Meet the Grantees

Last update: May, 2023

2019 Awardees 

Dr. Christa Watson-Wright
Assistant Professor in Environmental Health Toxicology
Georgia State University, School of Public Health

Before obtaining her faculty position, Dr. Christa Watson-Wright was an Alonzo Yerby Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She obtained her doctorate in Energy and Environmental Systems from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, North Carolina in 2011. In her five years at Harvard, she was dedicated to uncovering the novel toxicities of engineered nanomaterials and chemical inhalation exposures to reduce potential public health hazards. She retains a membership within the Center for Nanotechnology and Nanotoxicology (Harvard NanoCenter), which aims to address unique environmental health and safety concerns raised by engineered nanomaterials and nanotechnology applications. Within the NanoCenter, her research focus was on the genotoxicity of metal oxide engineered nanoparticles (ENPs), the development of high throughput/high content screening assays, and nanosafety. Her project within the Hoffman Program on Chemicals & Health, DELTA: Do repeated pulmonary exposures to aerosolized cosmetics alter redox status and lead to sensitization or adaptation?, involves evaluating the effects of inhaled ENPs and nano-enabled products on pulmonary responses to bacterial exposures.

Dr. Anna Young and Dr. Joseph G. Allen
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Joseph G. Allen is an Associate Professor of Exposure Assessment Science at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.  He also established and serves as director of the Harvard Healthy Buildings Program.  The goal of the program is to improve the health of all people, in all buildings, everywhere, every day. Dr. Anna Young is a researcher associate at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and serves as the Associate Director of the Healthy Buildings Program.  She earned her Master’s degree in Environmental Health in 2018 and her PhD in Population Health Sciences Environmental Health from the Harvard Chan School in 2020, with Dr. Allen serving as her mentor.  Her research is focused on assessing indoor exposures to complex mixtures of known and unknown chemicals that disrupt hormones, and on developing scientific evidence for healthier materials as a strategy to reduce these chemical exposures in buildings. Their proposed pilot study, Evaluating predictors of chemical exposures in offices world-wide using silicone wristbands, aims to identify factors that contribute to chemical exposures in global office settings and determine the effectiveness of wristbands as sampling devices in such studies.

2017 Awardee

Dr. Irina Mordukhovich
Research Associate in the Department of Environmental Health
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Dr. Irina received a Ph.D. in epidemiology at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on environmental epidemiology, specifically associations between air pollution and metal exposure and cardiovascular, respiratory and cognitive health outcomes. Her proposed pilot study, Investigation of the Chemical Content of Airline Crew Uniforms after Health Complaints, tries to analyze chemical compounds in archived flight attendant uniform samples, which will account for volatility of uniform-associated chemicals, and work factors such as humidity, UV radiation and ozone in the aircraft cabin. The findings will help inform American Airlines flight attendants about the health issues they are experiencing, and may have broader implications for a largely unregulated textile industry.

2016 Awardees 

Dr. Bernardo Lemos
R. Ken and Donna Coit Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology
R. Ken Coit College of Pharmacy at the University of Arizona

His research is focused on understanding the mechanism by which environmental exposures give rise to long-term changes in the expression of genes.  These environmental perturbations can reshape biological networks, alter regulatory responses and disease risk, and modulate the emergence of genetic and epigenetic variation.  Genetic and epigenetic controls are crucial in cellular differentiation, immune system development, neurogenesis, and normal cellular function. These controls are labile and disrupted by chemical environmental exposures through an individual’s development and aging. His work has centered on the ribosomal DNA arrays and other repetitive elements of the genome, as well as a variety of environmental stressors of public health relevance. His pilot project funded by the Hoffman Program, Ribosomal DNA copy number: a novel epigenetic modulator and platform for analyses of adaptation and sensitization to repeated chemical exposures, explores the biological role of rDNA copy number and improve methods for rDNA CN determination.

Dr. Damaskini “Dania” Valvi
Assistant Professor, Environmental Medicine and Public Health
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Dr. Valvi is an Assistant Professor at Mount Sinai. Previously, she was a research associate at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The main focus of her research is the impact of environmental chemicals on maternal metabolic health, pregnancy outcomes and newborn’s growth and development through adulthood. She currently works with colleagues and collaborators on data from prospective cohorts of children and adults in the Faroe Islands, the U.S., Spain and other world regions. Her studies aim to shed light on the metabolic health consequences and mechanistic pathways associated with chemicals classified as endocrine disruptors, including perfluoroalkyl substances, organochlorine pesticides, phenols, phthalates, and toxic metals. Her project funded by the Hoffman Program, Elucidating the role of adipocytokines and insulin-like growth factors in the pathogenesis of metabolic diseases linked to early life environmental pollutant exposures, aims to evaluate the associations of both prenatal and postnatal exposures to environmental pollutants with repeated measures of serum adipocytokines and GH/IGF-1 axis factors from birth through early puberty, using data from an existing Faroese birth cohort.

2015 Awardees 

Robin DodsonDr. Robin Dodson
Associate Director of Research Operations and Research Scientist
Silent Spring Institute

Dr. Robin Dodson’s research focuses on three main areas: development of novel exposure measurements for epidemiological and community-based studies, analysis of environmental exposure data with a particular emphasis on semi-volatile organic compounds such as phthalates and flame retardant chemicals, and intervention studies aimed at reducing chemical exposures. Dr. Dodson oversees the Institute’s consumer product exposure research. She was the lead author on a landmark peer-reviewed study on endocrine disrupting and asthma-associated chemicals in more than 200 consumer products. As part of the Centers for Disease Control’s Green Housing study, she is currently investigating exposure in children with asthma to chemicals in consumer products and building materials. She leads Silent Spring’s Healthy Green Campus project, a research effort aimed at making health an integral part of sustainability practices on college campuses, which is also supported by the Hoffman Pilot Grant.

Dr. Dodson completed her doctorate in environmental health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Dodson is an adjunct assistant professor of environmental health at Boston University School of Public Health and also holds an appointment as a visiting scientist at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Eileen McNeely
Dr. Eileen McNeely
Instructor, Department of Environmental Health
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Dr. McNeely currently conducts research and teaches in the Environmental Occupational Medicine and Epidemiology Program at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She has worked as a consultant, researcher, clinician, and educator in the field for over twenty years. She is Co-Director of SHINE at the Center for Health and the Global Environment, where she co-leads the initiative for the sustainability of health and human capital in the workplace. Dr. McNeely is also the principal investigator of a larger study on aviation crew health, and is working with corporate partners of SHINE to develop the Well-Being Index, which measures the well-being and health in worker populations. She received her clinical training as a Nurse Practitioner from the University of Connecticut, and holds a Ph.D. from the Heller School at Brandeis University. She is investigating Airline Crew Health Complaints Before and After New Uniforms under the support of the Hoffman Pilot Grant.

Dr. Ramon Molina

Dr. Ramon Molina recently retired after nearly three decades as a research scientist in Physiology in the Department of Environmental Health at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Molina received veterinary medical training in the Philippines, a Diploma in Veterinary Public Health at University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and both a Master of Public Health as well as a Doctor of Science degree from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. His area of interest and expertise was pulmonary toxicology and pharmacokinetics of inhaled and ingested particles and other toxins in the environment. With the support of the Hoffman Pilot Grant, Dr. Molina developed models to explore  With the support of the Hoffman Pilot Grant, Dr. Molina is developing animal models to explore Sensitization or Adaptation Induced by Repeated Pulmonary Exposures to Zinc.

Diddier Prada

Dr. Diddier Prada
Associate Research Scientist
Department of Environmental Health Science, Columbia University

Dr. Diddier Prada is currently an associate research scientist at the Laboratory of Precision Environmental Science at Columbia University.  Previously, he was a research associate at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He is interested in Environmental Toxicology, Epigenetics, and their relationship with human diseases, especially those age-related. Dr. Prada has been working with air pollution (PM2.5 and black carbon) and Lead (Pb) exposures, evaluating genetic and epigenetic mediators and interactions, especially APOE gene and DNA methylation, and has evaluated its effect on several cardiovascular, neurodegenerative, ophthalmological, bone, endocrine, and cancer-related outcomes. Dr. Prada holds an M.D. from Universidad Industrial de Santander, Colombia, and a Ph.D. from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México. He is studying Breast Milk Exosomes and Mechanisms of Immunotoxicity from Perfluorinated Compounds (PFCs) and Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) under the support of the Hoffman Pilot Grant.

MWeisskopfDr. Marc Weisskopf
Cecil K and Phillip Drinker Professor of Environmental Epidemiology and Physiology
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Dr. Marc Weisskopf’s research interests, mostly stemming from his background in neurobiology, focus on how environmental factors affect the nervous system, as well as the epidemiology of neurologic disorders. Dr. Weisskopf has been working with large cohorts to explore the health effect of air pollution, particularly regarding cognitive function and psychiatric symptoms, such as autism, ALS, and Parkinson’s Disease. He is also trying to develop new ways of examining impacts on the nervous system. Dr. Weisskopf holds a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from University of California, San Francisco, and a Sc.D. in Epidemiology from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. With the support of the Hoffman Pilot Grant, he is looking at The Association Between Maternal Air Pollution Exposure and the Risk of Autism in Israel.