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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:

(312) 996-7942


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, the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Dr. Koenig has taught at both the undergraduate and graduate levels and mentors students from the University of Illinois Honors College.

Selected Grants

National Heart, Lung, and, Blood Institute, Feasibility of oral lactoferrin to prevent iron deficiency anemia in pregnancy, Primary Investigator

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

Turturice BA, Theorell J, Koenig MD, Tussing-Humphreys L, Gold DR, Litonjua AA, Oken E, Rifas-Shiman SL, Perkins DL, Finn PW. Perinatal granulopoiesis and risk of pediatric asthma. Elife. 2021 Feb 10;10:e63745. doi: 10.7554/eLife.63745. PMID: 33565964; PMCID: PMC7889076.

Roberts KJ, Binns HJ, Vincent C, Koenig MD. A Scoping Review: Family and Child Perspectives of Clinic-Based Obesity Treatment. J Pediatr Nurs. 2021 Mar-Apr;57:56-72. doi: 10.1016/j.pedn.2020.10.025. Epub 2020 Nov 30. PMID: 33271477; PMCID: PMC7946710.

Man B, Koenig MD, Bernabe BP, Nagelli U, Tussing-Humphreys L. The Role of the Gut Microbiota in the Prevention and Management of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus: Are We There Yet? J Perinat Neonatal Nurs. 2020 Jul/Sep;34(3):195-198. doi: 10.1097/JPN.0000000000000497. PMID: 32697535; PMCID: PMC7384246.

Koenig MD, Klikuszowian E, O’Brien KO, Pauls H, Steffen A, DeMartelly V, Ruchob R, Welke L, Hemphill N, LaBomascus B, Pezley L, McLeod A, Hirsch B, Ferrans CE, Tussing-Humphreys L. Prepregnancy Obesity Is Not Associated with Iron Utilization during the Third Trimester. J Nutr. 2020 Jun 1;150(6):1397-1404. doi: 10.1093/jn/nxaa065. PMID: 32221605; PMCID: PMC7269726.

Sangkhae V, Fisher AL, Wong S, Koenig MD, Tussing-Humphreys L, Chu A, Lelić M, Ganz T, Nemeth E. Effects of maternal iron status on placental and fetal iron homeostasis. J Clin Invest. 2020 Feb 3;130(2):625-640. doi: 10.1172/JCI127341. PMID: 31661462; PMCID: PMC6994143.

Vonderheid SC, Tussing-Humphreys L, Park C, Pauls H, OjiNjideka Hemphill N, LaBomascus B, McLeod A, Koenig MD. A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis on the Effects of Probiotic Species on Iron Absorption and Iron Status. Nutrients. 2019 Dec 3;11(12):2938. doi: 10.3390/nu11122938. PMID: 31816981; PMCID: PMC6949908.

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 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

Roberts, K.J., Gallo, A.M., Patil, C.L., Vincent, C., Binns, H.J., & Koenig, M.D.  (2021).Family Management of Severe Obesity in Adolescent. Oral Presentation. 15th International Family Nursing Conference (in Virtual Format) Family Nursing Throughout the Life Course. June 28-July 2, 2021

Roberts, K.J., Gallo, A.M., Patil, C.L., Vincent, C., Binns, H.J., & Koenig, M.D. (2021). Family Management of Severe Obesity in Adolescent. Podium Presentation. 23rdAnnual Building Bridges to Research-Based Nursing Practice. Virtual Conference, May 14, 2021.

Koenig, M.D., Vonderheid, S., Tussing-Humphreys, L.M., Park, C., Pauls, H., & OjiNjideka Hemphill, N. (2019, March) Probiotic Effects on Iron Absorption and Potential Implications for Mothers and Babies. Poster presented at March of Dimes 44th Annual Perinatal Health Conference, Lombard, IL.

Tussing-Humphreys L., Koenig M.D., O'Brien K., Pauls H., Klikuszowian E., deMartelly V., Castellanos K., Ruchob R., Welke L., OjiNjideka Hemphill N., LaBomascus, B., & Pezley, L. (2019, June). Utilization of Iron in the Third Trimester of Pregnancy in Women with and Without Pre-pregnancy Obesity. Poster presentation at the American Society for Nutrition, Baltimore, MD.

Research Currently in Progress

Feasibility of oral lactoferrin to prevent iron deficiency anemia in pregnancy, National Institutes of Health, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, Principal Investigator


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