Leadership from each of the center's cores and research interest groups has developed a seminar series to be hosted on a regular basis. These seminar sessions are designed to facilitate cross-collaboration between disciplines, provide networking among colleagues, and allow center researchers time to meet one-on-one with the featured speaker. Use the links below to view recordings and download slides for archived seminars or click to register for future events.
"Investigations of PFAS Around Industrial Manufacturing Sites" by Dr. Mark Strynar
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have gone from environmental obscurity two decades ago, to one of the most common representations of environmental contaminants at present. A long history of production, use, disposal, and emission from a global network of sources is evident in the environmental literature. Compounding the issue of environmental contamination is the cooccurrence of historical PFAS, with contemporary produced/emitted PFAS in collected samples. Targeted analysis of environmental samples with low resolution MS/MS is the method of choice for known contaminants. Unfortunately, only a select species (<100) of 1000s of PFAS are sufficiently known and amenable to targeted analysis. A series of industrial site investigations within and outside of the United States at active production facilities have provided new insights into current and future PFAS. Therefore, high-resolution mass spectrometry and non-targeted analysis (NTA) methods are more appropriate for novel compound discovery. Parsing and annotation of 100s to 1000s of mass spectral features from these investigations is time consuming and quite often leads to PFAS of unknown or suspect identification. Application of mass spectral feature alignment (m/z, retention time abundance) coupled with application of the aftermarket FluoroMatch software packet has helped to make recent advancement in many of these site investigations. Such MS application can simultaneously rule out legacy PFAS not requiring further exploration (e.g. M-H, CO2 loss, gas phase dimers) while identifying features demanding further scrutiny (e.g. CF2 Kendrick mass defect homologous series). Water samples collected near and distant from production sites aid in source apportionment. This talk will focus on the procedures used to identify suspected and novel PFAS at these facilities while offering insight into future PFAS for consideration on a broader scale. Contemporary production and use facility emissions are a strong indication of future environmental contaminants. Even in unknown compound identification, having knowledge of homologous series grouping (e.g. CF2, CF2O, CF2CH2, others) and characteristic negative mass defect alone help in sifting through scores of data needing more intensive analyst follow-up. Examples of unknown compounds within a known homologous series, and well as novel one-off and homologs will be presented. The natural progression of methods from novel compound discovery to robust targeted methods hinges on this critical identification first step and is often at industrial production and use facilities.
Dr. Strynar is a Physical Scientist in the Office of Research and Development of the U.S, Environmental Protection Agency since 2002. His research interests include the use of high resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) to investigate the fate and transport of per and poly fluorinated compounds (PFAS) and other xenobiotic compounds in biological and environmental media. Additionally, he is interested in novel compound discovery in environmental media and development of analytical methods for unique biomarkers of exposure to chemicals that are useful for dosed animal or human epidemiological studies.
No recording available for this event.
"A Health Policy Hurricane: Promoting Health in a Changing Climate" by Dr. Sue Ann Bell
Recent extreme weather events have pushed the US’s disaster response system to its limit. Such disasters are contributing to multiple detrimental effects on individuals and communities. Dr. Bell's NIH-funded research focuses on the health and well-being of aging populations in the context of a disaster, with the goal of building resilient communities. This talk will focus on 1) research on the health impacts of disasters with an emphasis on chronic health conditions, 2) Dr. Bell's experiences as a clinician-scientist focusing on-the ground disaster response, and 3) a discussion of the urgent policy and scientific needs around aging populations and disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.
Dr. Bell is faculty at the University of Michigan School of Nursing, working at the intersection of research, policy and practice to address the health effects of disasters and public health emergencies. Dr. Bell’s research focuses on the health and well-being of aging populations in the context of disaster, where she studies the long-term health impact of disasters with an emphasis on chronic health conditions. She is currently serving on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Advisory Council, as well as on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s National Council on Seniors and Disasters. She is active in disaster response as a nurse practitioner through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s National Disaster Medical System with over a dozen recent deployments including to the COVID-19 pandemic response and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.
"Weatherizing Homes in a Changing Climate: A Triple Win?" by Dr. Carina Gronlund
With climate change and an aging population, the health burden of extreme temperatures may rise. Disparities in housing quality are already recognized as a major driver of health disparities, and rising indoor temperatures may exacerbate these disparities. Weatherization, i.e., air sealing, insulation, HVAC upgrades, etc., may provide a triple win of helping low-to-moderate income households adapt to climate change while reducing greenhouse gas emissions through improved energy efficiency and reducing health disparities related to indoor temperature and air quality.
"Protecting Health in a Changing Climate" by Dr. Caleb Dresser
Climate-responsive hazards are escalating and can have significant impacts on both patients and healthcare facilities. Climate change is linked to increasing risk from heatwaves, flooding, fires, hurricanes, and biome change, all of which have negative health impacts. Addressing these hazards requires action at many scales; this talk will focus on the role of frontline healthcare facilities serving patients at high risk from climate impacts. The Climate Resilient Clinics team has conducted needs assessments, developed toolkits for administrators and clinicians, is working with ClimateCentral to offer targeted heat alerts, and is conducting ongoing evaluation and refinement of this approach. Practical steps that can be taken to understand and address climate-related health hazards will be discussed.
Dr. Dresser leads the Climate MD program at the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, which works with frontline health clinics to prepare a climate-ready healthcare workforce. He is also the Assistant Director of the Climate & Human Health Fellowship for physicians, an emergency medicine physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and an Instructor in Emergency Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
"A Causal Analysis of the Complex Mental Health Impacts of the Climate Disasters Among Youth and Adolescents" by Dr. Maggie Sugg
Dr. Maggie Sugg is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography & Planning at Appalachian State University. Her research focuses on the spatiotemporal patterns of environmental health illnesses and how these patterns relate to environmental, socioeconomic, and climatic determinants. Dr. Sugg has 65 publications on the intersection of climate and public health. She is a recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER award and the Environmental Protection Agency's STAR fellowship in Public Health and funding from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).
Adolescence and young adulthood are key times for the development of mental health disorders. Despite the frequency of climate-related natural disasters, like hurricanes, wildfires, and heatwaves, little is known about their effects on mental health in this group. This research furthers knowledge on the impact of mental health from climate disasters using a quasi-experimental design that seeks to tease out causal effects to build a robust evidence base for climate and mental health relationships. We leverage our longstanding partnership with Crisis Text Line (CTL), a global not-for-profit organization providing free, 24/7, confidential text-based crisis response service. CTL currently has the world's largest repository of mental health data and, unlike other data sources, can provide data in real-time. We examine crisis outcomes using quasi-experimental approaches, such as difference-in-difference and interrupted time series analysis, to investigate crisis events following multiple disasters, including Hurricane Harvey (2017), Hurricane Ida (2021), the 2020 Widlfires, Hurricane Florence (2018), and the 2021 Texas Winter weather event. Our results demonstrate a sustained increase in crisis outcomes; however, specific outcomes like thoughts of suicide and/or stress/anxiety alter in frequency depending on the length of time after an initial disaster event. Our findings highlight a new application for text-based crisis support services to address the mental health consequences in youth following a climate-related disaster and the potential for these types of crisis platforms to measure situational awareness in impacted communities.
"Using Moss to Map Heavy Metals in Urban Neighborhoods" by Dr. Sarah Jovan
Dr. Sarah Jovan is a Research Ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service at the Pacific Northwest Research Station in Portland, Oregon, specializing in using non-vascular organisms as bioindicators of air quality. She serves as National Lichen Advisor to the Forest Inventory and Analysis Program, which monitors the condition of epiphytic lichen communities across U.S. forests for tracking stressors to forest health, like nitrogen and sulfur-containing pollutants. She recently adapted protocols for using moss in urban environments to characterize air toxics at neighborhood scales overlooked by established monitoring networks.
Assays of pollutants in moss and lichen tissue provide fine-scale information about air quality missed by widely spaced monitoring networks. For over 25 years, the U.S. Forest Service has surveyed moss and lichen bioindicators to inform federal land managers about pollution impacts to forest health. A recent shift towards urban studies and public health concerns, however, greatly raised the stakes of this research. In this presentation, Sarah will discuss three case studies, focusing on how multi-stakeholder partnerships and community engagement became central to the research process, ultimately leading to more impactful outcomes.
"Contributions of Early Life Environmental Factors and Epigenomic Variations on Children's Health" by Dr. Todd Everson
Dr. Todd Everson's research is focused on how early-life experiences and exposures shape underlying biological regulatory programs (the epigenome and transcriptome) and whether the remodeling of those patterns may have long term influences on health. Dr. Everson has considerable experience with epigenome-wide association studies and transcriptomic analyses of prenatal exposures and birth outcomes. He is also involved in large multi-cohort studies such as the Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) program and the Pregnancy and Childhood Epigenetics (PACE) consortium, which are aimed at fostering collaborations between existing studies to examine how early life environmental factors and epigenomic variations contribute to children's health.
To learn more about Dr. Everson's research program or to explore training opportunities, check out the Everson Research Group Website – Investigating the Molecular Links Between Early Life Exposures and Children's Health and Development.
"Participatory Research and Design for Environmental Health and Action" by Dr. Mónica Ramírez-Andreotta
Mónica Ramírez-Andreotta, M.P.A., Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Public Health at the University of Arizona. Using an environmental justice framework and participatory research methods, she investigates exposure pathways and communication strategies to translate environmental health research to action and achieve structural change.
Defined broadly, participatory approaches to research can challenge and change inequity and mistrust in science, particularly when the effort reflects the diversity of publics and does not reinforce existing inequities in science, environmental decision-making, and society. In this presentation, Ramírez-Andreotta will: (1) Describe participatory research and design methods to advance exposure science, data report back, and communication efforts and (2) Present elements of participatory research for environmental health that effectively prompt structural change in environmental justice communities. Emphasis will be placed on the equity-centered design of research methods and data sharing materials as well as the translation of environmental health research to action and change.
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"Assessing Exposures and Non-cancer Effects of Radon and Particle Radioactivity" by Dr. Petros Koutrakis
Dr. Koutrakis' research on the characterization and health effects of regional air pollution mixtures led to an interesting and important avenue of inquiry: the effect of environmental radioactivity on human health. A large fraction of the total exposure to naturally occurring ionizing radiation is through inhalation of ambient particles carrying attached radionuclides. The primary source of this PM radioactivity is Radon (Rn) gas through its decay products. Rn emanates from the soil and enters the atmosphere, including indoor air, where it decays. The resulting radionuclides attach to inhalable PM, which deposit in the lungs and continue to release ionizing radiation (α-, β- and γ-radiation) causing pulmonary inflammation and oxidative stress. To date, most previous studies have focused on the cancer effects of Rn progeny; therefore, there are significant knowledge gaps regarding the non-cancer effects of radon and radioactive particles. His recent research has demonstrated that these non-cancer effects are, in fact, very important. Specifically, his team has generated new information showing that exposures to Rn as well as PM gross α-, β- and γ-activities are associated with numerous adverse health outcomes, including blood pressure, oxidative stress, cardiac, lung and liver function, gestational diabetes and hypertension, and total and cardiopulmonary mortality.
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"Community Engagement: An Evolving Approach to Advancing Environmental Public Health" by Mr. Liam O'Fallon
Since O’Fallon joined the Division of Extramural Research and Training in 1999, he has been actively involved in research programs at NIEHS that involve community participation. O’Fallon is the coordinator for the Partnerships for Environmental Public Health program at NIEHS, which integrates new and existing initiatives that involve communities and scientists working together on contemporary issues in environmental public health research. He administers the ARRA programs focused on capacity building, science education, and community-linked infrastructure. He coordinates the Community Outreach and Engagement Program (COEP), comprised of 20 Community Outreach and Engagement Cores across the country. He also is a member of the HHS Environmental Justice working group.
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"Personalizing Air Pollution Exposure Science to Advance Precision Environmental Health" by Dr. Rima Habre
"Growing Up in Cincinnati: Incorporating Neuroimaging to Established Cohorts for Enhanced Characterization of the Effects of Ubiquitous Environmental Neurotoxicants" by Dr. Kim M. Cecil
"Occurrence and Community Impact of PFAS in North Carolina Drinking Water" by Dr. Detlef Knappe
"Health Effects of Metals Exposure: Implementing Longitudinal Epidemiologic Studies among Diverse Participant Populations" by Dr. Maria Argos
"Community-Based Participatory Research to Improve Risk Assessments During Disasters" by Dr. Yoshira Ornelas Van Horne
"Occupational Lung Diseases: Pneumoconiosis" by Dr. Ahmed A. Arif
July 14, 2021
"Occupational Lung Diseases: Pneumoconiosis"
Dr. Ahmed A. Arif
Professor, University of North Carolina Charlotte
Appalachian Citizens' Law Center, Central Appalachian Regional Education and Research Center & The Rural and Underserved Health Research Center.
Click here to download Dr. Arif's policy brief and infographics recently published by the RUHRC.
"Developmental Toxicant Exposures, Kidney Function, and Novel Biomarkers of Cardiorenal Signaling Among Susceptible Populations" by Dr. Alison Sanders
"A Program of Research in Progress: Understanding and Minimizing Occupational and Environmental Exposure to Carcinogens" by Dr. AnnMarie Walton
"miRNA Dysegulation and Chromosomal Instability in Arsenic-Induced Skin Cancer" by Dr. J. Christopher States
"Leveraging New Technologies to Measure and Model the External Exposome" by Dr. Perry Hystad
"The Role of Indoor and Outdoor Environmental Toxicants on Pediatric Health" by Dr. Patrick H. Ryan
"Environmental Biodynamics: Rethinking the Role of Time in Environmental Health Research" by Dr. Manish Arora
September 30, 2020
"Environmental Biodynamics: Rethinking the Role of Time in Environmental Health Research"
Dr. Manish Arora
Edith J. Baerwald Professor and Vice Chairman of the Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Please register via the link for updates.
Co-sponsored with the UK Office of the Vice President for Research and the College of Public Health
"The Role of Silica in Coal Mine Dust Lung Disease" by Dr. Robert Cohen
July 15, 2020
"The Role of Silica in Coal Mine Dust Lung Disease"
Dr. Robert Cohen
Director, Mining and Education Research Center at the University of Illinois Chicago School of Public Health
Please register via the link for updates.
Co-sponsored with the Appalachian Citizens Law Center and the Central Appalachian Region Education and Resource Center
"Using Placental Genomics to Understand the Environmental and Genetic Determinants of Children’s Health" by Dr. Carmen Marsit
"Collaborating for Environmental Health and Justice" by Dr. Katrina Smith Korfmacher
May 6, 2020
"Collaborating for Environmental Health and Justice"
Dr. Katrina Smith Korfmacher
Associate Professor, Dept. of Environmental Medicine & Community Engagement Core Leader
University of Rochester
Co-sponsored with the UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health, and Big Sandy Community and Technical College
"Understanding Mechanisms of Toxicity through the Lens of Gene-Expression: A Story in Three Parts" by Dr. James L. Stevens
March 6, 2020
"Understanding Mechanisms of Toxicity through the Lens of Gene-Expression: A Story in Three Parts"
Dr. James L. Stevens
Paradox Found Consulting Services, LLC
Co-sponsored with the UK College of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences and hosted by Dr. Hollie Swanson
"Environmental Liver Disease" by Dr. Matthew Cave
February 6, 2020
"Environmental Liver Disease"
Dr. Matthew Cave
Department of Medicine
Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics
Faculty, Graduate Training Research Program
University of Louisville School of Medicine