigating the Effects of Structural Violence on Maternal Iron Status: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Study of Probiotic Supplementation in At-Risk Pregnancy Black Women, Center for Health Equity Research Chicago (CHER), National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, Principal Investigator (PI)