Latest Notes

Notes – 5/17/2015

dckryWe have LOTS of news to share with the department! Marc Weisskopf was senior author on a paper published in BMJ entitled “The relation between past exposure to fine particulate air pollution and prevalent anxiety: observational cohort study.” This was a nice collaboration between the EER and EOME programs in our department as well as the Department of Epidemiology and the Channing. Other EH authors that contributed include Marianthi Kioumourtzoglou, Jamie Hart, and Francine Laden. Well done all!

The United Nations Environment Programme puts out a magazine every two months called Our Planet. This month the issue is dedicated to links between health and global environment in anticipation of the World Health Assembly. Sam Myers has an essay featured in it here.

Elsewhere, Morteza Asgarzadeh was co-author of a study featured in the journal Injury Prevention on bicycle safety. It is featured on the school website here.

David Christiani gave the 2015 Anne Baetjer Lecture at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health with a presentation entitled “The Shanghai Textile Worker Lung Disease Cohort: Just When You Thought the Workplace Was Safe.”

Clifton Dassuncao will be starting his EPA fellowship entitled “Immunotoxicity Risks Associated with Exposures to Perflourinated Compounds (PFCs).” Congratulations Clifton!

As we get closer to graduation, several of our students have achieved academic milestones.  Peter Umukoro successfully defended his dissertation entitled “Fine Particulate Exposure and Cardiac Autonomic Effects in Welders.”

Sandra Pirela successfully defended her dissertation entitled “Linking Exposures to Engineered Nanomaterials Released from Nano-Enabled Products to Biology: A Case Study of Laser Printers.

Nancy Diao successfully defended her dissertation entitled “Prenatal Metals Exposure and Child Birth and Growth in Bangladesh.”

Muzo Wu successfully defended her dissertation entitled “Innate Immunity Immunomodulators of Post-influenza Bacterial Pneumonia.”

Peter Wagner successfully defended his dissertation entitled “From Neural Stem Cells to Children: Secreted Phosphoprotein 1 in Lead Neurotoxicity.”

In addition, Cheng Peng, Ryan Calder, and Shangzhi Gao all passed their oral examinations.

Emily Sparer’s dissertation about construction worker safety is featured on the school website here.

Congratulations to you all!

Ann Backus, Director of Outreach for our Harvard-NIEHS Center Community Outreach and Engagement Core (COEC), reported that the COEC participated with the MIT Center COEC in the Cambridge Science Festival on Saturday April 18, 2015. Our Harvard Chan exhibit, titled “A Closer Look at Exposures,” included five interactive stations where participants young and older could measure their peak expiratory flow and discuss airway health, observe the differences between healthy and diseased lungs when inflating them,  use Lego™ blocks to demonstrate how carbon particles result from incomplete combustion, measure their ECG and discuss the effects of diesel exposure on cardiac response, and have an image of themselves “aged” based on whether they smoked or became obese. We thank the following for providing wonderful help during the day: HSPH doctoral and postdoctoral students, Maria Korre, Konstantina Sampani, and Alex Carll; EER research assistant, Zhao Dong; high school students Henry Long-Sieber, Olivia and Alexis Aronowitz; Visiting Scholar, Eva Madrid Aris; program assistant, Tiffany Sarkissian; and Doug’s executive assistant, Alissa Wilcox.

As evidence that we live in both a big and a small world, three environmental health ScDs from HSPH who work for the CDC volunteered for the Emergency Ebola Response and all happened to end up being posted in Sierra Leone over the winter: Ginger Chew (30 days), Carol Rao (60 days), and Rey deCastro (60 days). See picture below.

emergency ebola responders

In another part of the world that is struggling, Renee Salas is a part-time MPH student (currently on leave) with ties to both our department and MGH. She found herself in the Everest region at the time of the earthquake and avalanches. Her story has been reported in both the Harvard Gazette and the Boston Globe. We are grateful that she is safe and thankful that she is using her medical skills to help ease the suffering of the people in need.

Congratulations to Shangzhi Gao on the birth of her daughter, Elizabeth Zhou! Both are reportedly doing well.

Finally, we have several staff in our department that were nominated for various prestigious university and school awards. Patrice Ayers, John Yong, Alissa Wilcox and Nicole Bellisle were all nominated for the Harvard Heroes Award. They are all heroes to us! Congratulations to Alissa and Nicole, who were selected to receive the awards in Cambridge.

Also, congratulations to Patrice Ayers and Barbara Zuckerman, who are both among the twelve people nominated for the Sarah K. Wood Award for Outstanding Service. Congratulations to them all, and thank you to the people that took the time to recognize their contributions by nominating them.

We are heading into the busiest time of the year, as finals, dissertations, and various grant deadlines are all due soon. Good luck to everyone! The good news is the weather is beautiful and graduation / summer is right around the corner.