Department Notes Archive – 2013

Department Notes – 2013

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Dr. Russ Hauser became Acting Chair, and then Chair, of the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health on September 1, 2016. Dr. Douglas Dockery was the Chair from 2005 – 2016.

Notes – 12/21/2013

Well, the year has wound down and as the last finals have been taken, I wanted to write one more department update before signing off for the year.

Congratulations to Phil Demokritou and colleagues whose paper entitled “A chemical free, nanotechnology-based bacterial inactivation using engineered water nanostructures” was selected as one of the most innovative nanotechnology papers by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Kaylin Mai, an undergraduate student at UMass Boston, who worked in Alberto Caban-Martinez’ work-related musculoskeletal disorders lab over the summer on a pilot study of musculoskeletal pain and arthritis status in construction workers, presented preliminary findings at the 2013 New England College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine Conference.  Well done, Kaylin (and everyone else that contributed to the poster)!

Nancy Diao passed her oral qualifying examination for her dissertation on prenatal metals exposure and birth and growth development in Bangladesh.  Congratulations Nancy!

Hilario Francelino, a former student in our HSPH-Brazil exchange program, wrote that he attended a three day medical congress in Russia, where he presented a poster based on his work in John Godleski’s lab last year. Hilario was awarded first place in the poster competition, and was lauded for the methods and research related to the tunnel exposures.  Congratulations Hilario!

Lastly, I want to wish everyone happy holidays, a wonderful winter break, and safe travels for those going away for the holidays.  See you in 2014!


Notes – 11/24/2013

Just a few quick notes as we prepare for the Thanksgiving break.

First, congratulations to Meryl Colton who received an ACE (Acknowledging Collaboration and Excellence) Award. ACE awards are HSPH’s way of acknowledging a staff member who has made an extraordinary effort in a particular task or aspect of their position, accomplished something special, or exemplified a collaborative commitment to their work and the School’s mission. Meryl received the award for her work with low-income housing families throughout Boston on research projects focused on green housing and environmental health. She leads by example while working with participants in the field and sets high standards for our team.  Her dedication to both her team and to the research projects is commendable and highly appreciated.

Second, congratulations to Chris Golden, also associated with EER, for receiving a Marsh Foundation Award for his proposal entitled “Bushmeat Hunting, Wildlife Conservation and Human Health in Madagascar.”

Two of our students reached significant academic milestones this week. Kathleen Attfield successfully defended her dissertation entitled “Pyrethroid and organophosphate pesticide body burdens in children: Patterns and impacts of integrated pest management.”  Mohammad AlSeaidan, a dual degree doctoral student in the Departments of Epidemiology and Environmental Health, passed his oral qualifying examination.  Congratulations to you both!

Mark your calendar for the James L. Whittenberger Lecture on Friday, December 6th.  The topic is “The Exposome Exposed: The Future of Environmental Health?” Stephen Rappaport of the University of California Berkeley School of Public Health will deliver the lecture.

Finally, with the holiday season approaching, it’s time to plan our annual department party.  As is our tradition, we will celebrate after people return from winter session in the new year (Thursday, January 30 at 4:00 p.m.)  Our parties are known for having a fun theme, and this year we want your input!  Please vote for your favorite theme by casting a vote in the survey here.

We wish everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving, and a Happy Channukah.


Notes – 11/16/2013

It has been another busy couple of weeks for people in the EH Department. Several of our faculty received word that they will be receiving new funding. First, congratulations to Bernardo Lemos for receiving a Smith Family Award for Excellence in Biomedical Research. These awards are given to new faculty whose research has the potential to foster medical breakthroughs. Bernardo’s proposal is entitled “Heterochromatin, bisphenol A, and environmental epigenetics.”

Also, congratulations to Quan Lu on his NHLBI award on “Pharmacogenetics of Asthma Treatment.”

Alex Lu also received good news that Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection will be funding his work entitled “A Risk-based Analysis of the Effect of Pesticides on Sensitive Receptors.”

Lastly, David Christiani received the welcome news that the board of the Raymond P. Lavietes Foundation will be funding his proposal entitled “Improving Lung Cancer Survival Using Integrative Molecular Analysis.”
Well done, Bernardo, Quan, Alex and David!

Look for a very interesting article coming out in PNAS by Sam Myers and colleagues entitled “Human Health Impacts of Ecosystem Alteration.”  This article proposes a more systematic and comprehensive framework to better understand the health impacts of ecosystem alteration that can be used to help inform policy decisions. Nice job, Sam!

Congratulations to our alumna and colleague, Tish Davis, who received the Alice Hamilton Award from the Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) Section of the American Public Health Association (APHA) at the Annual meeting last week. This award recognizes the lifelong contributions of individuals who have distinguished themselves through a career of hard work and dedication to improve the lives of workers. Tish Davis’ lifetime dedication and leadership has improved the health of workers across the country and especially in Massachusetts. She has been an Occupational Health and Safety leader, particularly in the areas of young workers, construction workers and linking surveillance to action. As the director for more than 30 years of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Occupational Health Surveillance Program she has created models that have been replicated throughout the country. We are very proud of our terrific alumni.

Our department was well represented at the sessions of the APHA meeting here in Boston.  Ann Backus had several presentations, including those entitled “Health and Hydrofracking: Community Outreach and Information Needs,” “Harvard WorldMap: A tool for visualizing and sharing hydrofracking data,” and “Something fishy: Fish advisory considerations for public health nurses.”

Ted Courtney presented “Perception of Slipperiness and Prospective Risk of Slipping,”  Santosh Verma presented   “Internet and Telephonic IVR Mixed-Mode Survey for Longitudinal Studies: Choice, Retention, Data Equivalency,” and David Lombardi presented “Narrative Analysis in Injury Research: Methodological Issues,” and “The Impact of Work Shift Starting Time on Sleep Patterns and Alertness Prior to Injury in the People’s Republic of China.” Finally, Emily Sparer along with Mia Goldwasser, Kincaid Lowe, Bob Herrick, and Jack Dennerlein presented a poster entitled “Qualitative findings from a safety communication and recognition program on safety awareness and teambuilding in construction.”  Well done, all!

Ted Courtney was elected a Governing Councilor of the Injury Control and Emergency Health Services Section of the APHA. David Lombardi was named to the Editorial Boards of the Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health and of Injury Epidemiology– a new open access journal.  Congratulations Ted and David!

Josée  Pilon let us know that she passed the Canadian Board of Occupational Medicine written and oral exams, and she is now a certified member with CCBOM designation.  She kindly mentioned that her year at HSPH gave her the foundation from which to grow.  Thanks for letting us know, Josée, and congratulations!

Who could be feeling luckier than Michael Grant, who was chosen out of the thousands of Red Sox fans to have his beard shaved alongside David Ortiz and Shane Victorino?

It’s hard to beat that shave, but maybe Shamsher Ali and his wife Asmaa are more excited wuth the birth of their daughter Azm Zainab Ali on October 25th.  Congratulations to Shamsher and Asmaa!

While I’m sure that most of us are trying to wrap things up before the Thanksgiving break, I hope you can take time out to come to our next EH Colloquium on Thursday at 4:00 when Lin Tao (EER) will be talking about The Application of Metabolomics in Exposure Biology and Paula Tejera-Alverez (EOME) will be discussing P13 (pre-elefin): Functional Genomics and ARDS.    Think of this as an opportunity to find out what other people in our department are working on.  I look forward to seeing many of you there, and having some refreshments and good conversation afterward.


Notes – 11/02/2013

Last week the school kicked off its Centennial Celebration with some high profile, well-attended events including a Centennial Medal and Next Generation award ceremony, a banquet that launched an ambitious $450 million fundraising campaign.  It also had a Centennial Community Party that was open to the whole School, complete with a birthday cake.  During the party, Dean Frenk mentioned the ten longest-serving staff or faculty members.  Fittingly, three current members of EH were on the list, including two of the top three!  Congratulations to Jack Spengler (#10 with 40 years), #3 Joe Brain with 47 years, and (drum roll please) … #1 Frank Speizer with 52 years!  Events continue this week with the Second Century Symposium: A Vision for the Future of Public Health Education among others.  All in all, this is quite an exciting time to be part of the HSPH community.

Alumni Centennial Activities on Saturday highlighted the accomplishments alumni in environmental and occupational health. The Alumni Award of Merit, the highest honor bestowed on graduates of HSPH by their peers, was given to Marc Schenker (Professor, Department of Public Health Sciences, University of California at Davis), Debra Silverman (Chief, Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch, National Cancer Institute), and Eiji Yano (Founding Dean and Professor, Teikyo School of Public Health, Teikyo University, Tokyo, Japan).  The Leadership Award in Public Health Practice was given to Adam Finkel (Senior Fellow & Executive Director, Penn Program on RegulationUniversity of Pennsylvania Law School), and a Public Health Innovator Award was given to Royce Ellen Clifford (Office of Naval Research).  I have attached a more detailed description of the accomplishments of these distinguished alumni. It was great to see them recognized for their work in environmental and occupational health.

Last week we also held the annual retreat of the Harvard-NIEHS Center for Environmental Health at the J.B. Martin Conference Center.  The retreat featured presentations and posters from each of the research and facility cores, and the Community Outreach and Engagement Core.  These presentations showcased the breadth and depth of our research.  I want to thank all 60 plus investigators who attended, and particularly everyone that presented their research orally of as a poster. Special thanks to Julie Goodman, who did an extraordinary job of organizing the entire retreat.  Julie has uploaded the slides of the presentations on the NIEHS website.

Alex Carll, who serves as the HSPH Post-Doctoral Council’s Grant and Research Strategy Chair, is seeking volunteers who have recently submitted post-doc related grant applications to provide one-on-one counseling to post-docs that are submitting their first applications.  Their advice on the technical grant writing techniques particularly (not necessarily the science) is the goal of the proposed one-on-one counseling.  Please contact Alex if you are interested in participating.

Chih Chao “Justin” Yang was featured in an article on the HSPH website along with mentors Rose Goldman and Russ Hauser.  Justin took an idea for a project in Rose’s EH201 Principles of Environmental Health class and, with the help of Rose and Russ, developed it into an article entitled “Taiwan food scandal: The illegal use of phthalates as a clouding agent and their contribution to maternal exposure” which was published  in Food and Chemical Toxicology. It’s a fine example of translating classroom experience to an academic publication.  Well done, Justin, Rose and Russ!

The HSPH website also features an article in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine entitled “Construction Workers Struggle with a High Prevalence of Mental Distress, and This is Associated with Their Pain and Injuries.”  By Silje Endresen Reme, Alberto Caban-Martinez, Lynn Onyebeke (who has since graduated), and Jack Dennerlein.  The story can be found here.

Meanwhile, Joel Schwartz may be out of sight but he has been tearing up the European lecture circuit while on sabbatical.  On October 15th he gave a talk on “Climate and Health, What do we know and what do we need to know?” at the Department of Epidemiology, Lazio in Rome.  On October 18 he gave a talk at the Business School of the University of St. Gallen on “Environmental Health in Emerging Economies.”  The next day he spoke about “PM2.5 and Respiratory Disease: What is new?”  at the International Seminar on Air Pollution and Respiratory Diseases at Milan, Italy.  On October 23 he gave two talks at the Karolinska Institute, one called “Evidence for Heterogeneity in Risk, and the Implications for Risk Assessment and Policy Decisions” and the other “Weather and Health; How and why exposure-response varies.”   Sounds like he may need a vacation when he gets back to recover from his sabbatical!

Have you visited our EH Department’s home page lately?  We have posted a video called “Our World, Our Challenge” that shows the history of our department.  It was made a few years ago.  If you haven’t seen it, you may find it very interesting.  You may even spot some familiar faces.  Find it here.  Speaking of our web page, check out the Events section for a comprehensive calendar of departmental activities.

We wish Enhua Zhou a fond farewell as he leaves in our MIPS program after seven years to join Novartis in Cambridge.

Several members of our Department are looking forward to attending the APHA meeting next week that is being held right here in Boston.  Let me know if you are presenting at it so that I can include it in the next department notes.

Finally, congratulations to the Boston Red Sox, who went from last place last year to winning the World Series this year.  May we all show that kind of resilience!


Notes – 10/17/2013

This morning, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) announced that outdoor air pollution has been classified as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1). Francine Laden was on the committee which evaluated the evidence and made this determination.  This is an important action and we are proud to have contributed both to the body of evidence and this evaluation.

This afternoon, we have the second “Inside Environmental Health” colloquium (4:00 p.m., 1302). Bernardo Lemos will be sharing research from his lab and  Georgios Pyrgiotakis will be sharing research from the Demokritou lab; refreshments to follow.

Next Tuesday, the Harvard-NIEHS Center for Environmental Health will have a Retreat at the Martin Center on Longwood Avenue. This is a chance to see what’s happening in metals, organics, and particles research. The Retreat is open (and free).

Next week also kicks off our Centennial Celebration. Each Department was asked to contribute something to a Time Capsule to be opened in 50 years. We have submitted two doctoral theses from 1923 and 2013 illustrating the continuity of research in the Department.  The first is entitled Distribution of Lead in the Organism in Acute and Chronic Lead Poisoning, submitted by Annie Stone Minot on May 1, 1923 for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Physiology from Radcliffe College.  She did her research in Cecil Drinker’s Physiology laboratory. As a woman she was not permitted to receive her PhD from Harvard. She went on to join the faculty at Vanderbilt where she had a distinguished career in environmental chemistry. The second is Effect of Lead Exposure on Neuromotor Function and Movement Disorder submitted by John S. Ji for the degree of Doctor of Science in Environmental Health in May of this year (2013). These two theses on lead exposures and effects are interesting bookends to research in the Department over the past 90 years. It will be fascinating to see how this work will look in 50 years, when the Time Capsule is reopened (although I don’t expect to be present).

The Harvard-Swiss Re SEARCH Initiative sponsored an international meeting at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences this week.  Congratulations to Joe Brain for organizing this initiative, and such an interesting program. Thanks to Nancy Long-Sieber and Ted Henson for administering this program and organizing this event.

Last night, we had a compressor fail in the cold room on the ground floor of Building I. Thanks to Jin-Ah Park for coming in at midnight to check on materials stored. This was clearly above and beyond the call of duty and we appreciate your commitment!  This event made us aware that we need to keep our emergency contact list up to date.  We will be contacting faculty, scientists, and key lab people to make sure we have current phone numbers in case of emergency.  We also want to make sure that students and fellows file their emergency phone numbers with their programs.


Notes – 10/6/2013

It’s October and the Red Sox are still playing, so that has to be a good thing. Indeed, as of Sunday morning, the Red Sox at 2-0 in the play-offs, the Patriots are 4-0, and the Bruins are 2-0.  Good start all around for Boston sports fans.

Congratulations to Phil Demokritou, who just received a new 3 year grant from the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA)/USDA to develop “A Novel Intervention Nanotechnology For Fresh Produce Surface Disinfection Using Engineered Water Nanostructures.”  Fresh produce can be a significant source of pathogenic organisms and associated with serious foodborne disease outbreaks with increasing frequency. This chemical free nano-method will be used for the inactivation of pathogenic and spoilage microorganisms on the surface of fruits and vegetables. Well done, Phil!

Also, congratulations to Joel Cohen, who successfully defended his dissertation entitled “Nano-bio Interactions in an In Vitro System: Implications for Dosimetry and Nanotoxicology.

After 37 years of managing EH grants, Sheila Stewart decided it was time to retire.  Those whose grants she managed, including me, appreciate her dedication over all these years.  Do you think she’ll miss the pressures of grant deadlines and getting last minute signatures?  Best of luck in your new phase of life, Sheila!

Speaking of new phases of life, we also congratulate Elsie Sunderland, husband John and daughter Holley on their new baby girl, Willow Peach Ingahi Sunderland Frank.  We understand all are doing well.  We’ll see you after your leave, Elsie.  Enjoy!

We had a great start to our EH Colloquium Series entitled “Inside Environmental Health: Emerging Research in EH Laboratories”.  These monthly seminars feature short talks (15 minutes) on innovative work from researchers in our own labs.  We are looking for faculty, research scientists, post-docs, and students who want to introduce their research to your colleagues in the department.  Please check with Alissa Wilcox for open dates.

I hope you all are enjoying the last of the warm temperatures and the leaves as they change colors.


Notes – 9/18/2013

This week is Post-Doc Appreciation Week. We have almost 100 Post-Docs and Visiting Scientists in our department.  They are essential contributors to our research and training.  They put in long hours to generate the research results and papers.  We are proud to have so many outstanding young scientists as part of our community.  We should not need a special appreciation week, but it is a good reminder to say thank you for their contributions.  We know we could not be successful without them!

Last week the school year kicked into high gear, as classes began for the new and returning students. It is always a time of high energy, excitement, and promise for students, faculty, and staff.  We will start the academic year off with a Welcome Back Reception for all of our EH family on Tuesday, September 24 at 4:00 in the Kresge Cafeteria.  Please send an RSVP here if you plan to attend.

Our first Colloquium Series presentation is tomorrow, Thursday, September 19th at 4:00 in 1302.  This year the Series is entitled Inside Environmental Health: Emerging Research in EH Laboratories.  Each month we will be featuring three short talks on innovative work from our own labs.  This month we will hear from Alex Lu, Phil Demokritou and Marc Weisskopf talking about their labs.  There will be a social hour with refreshments after the talks. We look forward to seeing you there!

This fall the School kicks off its Centennial Celebration with a number of extraordinary events.  Check out the Centennial website.  On October 25th, there will be a HSPH Community Centennial Celebration with a cake and other festivities in the Cafeteria.  I also would encourage everyone to consider attending the Second Century Symposium on November 1st.  This all-day event will feature outstanding speakers and panelists from around the world discussing cutting edge innovation in the training of current and future leaders in public health.  There are a few spots left, but you need to register for it here.

Congratulations to Birgit Gunhild Claus Henn for receiving a K99 entitled “Metal Mixtures, Children’s Cognition, and Sensitive Developmental Windows.”  Well done!

Marc Weisskopf recently received a financial gift to study the epidemiology of autism in Israeli children.  He, along with Ranaan Raz, will be studying the possible link between maternal exposure to air pollution and stress and the incidence and prevalence of autism.  Marc also participated in a couple of website presentations geared to the general public.  He introduces himself and his interests here, and gives a lecture on the possible link between environmental contaminants and autism here.

Quan Lu is starting a project with colleagues for the Channing Lab entitled “Pharmacogenetics of Asthma Treatment.”

Xindi (Cindy) Hu reports that she had an “unforgettable” experience taking part in the HSPH/INSP Academic Exchange program with the Instituto Nacional de Salud Publica in Mexico.

I hope to see everyone at the EH Colloquium tomorrow and the Welcome Back reception next week. Enjoy the new semester and the nice crisp weather we’ve been having.


Notes – 9/2/2013

This was a great week as we welcomed our new students.  This year’s cohort includes 12 doctoral, 16 masters, and 6 MPH/medical residents.  We look forward to getting to know them over the coming weeks as they embark on their shared learning experience in the classroom and our research laboratories.   For those who new to the department, I write these department notes to highlight some of the work and accomplishments that are going on in our department.   I invite everyone to email me or Glenn Stern if you have some news to be included.

I am just returning from the joint meeting of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology, the International Society for Exposure Science, and the International Society for Indoor Air Quality in Basel, Switzerland.  We were well represented by our faculty, researchers, students, and alumni.  We had a great time on Tuesday night with a get-together of our alumni and friends at a local beer garden.  Thanks to Jaime Hart for finding such a fun place, and Gary Adamkiewicz for making it work. It was terrific to see so many of our current and former colleagues.   Kudos to Annette Peters, the current ISEE President, and Francine Laden, the incoming president, and our colleagues at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute for organizing such a terrific conference.  Congratulations to Thuy Lam who received an award from ISEE for her outstanding poster.

The Center for Health and Global Environment has several interesting stories about  saving our seafood, lungs in a warming world, and global environmental threats on its website.

Congratulations to David Christiani who received word that the HSPH Education and Research Center (ERC) of Occupational Safety and Health grant was renewed through 2018.  This grant, which is heading into its 36th year, supports occupational health training to professionals and students.  Proposals for training grants in general, and this one in particular, take a lot of administrative effort to put together, so congratulations to all of the faculty and administrators that had a hand in its submission.  Read more about the grant here.

Bob Herrick received a new R25 grant from the NIEHS Superfund Research Program to develop continuing education and academic curricula on occupational health and safety management practices in the areas of emerging technologies (e.g., emerging hazardous waste products, green chemistry, and sustainable remediation).  Congratulations Bob!   Read more about it here.

Rick Rogers also received a grant from the Office of Naval Research, entitled “Integrated NIR test platform for Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) studies.”  Well done, Rick!

Also, congratulations to Alberto Caban-Martinez for receiving a K01 award entitled “Determinants of Multisite Musculoskeletal Pain Among Construction Workers.”  Well done, Alberto!

Jin-Ah Park was invited to be on the editorial board of the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular BiologyCongratulations on receiving this honor, Jin-Ah!

Li Su was featured in “This Month’s Success Story” by HSPH’s Human Resources Department.  You can read about her career progression here.  Also, Philip Steininger  was recently promoted to Laboratory Research Assistant and Sara (Hagstrom) Akashian was promoted to Financial Associate/Grants Manager.  Congratulations all!

Congratulations to EER doctoral student Elena Austin for successfully defending her dissertation entitled “Identification of Temporal and Spatial Patterns in Multi-Variate Air Pollution Data Sets.

Caitlin Powers, a student who I recently mentioned in a previous Department Notes, was interviewed in this Harvard Gazette article.  She explains how her SolSource product can bring sustainable and less polluting grilling to poor and rural environments.

Joe Brain is working hard as he learns to use his two new knees. He’s delighted to be in his Essex home after two weeks in a rehab facility in Danvers. He thanks friends in EH for emails and cards, and especially everyone for the two boxes of delicious pears that were sent by the department. Joe sends his appreciation for this “good medicine,”and we wish him our best as his recovery continues!

Summer is a great time for weddings, and I know of at least three members of our department that would agree.  Our best wishes and congratulations go out to Sara (formerly Hagstrom) Akashian, Christa Watson and Elizabeth (Liz) Guzy who all tied the knot this summer.

I hope you enjoyed the summer and look forward to seeing everyone back for the fall semester.  Hope you are enjoying the Labor Day holiday!


Notes – 7/28/2013

In summer, the pace of school slows a bit as many of us are doing off-site field work or just vacationing.  Still, many exciting things happen in our department year round, and the summer is no exception.  We have lots of news to report this month.

Congratulations to Quan Lu, who received his second major R01 award this year.  This new one is entitled “Mechanism and Function of Beta-2 Adrenergic Receptor Degradation in the Lung.”  Well done, Quan!

Phil Demokritou also received an award from BASF, entitled “Development of Novel Release and Exposure Methods to Define EHS Implications across the LC of NEPS:  End of Life Incineration of NEPs.”  Nice going, Phil!

Congratulations to senior author Marc Weisskopf and colleagues Jaime Hart, Francine Laden, and Allan Just for their article entitled “Perinatal air pollutant exposures and autism spectrum disorder in the children of Nurses’ Health Study II participants” in the June 18 online issue of Environmental Health Perspectives.  A summary of their findings was featured on HSPH’s website.

Another important research publication entitled “Propulsion and navigation within the advancing monolayer sheet” appeared in Nature Materials online on June 23.  It also was featured on the HSPH website. This study describes how epithelial cells move inside the body, and may provide scientists with crucial information about disease mechanisms such as the spread of cancer or the constriction of airways caused by asthma.  Congratulations to first author Jae Hun Kim, along with senior author Jeff Fredberg and contributing authors Jim Butler, Dhananjay Tambe, Enhua Zhou, Chan Young Park, Monirosadat Sadati, Jin-Ah Park, Bomi Gweon, Xavier Trepat and Emil Millet and several of their colleagues.

Congratulations to Andrea Baccarelli, Joel Schwartz, and their colleagues for their paper entitled “Effects of Particulate Matter on Genomic DNA Methylation Content and iNOS Promoter Methylation” which named the Environmental Health Perspectives’ 2013 Classic Paper of the Year.  This award recognizes EHP’s most highly cited Research Article, Commentary, or Review Article over the preceding 60 months; this one was cited over 140 times since its publication in August 2010!  Well done, Andrea and Joel.

Alex Lu has had a couple of major stories featured recently about his work.  First, the Wall Street Journal featured him in a debate about the merits of organic food.  You can find that article here.  Separately, the Boston Sunday Globe Magazine recently had an article that prominently mentioned his research concerning bee colony collapse.  You can read the summary of it currently appearing on the HSPH website here.  Congratulations on getting news of your work out to the general public, Alex!

Barton Seaver was featured on NPR’s On Point with Tom Ashbrook.  Barton, a well-respected chef before joining our CHGE, talks about sustainable grilling.  You can listen to the program also find some of the delicious sounding recipes that he mentions.

Gary Adamkiewicz and Jim Hammitt have been asked to serve on the EPA’s Environmental Justice Technical Guidance Review Panel, under the auspices of the agency’s Science Advisory Board. This panel, the first of its kind for EPA, will provide advice and recommendations to EPA on the scientific soundness of its draft “Technical Guidance for Assessing Environmental Justice in Regulatory Analysis“.   This Guidance will shape the Agency’s methodology to assess disproportionate environmental and public health impacts of proposed rules and actions on minority, low income and indigenous populations in a variety of regulatory contexts.

In 2010 Caitlin Powers won an EPA award for developing a solar cooker designed to help villagers in China and India have a non-polluting, efficient way to cook meals.  They now have a kickstarter campaign to raise funds for this project.

Locally, the Harvard-NIEHS Center COEC co-sponsored the 2013 Health of Dorchester community forum, “A family discussion on sexual health and chronic disease,” at Dorchester House Multi-Service Center on June 26th. Major community partners of the event were the Boston Alliance for Community Health, MUA (Mujeres Unidas Avanzando), and the Boston Public Health Commission, and sponsors were the Center and Carney Hospital. Prior to the meeting, Trevon Mayers, Alex Carll, Alissa Wilcox, Ann Backus, and Madeleine Straubel screened meeting attendees with peak expiratory flow measurements.  During the forum, Ann Backus, Marie-Christine David, and Blair Wylie facilitated community discussions around the topic of sexual health following a presentation by Barbara Ferrer, Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission. Thanks to all for this outreach work in the community!

Hope you are enjoying the summer!


Notes – 6/16/2013

Now that our Commencement ceremony (preceded by a joyous Department luncheon for our graduates, their families and friends) is over, we have shifted into a calmer summer mode.  We welcome students who are taking our summer courses, and those that have or will be taking the opportunity to study abroad for the summer.  I myself am just back from Kuwait where we were recognizing the completion of the first twelve months of our TRACER birth cohort study.  1500 pregnant women enrolled.  Well done Feiby Nassan, Ayah Ahmed, Smitha Abraham, and our team in Kuwait (see picture below).  Also thanks to Bruce Boley, Costas Christophi, Roz Wright, and Yara Abu Awad.

Summer is traditionally a time of transition, and we have some news on that front.

Congratulations to Quan Lu who has been promoted to Associate Professor.  Quan, who is in our MIPS program, uses cutting-edge genetics and genomics approaches to focus on understanding the complex gene-environment interactions that are critically involved in diseases relevant to public health.  Please join me in congratulating Quan on this major milestone.

On a more bittersweet note, we are bidding Dan Tschumperlin a fond farewell as he leaves us to join the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.  Dan has been a faculty member in MIPS since 2001 and has been a major contributor to MIPS and our Department since then.  He will remain an adjunct faculty member here as he transitions into his new position.  We wish Dan all the best,  and we look forward to continued collaborations and contact with him in the future.

Christopher Hug, David Christiani, and Maitreyi Mazumdar of Children’s Hospital, received a faculty exploratory grant from the Harvard University Center for the Environment (HUCE).  The name of their project is “A New Model for Chronic Respiratory Disease: environmental arsenic exposure induces a novel form of cystic fibrosis.”

The Liberty Mutual Fellows, Lauren A. Murphy, Candace Nelson, Avinoam Borowsky, Jin Qin, and Sohit Karol (in absentia),  presented an update on their work on June 3rd at the  LM Research Institute for Safety in Hopkinton.  These fellows continue to be particularly productive.  Congratulations to them and there Liberty Mutual and Harvard mentors.  Thanks to Alberto Caban-Martinez and Ted Courtney for organizing this interesting afternoon and their leadership of this partnership.

The EPA Clean Air Research Center had an outstanding meeting of their Science Advisory Committee the week before last.  It was an extraordinary display of cutting edge research on exposure assessment, experimental studies, observational studies and biostatistical methods.  Too many outstanding presentations and posters to list them all.  Petros Koutrakis has done an exceptional job in marshaling this outstanding air pollution research team.  Thanks to Alice Smythe for organizing this meeting, to all the poster presenters, to the project and core leaders, and especially to Petros Koutrakis for his leadership of this premiere air pollution research program.

I understand there was heavy competition in the MIPS program’s dessert contest.  Winners in the cake category were (in order) Zhiping Yang, Helen Cho and Sally Bedugnis.  In the pie category it was Magda Bortoni, Andressa Louzada and Glen Deloid.  In the “other” category it was Sally Bedugnis, Rose Filoramo and Alissa Wilcox.   And the grand prize winner was … Sally Bedugnis for the dessert she calls Nutella Balls.  Actually, from what I understand everyone who attended was a winner.  Thanks to Marshall Katler for organizing it, and to all who participated.  Next year I’ll have to plan my travels so I won’t miss it!

It is a beautiful Father’s Day and the Bruins won last night.  Enjoy!


Notes – 5/29/2013

The academic year has just ended, and we are looking forward to joyously celebrating with our graduating students and their families tomorrow.

Several of us attended the American Thoracic Society (ATS) meeting in Philadelphia last week.  Several people in our department received awards in recognition of their work.   David Christiani received the John Peters award from the Environmental and Occupational Health Assembly.  This award honors John Peters, who was a graduate of our program and former director of ERC.  Very well deserved honor David.

The EOH Assembly also presented Abstract Scholarship awards to Joel Mathews, Mary Rice, and Shu-Yi Liao. Congratulations!

I would also note that the two top ATS awards went to graduates of our program.  Jonathan Samet received the Trudeau Metal, and David Schwartz gave the Amberson Lecture.

In other news, David Christiani was featured in an NIEHS newsletter article entitled “Arsenic:  Learning the Effects, Lessening the Impacts in Bangladesh.”  Read about it here.  It’s great to see his important work being recognized in such a high profile forum.  Congratulations David!

Congratulations also to Jae Hun Kim who works in Jeff Fredberg’s lab.  He just had his paper entitled “Propulsion and navigation with the advancing monolayer sheet” accepted at Nature Materials.

Philippe Grandjean has just published a book entitled “Only One Chance – How Environmental Pollution Impairs Brain Development – and How to Protect the Brains of the Next Generation.”  It is available at  You can save 20% by entering promo code 30168.  Congratulations Philippe!

Also, hearty congratulations to Renee Costa, senior grants manager in EER, for receiving her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Emmanuel College.  Renee is now currently working on getting a masters degree.  Well done, Renee!

You may have noticed that the HSPH website is starting to feature notable advances that were made at our school as part of its centennial celebration.  Our department has been integral to the school’s proud history.  Recently an article recalled when Philip Drinker, one of our department’s late great faculty members, invented what came to be known as the “Iron Lung,” which saved thousands of children from the ravages of polio.  Read about it here.

The Center for Health and Global Environment has posted videos of Al Gore’s lecture and Alex Lu’s Earth Day presentation about honeybee colony collapse in case you missed them.

I thought I would mention that there are a number of new initiatives that the school and/or our department have begun.  First, there is now a way to post surplus lab supplies; check out to see if there is anything your lab could use.

Also, our department’s strategic plan initiative continues to progress.  I would like to thank the students who participated (during finals week, no less) in our presentation about the strategic plan and gave us some terrific feedback.  The same was true for the post-docs and research scientists who attended a session we had for them.  Please continue to provide any suggestions you may have to our email address or use the suggestion boxes located in the administrative areas.

Separately, a good number of our department administrators participated in a new EH Communications Working Group which will be meeting to share knowledge about how to best use online platforms and social media in our department.  A similar financial administrators group has just recently been formed.  It’s terrific that lots of new initiatives are taking place to share ideas about how to make the school and our department ever better.  You can contact Glenn Stern if you want to learn more about any of them.

Let’s hope the weather is clear for the graduation ceremony tomorrow.


NOTES – 5/6/2013

Happy Cinco de Mayo! We have come to the final month of the academic year, and we are heading full speed towards commencement on May 30th.

Stefanos Kales was presented with the 2013 Kehoe Award for Excellence in Education and Research in Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the ACOEM conference.  This prestigious lifetime achievement award is presented to an individual for significant contributions made to academic excellence or research in the disciplines of occupational medicine, environmental medicine, and/or environmental health.  Congratulations Stefanos!

Matthieu Trudeau and Emily Sparer each won best presentation awards at the “Human Factors and Ergonomics Society – New England Chapter” in April.  Emily’s presentation was entitled “A method to capture survey data from construction workers pre‐ and post-exposure to a worksite intervention.” Matthieu’s was entitled “An ergonomic evaluation tool for handheld device keyboard designs.” Congratulations to you both, and to your collaborators that worked with you on your projects!

Congratulations also to Rose Goldman and Alberto Cabán-Martinez along withAmy Cohen, Dan Borelli,and Marie Dunn for being selected to present at the Harvard University IT summit.  With grant support from the Harvard Initiative for Learning and Teaching (HILT), they created an interactive multimedia teaching case entitled “Public Health Lessons of Ashland: A multimedia Case for Learning”.  Some of you may recognize this case from my EH 202 class.  They will be presenting on June 6.  This is a good example of thinking up new innovative ways to teach cases.  Great job!

Our Community Outreach and Engagement Core (COEC) of the Harvard-HIEHS Center grant has been very active lately.  On Sunday, March 29th, they participated in the Dorchester Winter Farmers’ Market, conducting Peak Flow tests on attendees to measure the health of their airways and educating folks about the importance of healthy diet and exercise, as well as the connections between air pollution and health. Much appreciation to Ann Backus, Fangli Geng, Liz Guzy, Nicole McAllister, Madeleine Straubel, Katy Terrell, and Fan Xu for staffing the event.

On Saturday, April 13th, they participated in the Cambridge Science Festival with a variety of activities designed to educate attendees about air quality and health. Visitors to the booth, coordinated with MIT COEC, could measure their Peak Flow, compare healthy and cancerous swine lungs, use Legos to model complete and incomplete combustion, and age themselves using computer software to 72 according to habits like smoking and getting too much sun. Thanks to Ann Backus and Madeleine Straubel for coordinating the event, and special thanks to the volunteers who participated: Oscar Arias, Adrianna Boulin, Chris Dobson, Liz Guzy, Maria Korre, Sharon Lee, Christina Mark, Caitlin Matson, Sonia Rosner, Alissa Wilcox, and Vivian Zeng.

Finally, the COEC group participated in a health open house for the Latino community at Dorchester House Multi-Service Center. Wan-Chen Lee, Rajarshi Mukherjee, Magda Bortoni Rodriguez, and Madeleine Straubel conducted Peak Flow screenings for open house attendees and other members of the Dorchester community. Special thanks to our hardworking volunteers!

Thanks to Ping Shao and Cindy Hu who organized a series of panel discussions on Environmental Health Consulting. Local consultants shared their experiences and offered advice to our students considering work in this field.  We have gotten very positive feedback on this career guidance panel. Well done Cindy and Ping!

Both Rose Filoramo and Christine Ordija passed their Pre Qualifying Exams this week.  They are BPH students doing their research in Les Kobzik’s lab.  Well done!

Finally, we want to wish Joe Brain a speedy recovery.

Even as we all scramble to complete the term’s assignments, I hope you all have a chance to enjoy the glorious spring Boston weather.


Notes – 4/13/2013

These past couple of weeks have been a challenge for many of the investigators in our department.  A small amount of asbestos was discovered late on Easter Sunday night causing the abrupt and immediate closing of the ground and first floors in Building 1.  This unfortunate incident resulted in major disruptions to many projects and experiments.   We have been working closely with Operations, who has hired a company that specializes in asbestos abatement.  They developed a plan that was approved by the Mass Department of Environmental Protection.  We are grateful that this occurred late at night, when almost nobody was around to be exposed at the time of the incident.  I am heartened by the willingness of several labs in our department to open their doors to fellow researchers in the affected labs so that they could continue to work.  In addition to making sure that everything in the affected areas gets cleaned and cleared of asbestos, the source of the asbestos, fire dampers in the vents in the lower floors, are being removed.  The first floor has re-opened, and we are hoping that the ground floor will be re-opened next week.    If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Glenn Stern who is our department’s point person on this issue.

As background, Building 1 was opened in 1962 as the Kresge Environmental Health Laboratory. It was originally only 4 floors.  The additional 10 floors were added starting in 1967.  These facilities are showing their age.

We did have other more positive news in the Department over the past several weeks.  Marc Weisskopf was senior author of a JAMA article that got a lot of attention.  It suggests that childhood abuse of mothers may be linked to autism in their children.  Read about it here.

Congratulations to Quan Lu, who won the Armen H. Tashjian, Jr. Award for Excellence in Endocrine Research.  Quan will be receiving his award and giving a lecture entitled “Message in a Nano-Vesicle: A New Way of Receptor Signaling and Cell Communication” on Wednesday, May 1 at 4:00 in Kresge G3.  Well done, Quan!

We also had several students who successfully completed their defenses:
Jennifer Garza – New Tools for the Assessment of Office Workers’ Muscle Activity, Posture, and Force Exposures During Computer Use, and Their Applications
Andreas Neophytou – Methods for Assessing Health Effects of Respirable Exposures
John Ji – Effect of Lead Exposure on Neuromotor Function and Movement Disorder
Wei Jie Seow – Genetic and Epigenetic Interactions of Arsenic-induced Skin Lesions
Shu-Yi Liao – Genome-Wide Association and Gene-Environment Interaction Analyses of Lung Function in the Framingham Heart Study
Marianthi-Anna Kioumourtzoglou – Bias, Uncertainty and Multi-Pollutant Exposures in Air Pollution Health Studies
Matthieu Trudeau – Handheld Device Design Affects Thumb Biomechanics
And Raphael Arku passed his orals.  Raphael is also featured in a video about the impact of financial aid.

Congratulations all!

Congratulations to Barbara Zuckerman, Alissa Wilcox and Li Su who were nominated along with 22 other HSPH colleagues as 2013 Harvard Heroes. Thanks for making our lives better here.

We had another great presentation in our Colloquium Series.  Paige Tolbert, Professor and Chair of the Department of Environmental Health at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, was our featured speaker.  It was nice to welcome Paige, who was a post-doc in the occupational health program.  On April 25, our next presentation will feature Gwen Collman, Director of the Division of Extramural Research and Training at the NIEHS.

The positive aspect of the closing of the ground and 1st floors was that it gave us additional encouragement to walk the stairs.  Our team on the 13th floor completed the virtual climb of Mt. Elbrus this week.  There is one more week to reach the top.  Awards will be presented during Earth Week (April 22nd to 26th).

Many of our colleagues are at MIT today helping with the Cambridge Science Festival.  Thanks and have fun!!

I’m off to the west coast for a series of meetings including the annual Health Effects Institute and NIEHS Center Directors meetings.

Take care, all.


Notes – 3/24/2013

It’s hard to believe Spring Break is here, especially with snow still on the ground.  I hope all of our students enjoyed their week off and recharged their batteries for the final push that will carry them through the rest of the academic year.

On Saturday, several of us participated in a Memorial Service for Don Hornig, who was our Department Chair from 1987 to 1990 and Founding Director of the Interdisciplinary Program in Health.  As a young physicist, Don played a key role in the development of the atomic bomb.  He served as Science Advisor to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, and was President of Brown University. Here at HSPH he was instrumental in establishing the culture of multidisciplinary approaches to addressing complex environmental health problems.  We have established a Fellowship to honor his contributions to the School and our Department.

Congratulations to Elsie Sunderland who received an NSF grant entitled “Methylmercury Interactions with Marine Plankton.”  Elsie will be collaborating with teams from SUNY at Stony Brook and University of Connecticut.  Well done!

Also, congratulations to lead author Gary Adamkowicz and co-authors Ami Zota, Patricia Fabian, Teresa Chahine, Rhona Julien, Jack Spengler, and Jon Levy for receiving a “Paper of the Year Award” from the American Journal of Public Health.  Their paper was entitled “Moving Environmental Justice Indoors: Understanding Structural Influences on Residential Exposure Patterns in Low-Income Communities.”   The journal commented, “This paper is a reminder that confining environmental justice concerns to the outside environment misses a large source of inequity”. Well done for bringing this important subject to light!

Over in our Center for Health and the Global Environment, Barton Seaver was featured in an article in the Boston Globe entitled “A Former Chef Becomes a Sustainable Food Expert.”  Also, please join me in welcoming Marcy Franck, CHGE’s new Communications Coordinator, to our Department.

Last week we welcomed back Stephanie London, an alumnus of the School and currently Principal Investigator in Genetic Susceptibility and the Environment at the NIEHS, who gave a presentation in our Leaders in EH Colloquium Series.  The next speaker will be Paige Tolbert, Chair of the Department of Environmental Health at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health on April 11th.

I’m looking forward to this Wednesday’s Piece of the Chair.  All staff, students and faculty are welcome to stop by Building 1, 1301 from noon to 1:30.  We’ll have pizza and refreshments, and it will give us all a chance to reconnect after the Spring break.

Many of us will be traveling up to Nashua, NH on Friday for a luncheon honoring Bill Burgess, who will be receiving the 2013 Emeritus Professor Award of Merit.  The citation reads:

William A. Burgess, associate professor of occupational health engineering, emeritus, a leader in the field of industrial hygiene, has devoted his illustrious career to the development and application of engineering solutions to the amelioration of workplace hazards.  He is well known for generating innovative and effective methods to evaluate and control workers’ exposure to toxic air contaminants.  Notably, he has made the workplace safer by improving the design of personal protection equipment, in particular, lightweight, ergonomic respirators for use by firefighters.  Professor Burgess is also recognized as one of the world’s leading educators in industrial hygiene, as the co-founder of the school’s flagship course in this field—which has trained generations of health and safety professionals, and as author of the definitive text on workplace ventilation.

We are proud to acknowledge Professor Burgess’s six decades of affiliation with the Harvard School of Public Health and are deeply grateful for his distinguished, dedicated service to this institution and to the field of industrial hygiene.

We are looking forward to celebrating this award with Bill and Joyce and many of his colleagues and trainees.

I know many department members have joined teams as part of the “Take the Stairs” campaign.  We have a team on the 13th floor.  Please let me know the name of your teams.  See you on the stairs (and at the Piece of the Chair) next week!


Notes – 3/9/2013

Congratulations to Iny Jhun for a number of recent accomplishments.  She published her first paper in the Journal of Air and Waste Management Association, entitled “PM2.5 mass and species trends in Santiago, Chile, 1998 to 2010: The impact of fuel-related interventions and fuel sales”.  She also recently passed her oral qualifying exam.  Last but not least, we’d like to recognize Iny for creating an after school math & science tutoring program at the Roxbury Charter School. Many of these middle school students come from financially disadvantaged backgrounds. Iny has recruited 24 other HSPH students who tutor once a week, and have now logged in over 150 student-hours of tutoring since November!  Thanks to EH students Sandra Pirela and Julianne Boccuzzi for taking part in this program.  Iny invites any other students, staff or faculty members who are interested in becoming volunteer tutors to contact her at  She says that there are plenty more kids that could use a hand!

Next, congratulations to Andrea Baccarelli, who has been invited to join the editorial review board of the Environmental Health Perspectives journal.  Well done, Andrea!

Alex Lu received notice of a grant from Wells Fargo to continue his research on Colony Collapse Disorder among honeybees.  This opportunity was facilitated by our new partners at the Center for Health and the Global Environment.  Congratulations to Alex and thanks to Wells Fargo and the folks at CHGE.

This week Jack Spengler spoke to Harvard Alumni in Chicago on “Our Moment in Time: The Next Phase of Climate Change”.  Attendees included many of our graduates who were happy to catch up with their former teacher and mentor.  Thanks for helping us stay connected Jack.

The School held its annual “Celebration of the Stars” event last week to show its appreciation for people working here that have reached a milestone anniversary.  On behalf of our Department, I would like to congratulate and thank EH members who celebrated the following milestones:

30 years:  Rose Goldman; 25 years:  Joan Arnold and Diane Gold; 20 years:  Jim Shine and Nancy Long Sieber; 15 years: Christina Kehoe, James Stewart and Li Su; 10 years:  Ramace Dadd, Philippe Grandjean, John McCracken and Ema Rodrigues; and 5 years: Isabelle Altman, Sally Bedugnis, Sanjukta Ghosh, Anthonia Grant, Michaela Kapp, Myra Keller, Quan Lu, Phuong-son Nguyen, Jin-Ah Park, Juliana Rosario, Rosalinda Sepulveda, Bernardo Lemos, Dhananjay Tambe, Kat von Stackelberg, and Barbara Zuckerman. 

Thank you to all of our EH Stars for your years of service!

And finally, speaking of milestones, I’d like to congratulate Joe Brain for teaching his course “The Human Organism” to undergraduates for an amazing 40 years!  Joe’s accomplishment was featured on the HSPH website here, as this will be the final year that he teaches it.  Fortunately for the undergrads, Stephanie Shore, who is currently co-teaching it with him, will be continuing to offer the course in the future.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Notes – 2/15/2013

A week ago we were in the middle of our first significant snow of the past two years.  I’m glad to see that everyone made it through and we are all back in the swing of things.  The storm was a blessing for me, allowing me to work at home on the competing renewal application of our Harvard-NIEHS Center.  We submitted on Wednesday.  This is a very large and important grant not only for our Department, but also for other departments and the school.  Now in its 50 year, it is the oldest continuously funded NIEHS grant. I want to thank all of the faculty and staff (too numerous to mention here) who contributed to this application.  While we need to wait for it to be reviewed to see whether or not it gets funded, I am very proud of the quality of our submission.  Again, thanks to everyone that worked on it!

Our Department’s Center for Health and the Global Environment (CHGE) had a very big week last week.  The main event was the inaugural Paul R. Epstein Memorial Lecture delivered by former Vice President Al Gore.  Dr. Paul Epstein, who passed away in 2011, was one of the founders of the CHGE and served as Associate Director.  Paul was a pioneer in elucidating the links between climate change and public health.   It was altogether fitting, therefore, that Al Gore spoke about the dangers of climate change, its causes, and its consequences for health.   Introducing Mr. Gore were Dean Julio Frenk, current CHGE Director Jack Spengler, and co-founder and former Director of CHGE Eric Chivian.  You can read more about the event here.  Congratulations to CHGE for hosting this inspiring major event.

The next day, Eric Chivian was the featured speaker at the Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition’s Retreat, which brought together the major land conservation groups and Massachusetts state agency leaders.  His talk was entitled “Global Environmental Threats: Why They are Hard to See and How Physicians Can Help.”  He stressed how the medical/public health model can help people to understand environmental threats in concrete ways that affect them personally.

Congratulations to Quan Lu, who received a new R01 entitled “Arsenic Exposure, ER Stress and Type 2 Diabetes” from NIEHS.  Great job, Quan!

Also, congratulations to Sam Myers, who received a Gates Foundation grant entitled “Quantifying human vulnerability to changes in crop nutrients resulting from rising concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide.”  Well done, Sam!

Hearty congratulations to Jin-Ah Park, who received two awards.  The first is an award from the Parker B. Francis Fellowship Program for Jin-Ah’s proposal entitled ““Bronchial epithelial cells as a source of angiogenic factors.”  The second is a four year grant from the American Heart Association entitled “Mechanoresponsive regulators of angiogenesis in asthmatic airway remodeling.”  Well done, Jin-Ah!

Marc Weisskopf was interviewed in a recent feature article in the MDA/ALS NewsMagazine in which he discusses possible environmental factors in ALS.  Find out more here.

Diane Gold gave a well-received presentation as part of the Environmental Health Colloquium for our colloquia on Valentine’s Day that was appropriately called “An Intimate Affair:  our Ancient, Complex and Evolving Relationship with Microbes.”  Thanks Diane!  The next presentation in our Environmental Health Colloquium Series will be by Dr. Stephanie London, P.I. of Genetic Susceptibility and the Environment from the NIEHS on March 14.

Finally, we were delighted to learn that the Faculty Council has named Bill Burgess the 2013 Outstanding Emeritus Faculty.  Starting in the mid 1960’s, Bill was one of the leaders in in what was then called the Department of Industrial Hygiene, which has evolved to become the present day EOME program in the Department of Environmental Health.  Since becoming emeritus, Bill has continued to teach in our Professional Education courses.  Bill richly deserves this very prestigious award for his lifetime of excellence in researching the connection between occupational exposures and diseases.  Congratulations Bill!

I hope you all enjoy the upcoming President’s Day weekend.



Notes – 1/29/2013

Welcome back to our faculty and students who were away during the winter session!   We hope you had a fulfilling learning experience in the “real world.”  We would like to hear about what you were up to; please drop me a note.

Nancy Long Sieber has returned from facilitating  a 2-week course,  “Non-communicable Disease Prevention in India,” directed by Richard Cash and hosted by Lown Visiting Professor Srinath Reddy and his Public Health Foundation in New Delhi.  Participants were physicians and researchers who work in low and middle income countries.  Included were 4 MPH students, Vikas Pabby, Shilpa Sharma, Candace Brown and Stephanie Cheng, as well as 2 Lown Scholars, Marina Njelekela, a physician from Tanzania and Feiby Nassan, a physician from Egypt and a graduate of our Cyprus Institute.

By the way, Bernie Lown, the inspiration for these activities, maintains an interesting and active website.  His latest blog entry is entitled  “Nature has the upper hand. So far it has “gently” protested, but …” provides a thoughtful and provocative look at the causes and implications of climate change.

We were sorry to hear of the death of Don Hornig, our dear colleague and former Chair of the Department of Environmental Science and Physiology (1988-90).  He was the founding Director of the Interdisciplinary Programs in Health.  Don received the 2012 Professor Emeritus Award of Merit.  Memorial articles can be found on the HSPH website, the Washington Post, and the NY Times.

The Department is incredibly productive in terms of publications, and we do not normally note individual publications.  However, whenever someone succeeds in completing the Health Effects Institute editorial process, it is worth noting.  So congratulations to Tom Smith, Mary Davis, Jaime Hart, Andrew Blicharz, Francine Laden and Eric Garshick on publication of their HEI  research report entitled “Potential Air Toxics Hot Spots in Truck Terminals and Cabs.”

We are trying to acknowledge new grants.  Les Kobzik started the year off right by receiving a new NHLBI R01 entitled “Plasma Gelsolin and Host Defense After Lung Injury.”  And Quan Lu received notice of award for an NIEHS R01 entitled “Arsenic exposure, ER stress and Type 2 diabetes.”  Great work Les and Quan, and everyone who helped prepare these applications!

Congratulations also to Sandra Pirela who just passed her oral qualify exam.

I’m looking forward to seeing you all at our annual department winter celebration this Thursday at 4:00 in the Kresge cafeteria.  This year we have a pirate theme, so stop by, enjoy the food and libations and say “Ahoy” to your fellow mates and their families! ARGH Matey!