Aaron Specht

Research Fellow

Department of Environmental Health

 

Education

B.S., Honors Physics, Purdue University, 2012
PhD, Medical Physics, Purdue University, 2016

Research Interests

My long-term research interests are to develop novel technologies to increase understanding of the role of environmental exposures in human health. My academic background has a strong focus on physics and the sub disciplines of medical and health physics and exposure assessment. My research focuses on exposure assessment and, in particular, x-ray fluorescence (XRF) and its uses in public health. I have particular interest in identifying individual exposure levels to metals and health outcomes resultant from exposures. I have developed a handheld XRF for non-invasive measurement of cumulative exposure to toxicants in bone. I have also been developing a method utilizing a novel bench-top XRF allows us to replace typical expensive, destructive, and costly ICP-MS methods for elemental exposure assessment of a variety of different biomarkers and source exposure markers.

Publications

PEER REVIEWED PUBLICATIONS

  1. Specht AJ, Zhang X, Goodman B, Maher E, Nie LH, Weisskopf MG. Radiation dose assessments for in vivo measurements using a portable x-ray fluorescence device. Health Physics.2019; 116(5):590-598.
  2. Specht AJ, Dickerson AS, Weisskopf MG. Comparison of bone lead measured via portable x-ray fluorescence across and within bones. Environmental Research. 2019; 172:273-278.
  3. Dickerson AS, Hansen J, Specht AJ, Gredal O, Weisskopf MG. Population-based study of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and occupational lead exposure in Denmark. Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 2019; 76:208-214.
  4. Lin Y,Specht AJ, Xu J, Yan C, Geng H, Shen X, Nie LH, Hu H. Blood lead, bone lead and child attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-like behavior. Science of the Total Environment. 2019; 659:161-167.
  5. Specht AJ, Kirchner KE, Weisskopf MG, Pokras MA. Lead exposure biomarkers in the Common Loon. Science of the Total Environment. 2019; 647:639-644.
  6. Specht AJ, Kponee K, Kpobari N, Balcom PH, Weuve J, Nie LH, Weisskopf MG. Validation of x-ray fluorescence measurements of metals in toenail clippings against inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry in a Nigerian population. Physiological Measurement.2018; 39(8).
  7. Dickerson AS, Hansen J, Kioumourtzoglou MA, Specht AJ, Gredal O, Weisskopf MG. Study of occupation and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in a Danish cohort. Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 2018; 75(9):630-638.
  8. Specht AJ, Weisskopf M, Nie LH. Childhood lead biokinetics and associations with age among a group of lead poisoned children in China. Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology. 2018; 1559-064X.
  9. Specht AJ, Parish CN, Wallens EK, Watson RT, Nie LH, Weisskopf MG. Feasibility of a portable x-ray fluorescence device for bone lead measurements of condor bones. The Science of the Total Environment. 2018; 615:398-403.
  10. Specht AJ, Lin Y, Weisskopf M, Xu J, Nie LH. Bone lead levels in an environmentally exposed elderly population in shanghai, China. The Science of the Total Environment. 2018; 626:96-98.
  11. Dickerson AS, Rotem R, Christian MA, Nguyen VT, Specht AJ. Potential sex differences relative to autism spectrum disorder and metals. Current environmental health reports. 2017; 4(4):405-414.
  12. Zhang X, Specht AJ, Nie LH. Feasibility of quantifying manganese and mercury in toenail in vivowith portable x-ray fluorescence technology. Biomarkers: biochemical indicators of exposure, response, and susceptibility to chemicals. 2017; 23(2):154-160.
  13. Specht AJ, Mostafaei F, Lin Y, Xu J, Nie LH. Measurements of Strontium Levels in Human Bone In VivoUsing Portable X-ray Fluorescence (XRF). Applied spectroscopy. 2017; 71(8):1962-1968.
  14. Specht AJ, Weisskopf MG, Nie LH. Theoretical modeling of a portable x-ray tube based KXRF system to measure lead in bone. Physiological measurement. 2017; 38(3):575-585.
  15. Wang Y, Specht A, Liu Y, Finney L, Maxey E, Zheng W, Weisskopf M, Nie L. Microdistribution of lead in human teeth using microbeam synchrotron radiation X-ray fluorescence (μ-SRXRF). X-ray spectrometry: XRS. 2017; 46(1):19-26.
  16. Specht AJ, Lin Y, Weisskopf M, Yan C, Hu H, Xu J, Nie LH. XRF-measured bone lead (Pb) as a biomarker for Pb exposure and toxicity among children diagnosed with Pb poisoning. Biomarkers: biochemical indicators of exposure, response, and susceptibility to chemicals. 2016; 21(4):347-52.
  17. Specht AJ, Weisskopf M, Nie LH. Portable XRF Technology to Quantify Pb in Bone In Vivo. Journal of biomarkers. 2014; 2014:398032.

Selected Abstracts, Conferences, and Presentations.

  • Specht AJ, Zhang X, Nie LH. Portable XRF Bone Pb Quantification. ISTERH. September 23, 2019. Bali, Indonesia.
  • Specht AJ. Novel x-ray fluorescence approaches to ease trace metal biomarker measurements in field and low- and middle-income countries. ISTERH. September 23, 2019. Bali, Indonesia.
  • Specht AJ.Mixed Metal Exposures and Cognition in the Normative Aging Study. Seminar in Occupational and Environmental Health Research. September 6, 2019. Boston, MA.
  • Specht AJ,Weisskopf MG. Feasability of lead exposure assessment in blood spots using x-ray fluorescence. August 26, 2019. Utrecht, The Netherlands.
  • Specht AJ,Lin Y, Nie LH, Xu J, Weisskopf MG. Children’s lead biokinetics and chelation efficacy. Harvard Seminar in Occupational and Environmental Health Research. October 12, 2018. Boston, MA.
  • Specht AJ, et al. Calibration and validation of x-ray fluorescence measurements for non-destructive metal exposure assessment of toenail clippings from Nigeria. International Society of Environmental Epidemiology. Aug. 26-30, 2018. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
  • Specht AJ. X-ray Fluorescence Applications in Biological Metal Exposure Assessment. Harvard School of Public Health NIEHS Center for Environmental Health Metals Core Symposium. June 14-15, 2018. Boston, MA.
  • Zhang X, Specht AJ, Weisskopf MG, Weuve J, Nie LH. Quantification of bone lead and toenail manganese and mercury in vivo with x-ray fluorescence technology. Harvard School of Public Health NIEHS Center for Environmental Health Metals Core Symposium. June 14-15, 2018. Boston, MA.
  • Specht AJ, Weisskopf MG. Desktop X-ray Fluorescence for Metal Exposure Assessment. Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Seminar. Feb. 1, 2017. Cambridge, MA.
  • Zhang X, Specht AJ, Weisskopf MG, Weuve J, Nie LH. Quantification of manganese and mercury in toenail in vivo using portable x-ray fluorescence. American Association of Physicists in Medicine Annual Meeting. July 29-August 2, 2017 Indianapolis, IN.
  • Specht AJ, Zhang X, Weuve J, Nie LH, and Weisskopf MG. In vivox-ray fluorescence measured toenail manganese as a biomarker of exposure among welders, abstract accepted at the 2017 Annual International Society of Exposure Science meeting Oct. 15-19, 2017. Durham, North Carolina.
  • Zhang X,Specht AJ,Weuve J, Weisskopf MG, and Nie LH. Feasibility of quantifying manganese and mercury in toenail in vivo with portable x-ray fluorescence technology, abstract presented at the 2017 Annual Health Physics Society meeting July 9-13, 2017. Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • Specht AJ,Lin Y, Weisskopf M, Yan CH, Hu H, Xu J, Nie LH.KXRF-measured Bone Lead (Pb) As A Biomarker for Pb Exposure and Toxicity Among Children Diagnosed with Pb Poisoning, abstract accepted for presentation at the 2016 Annual SOT meeting Mar. 13-17, 2016. New Orleans, LA.
  • Specht AJ. XRF technology to quantify lead in bone in vivo, Purdue University Seminar School of Health Sciences, Nov. 3, 2015. West Lafayette, Indiana.
  • Specht AJ, Weisskopf MG, and Nie LH. Calibration and improvements of a portable XRF technology to quantify lead in bone in vivo, College of Health and Human Sciences Research Day, 2015. West Lafayette, Indiana.
  • Specht AJ. Portable XRF technology to quantify lead in bone in vivo. Hoosier Health Physics Society Spring Meeting. 2014. Lafayette, IN.
  • Specht AJ.Calibration and improvements of a portable XRF technology to quantify lead in bone in vivo, Purdue University Seminar in School of Health Sciences, Jan. 28, 2014. West Lafayette, Indiana.
  • Specht AJ, Weisskopf MG, and Nie LH. Calibration and improvements of a portable XRF technology to quantify lead in bone in vivo, abstract published and project presented at the 2014 Annual International Society of Exposure Science meeting Oct. 12-16, 2014. Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • Specht AJ, Weisskopf MG, and Nie LH. Calibration and improvements of a portable XRF technology to quantify lead in bone in vivo, College of Health and Human Sciences Research Day, 2014. West Lafayette, Indiana.
  • Specht AJ, Weisskopf MG, and Nie LH. Calibration and improvements of a portable XRF technology to quantify lead in bone in vivo, abstract Published in “The Toxicologist” (2014) and project presented at the the 2014 Annual Society of Toxicology meeting Mar. 23-27, 2014. Phoenix, Arizona
  • Specht AJ, Weisskopf MG, and Nie LH. Improvements in portable XRF technology to quantify lead in bone in vivo, abstract published and podium presentation for the 2014 Lead Collaborative Consortium June 5-7, 2014. Hamilton, ON, Canada
  • Specht AJ, Weisskopf MG, and Nie LH. Portable XRF Technology to Quantify Lead and Strontium in Bonein vivo – Calibration and Validation, abstract Published in “The Toxicologist” (2013) and project presented at the 2013 Annual Society of Toxicology meeting Mar. 10-14, 2013. San Antonio, Texas