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Presenter Biosketches

John Balmes, M.D. John Balmes, M.D.
Discussion Moderator

Dr. Balmes is Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley and Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. His research focuses on adverse respiratory and cardiovascular effects of environmental and occupational agents, including air pollutants, secondhand tobacco smoke, hydrogen sulfide, occupational exposure to asbestos, arsenic in drinking water, and biomass smoke exposure in developing countries. Currently he is the Director of the Northern California Center for Occupational and Environmental Health and one of the three multiple PIs directing the EPA/NIEHS UC Berkeley/Stanford Children’s Center, including the Children’s Health and Air Pollution Study in the San Joaquin Valley (CHAPS- SJV). He leads a project on the role of air pollution on obesity and glucose dysregulation within CHAPS. He has served as the physician member of the California Air Resources Board since January 2008.


Susan Buchanan Susan Buchanan, MD MPH
Prevention in the Exam Room

Dr. Buchanan is Associate Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) School of Public Health. She directs the Great Lakes Center for Children’s Environmental Health Region 5 Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit. She is board certified in Family Medicine and Occupational Medicine. Her research interests have included the occupational health of Latino day laborers and other vulnerable worker populations. Currently, she is conducting several research projects related to healthcare provider knowledge and practice regarding the health effects of pollutant exposure in pregnancy, especially methyl mercury from fish consumption.


Antonia Calafat Antonia Calafat, Ph.D.
Chemicals in Consumer Products: Trends in Exposure and New Chemicals of Interest

Antonia Calafat, Ph.D. serves as Chief of the Personal Care Products Laboratory at the Division of Laboratory Sciences, National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, GA. She earned her Bachelor, Masters and Doctoral degrees in Chemistry from the University of the Balearic Islands in Spain. Prior to her career at CDC, she was a Fulbright Scholar and a Research Associate at Emory University. Since starting her tenure at CDC in 1996, Dr. Calafat has been involved in developing, validating, and applying analytical methods for measuring, in biological matrices, environmental chemicals including volatile organic compounds, disinfection-byproducts, chemical warfare agents, and phytoestrogens. She currently leads several active research programs for assessing human exposure to chemicals added to consumer and personal-care products such as phthalates, environmental phenols (e.g., bisphenol A, triclosan, parabens), and polyfluoroalkyl compounds. Dr. Calafat has developed and maintained extensive collaborative research with leading scientists in the fields of exposure science, epidemiology, toxicology and health assessment. Her research has made relevant contributions to CDC’s biomonitoring program including the CDC’s National Reports on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals.


Gail Christopher, D.N. Gail Christopher, D.N.
Place Matters as a Social Determinant of Health

Dr. Gail Christopher is vice president for program strategy at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. In this role, she leads the Food, Health & Well-Being, Racial Equity, Community & Civic Engagement and Leadership programming.

Gail is a nationally recognized leader in health policy, with particular expertise and experience in the issues related to social determinants of health, health disparities and public policy issues of concern to our nation’s future. Her distinguished career and contributions to public service were honored in 1996 when she was elected as a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. A prolific writer and presenter, Gail is the author or co-author of three books, a monthly column in the Federal Times, and more than 250 articles, presentations, and publications. Gail holds a doctor of naprapathy degree from the Chicago National College of Naprapathy in Illinois and completed advanced study in the interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in holistic health and clinical nutrition at the Union for Experimenting Colleges and Universities at Union Graduate School of Cincinnati, Ohio. She is President of the Board of Directors of the Trust for America’s Health.

Kathryn Cottingham Kathryn Cottingham, Ph.D.
Arsenic in Food and Children's Health: Updates on Exposure Assessment and Health Effects Research

Professor Kathy Cottingham is an ecologist and biostatistician who began working on children’s exposure to arsenic as part of Dartmouth’s formative Center for Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research. She led the three-year pilot project investigating how infants born to the women in the prospective New Hampshire Birth Cohort (NHBC) are exposed to arsenic via both food and water and currently co-leads an ongoing exposure assessment that will be used to quantify effects of arsenic on growth and neurodevelopment through age five. Cottingham and colleagues have conducted market-basket surveys of arsenic concentrations in infant formulas and weaning foods, evaluated associations between rice consumption and short- and long-term biomarkers of arsenic exposure, and quantified the relative exposure of infants in the NHBC to arsenic via breast milk versus formula. Their ongoing work includes assessing infant exposure to arsenic via rice cereal and other high-arsenic foods during weaning.


Michael Crupain Michael Crupain, M.D., M.P.H.
Improving Food Safety Through Strategic Science, Communication, and Advocacy

Michael Crupain, MD, MPH is an Associate Director of the Consumer Reports Safety and Sustainability group and directs food safety testing for the Consumer Reports Foods Safety and Sustainability Center. Michael is interested in the intersection of food, agriculture, and health policy and is board certified in Preventive Medicine. He completed his medical training at New York Medical College and residency at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where he also teaches.


Gregory Diette Gregory B. Diette, MD, MHS
Discussion Moderator

Dr. Diette is Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology and Environmental Health Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University. He is a pulmonologist with a practice devoted to the care of patients with obstructive lung diseases, including asthma and COPD. He has an extensive portfolio of patient-based research in asthma and COPD, supported by the NIH and other sponsors. Dr. Diette's current research focuses on identifying environmental causes of obstructive lung diseases, the role of diet in development of asthma, as well as understanding and reducing disparities in health of racial and ethnic minorities.

Dr. Diette received his undergraduate degree in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, the Doctor of Medicine degree from Temple University and a Master's degree in Epidemiology from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. He completed a residency in Internal Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and fellowship training in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital.


Brenda Eskenazi Brenda Eskenazi, Ph.D., M.A.
Discussion Moderator
Pesticides and Children: State of the Science of Exposure Assessment and Health Effects

Dr. Eskenazi is the Jennifer and Brian Maxwell Professor of Maternal and Child Health and Epidemiology at the University of California, Berkeley. She is a neuropsychologist and epidemiologist whose long-standing research interest has been the effects of toxicants, including lead, solvents, environmental tobacco smoke, dioxin and pesticides, on human reproduction (both male and female) and child development. She is the Principal Investigator (PI) and Director of an National Institutes of Health/U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Center for Excellence in Children’s Environmental Health Research and its keystone project, CHAMACOS, which investigates the exposure pathways and health effects of pesticide exposure in farmworkers and their children and develops interventions to prevent future exposure. She is currently investigating associations between pubertal development and endocrine-disrupting chemicals, including flame retardants and pesticides, in children of the CHAMACOS cohort. Dr. Eskenazi was also the PI on a grant aimed at understanding the effects of U.S.-Mexico migration on childhood obesity; she conducted research on food insecurity, obesity and maternal perception of child weight.


Elaine M. Faustman Elaine M. Faustman, Ph.D.
Moderator

Dr. Faustman is Professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at the University of Washington (UW) School of Public Health and Community Medicine and Principal Investigator of the EPA- and NIEHS-funded Center for Child Environmental Health Risks Research at the University of Washington and Director of the Institute for Risk Analysis and Risk Communication. She is Co-PI of the NIEHS- and NSF-funded Pacific Northwest Center for Human Health and Ocean Studies at UW and Director of the Reproductive and Developmental Research Core of the UW Center for Ecogenetics and Environmental Health. The long-range objective of Dr. Faustman's research includes identifying biochemical mechanisms of developmental toxicity and developing new methods for the evaluation of health risks posed by environmental agents.


Richard Fenske Richard Fenske, Ph.D.
Passive Air-Sampling Methods with Community-Based Participatory Research in Yakima Valley, Washington

Richard A. Fenske is Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at the University of Washington. He has served as director of the NIOSH-supported Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center since 1996, and is a core faculty member of the NIEHS-supported Center for Ecogenetics and Environmental Health. Dr. Fenske has focused his research on the assessment and mitigation of chemical hazards through workplace and community studies. He has introduced novel procedures for the assessment of skin exposure among agricultural workers through the use of fluorescent tracers. He has also contributed to the elucidation of pesticide exposure pathways for children living in agricultural communities and in residential settings. Dr. Fenske currently serves as a member of the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine. He also serves as President of the International Society of Exposure Science.


Maida Galvez Maida Galvez, M.D., M.P.H.
Chemicals in Consumer Products: An Overview of Clinical Questions to the Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU)

Dr. Maida Galvez, a board certified Pediatrician, completed the Academic Pediatric Association sponsored fellowship in Environmental Pediatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Departments of Preventive Medicine and Pediatrics. She directs Mount Sinai's Region 2 Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit and practices General Pediatrics. She is Co-Principal Investigator and a designated New Investigator of an NIEHS and EPA funded research project entitled "Growing Up Healthy in East Harlem," a community based participatory research project examining the environmental determinants of childhood obesity. She is also Co-Investigator of an NIEHS/NCI funded project assessing environmental determinants of puberty in girls. Her areas of interests include the urban built environment, endocrine disruptors, and childhood growth and development. Her undergraduate degree is from the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Sciences/City College of New York. She received her MD and MPH from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, trained in the Social Pediatrics Residency Program at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, followed by a Pediatric Chief Residency at Jacobi Medical Center, Bronx, NY.


S. Katharine Hammond, Ph.D. S. Katharine Hammond, Ph.D.
Traffic-Related Air Pollution and Children's Health in California's San Joaquin Valley

Dr. Hammond is Professor and former Chair of Environmental Health Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research has focused on assessment of exposure for environmental and occupational epidemiologic studies, including studies of the health effects of air pollution, diesel exhaust, secondhand smoke, semiconductor wafer production, and automobile manufacturing. Occupational studies in progress include the Bay Area Solvent Study, which is examining the relationship between solvent exposure and neurologic and reproductive effects in automotive mechanics, and a study of cardiovascular effects of work in aluminum production. A combination of her chemistry, industrial hygiene and epidemiology background enable her to develop innovative techniques to measure airborne contaminants and evaluate exposures. Currently she heads the exposure assessment team for the Fresno Asthmatic Children’s Environment Study (FACES) and the Children’s Health and Air Pollution Study in the San Joaquin Valley (CHAPS- SJV).


harley Kim Harley, Ph.D.
Health Effects of Chemicals in Consumer Products: Flame Retardants

Kim Harley, Ph.D. is an Associate Adjunct Professor of Maternal and Child Health at the University of California, Berkeley. She is a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist whose research focuses on the association between endocrine disrupting chemicals and child development, including neurodevelopment, obesity, and onset of puberty. Her work has focused on the reproductive and developmental effects of Bisphenol A, PBDEs, DDT, and organophosphate pesticides. Dr. Harley has spent several years investigating the effects of environmental chemical exposures to mothers and children living in a migrant farm worker community. She is an Associate Director of the CHAMACOS Study, a longitudinal cohort study of Latina mothers and children living in the agricultural Salinas Valley, California. Children in the CHAMACOS study have been followed from before birth until 12 years of age to determine the impact of environmental exposures on their growth, neurodevelopment, and health. Dr. Harley is the principal investigator of grant to examine the role of early life BPA exposure on children's health and development in this cohort.


Carmen Marsit Carmen J Marsit, Ph.D.
Variation in Cord Blood DNA Methylation with Low-Level Arsenic Exposure

The broad goal of Dr. Marsit’s research program is to investigate gene environment interactions and their individual and combined impact on human disease, with a particular focus on the impact of the environment on epigenetic regulation of the genome. The laboratory studies alterations to epigenetic marks, which may be responsible, in a significant part, for cancer, adverse pregnancy outcomes, and common and rare diseases of childhood including behavioral disorders. This work is accomplished by taking a novel interdisciplinary approach to understanding the pathogenesis of human disease, utilizing the power of epidemiology and population-based research to study the effects of the environment on multiple facets of epigenetic regulation while examining mechanistic questions in controlled in-vitro experiments. The focus of Dr. Marsit’s research has been on two distinct, yet highly related biologic processes, that of environmental carcinogenesis and that of human development. In those settings, his laboratory examines DNA methylation and miRNA expression as key epigenetic mechanisms of interest.
This research aims to provide a sound scientific basis for this emerging paradigm that is taking shape on the heels of the realization that there are fetal origins to many adult diseases.

This research aims to provide a sound molecular basis for the emerging paradigm that there are fetal origins to much of adult health and disease. Dr. Marsit's laboratory utilizes modern molecular biology and genetics applied in the setting of epidemiologic studies to study the effects of the environment on multiple facets of epigenetic regulation, and thereby is creating a novel interdisciplinary approach to understanding the pathogenesis of human disease. Paramount to meeting these objectives is creating a collaborative and multidisciplinary team of clinicians, epidemiologists, biologists, and statisticians who, by working together, are committed to combining efforts to reach these goals.


Rob S McConnell Rob S McConnell, M.D.
Near-Roadway Air Pollution, Obesity and Metabolic Consequences

Rob McConnell is a Professor of Preventive Medicine and the director of Southern California Children’s Environmental Health Center at the University of Southern California, where he studies the effects of air pollution on children’s health. The role of environment in obesity and its metabolic consequences are a major current focus of interest. He has examined associations of air pollution with asthma and lung function, autism, and early markers for cardiovascular disease. Other interests include the burden of disease associated with near-roadway air pollution and new methods for exposure assessment in environmental epidemiology. He directs the Career Development Program of the NIEHS-supported Southern California Environmental Health Sciences Center. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


Catherine Metayer Catherine Metayer, M.D., Ph.D
Paternal and Maternal Tobacco Smoking and the Risk of Leukemia in the Offspring

Catherine Metayer is a physician trained in France. She was an intern in departments of pediatrics and oncology where she developed an interest in cancer research. She received her PhD in Epidemiology at Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, and focused her post-doctoral research on occupational exposures related to hematopoietic cancers in adults. She was a Visiting Scientist at the Division of Epidemiology & Genetics at the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, expanding her research on secondary cancers following treatment for a primary cancer, and environmental risk factors of lung cancer in China. She is currently Professor at the UC Berkeley, School of Public Health, examining environmental and genetic factors of leukemia and other cancers in children and adolescents. She is the Director of the Center for Integrative Research on Childhood Leukemia and the Environment (CIRCLE) and the Chair of the Childhood Leukemia International Consortium (CLIC).


Rachel Miller, MD Rachel Miller, M.D.
Environmental Influences on the Epigenome

Dr. Miller is board certified in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Disease, Critical Care Medicine and Allergy and Immunology. She has appointments in 3 departments in 2 Columbia schools and is the Director of the Allergy and Immunology Fellowship program and Director of Adult Allergy. She was named as top pulmonologist in the 2011 US News and World Report report and is a Fellow at the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology. Her clinical office specializes in the treatment of asthma and allergies at the John Edsall-John Wood Asthma Center.

In addition, Dr. Miller is the Co-Deputy Director of the Columbia Center for Childrens Environmental Health (CCCEH), and Associate Director and Lead Physician Scientist for the Disease Investigation through Specialized Clinically-Oriented Ventures in Environment Research (DISCOVER). Her research concentrates on the mechanisms for the onset of asthma. One large research focus involves establishing and studying a birth cohort from Northern Manhattan (www.CCCEH.org), determining the importance of environmental allergens, traffic-related pollutants, and phthalate exposure to the onset of allergies, asthma, and Th2 immune responses. A major emphasis is on the role of prenatal and early postnatal exposure on later pediatric and adolescent asthma risk. Additional areas of research include identifying novel genetic by environment interactions important to the onset of asthma. She also has established several mouse models examining the importance of prenatal and postnatal environmental exposures on asthma risk. More recent initiatives have been to build a program in environmental epigenetics and asthma by studying DNA methylation in cell, mouse and human systems. Recent work on antigen-specific immune responses to influenza vaccine in utero was cited by the journals Nature and Science on their websites.


Susan K. Murphy Susan K. Murphy, Ph.D.
Epigenetic Links Between Secondhand Smoke Exposure and ADHD

Dr. Murphy is an Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Gynecologic Oncology, at Duke University Medical Center where her laboratory is focused on the developmental origins of disease as well as on the epigenetics and novel therapeutic approaches in gynecologic malignancies. She leads the Duke Epigenetics Research Laboratory and is Director of the NICHES Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Center, Co-Director of the Duke Epigenetics and Epigenomics Program and Co-Principal Investigator leading the molecular biology efforts of the Duke-based Newborn Epigenetics STudy, or NEST. NEST is a longitudinal birth cohort study from which new insights have come regarding the in utero environment's effects on the epigenetic regulatory regions of imprinted genes. Her long-term research goals are to identify and utilize epigenetic changes that occur as a result of early life exposures to improve diagnostics and to develop new intervention and prevention strategies based on these findings.


Kari Nadeau Kari Nadeau, M.D., Ph.D.
Epigenetics, Air pollution, and T cell immunity in Children

Dr. Kari Nadeau is Associate Professor of Pediatrics—Immunology and Allergy, and Associate Professor of Otolaryngology at Stanford University School of Medicine. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Haverford College, an M.D. degree from Harvard Medical School and her Ph.D. from Harvard University in Biochemistry. The goal of the research in Dr. Nadeau's laboratory at Stanford is to investigate the role of ambient air exposure on the developing immune system in children, with a focus on understanding the interaction between environment and the immune system by studying detailed mechanistic studies in T cells. Dr. Nadeau has a broad background in immunology, with specific training and expertise in key research areas on T cells. She is working with Drs. Katharine Hammond and Ira Tager at the University of California, Berkeley, to link mechanistic immunology studies with epidemiological outcomes of ambient air pollution exposure. Dr. Nadeau has published more than 71 peer-reviewed papers, many of which focus on T cells and health outcomes.


Elizabeth Noth Elizabeth Noth, Ph.D.
Traffic-Related Air Pollution and Children's Health in California's San Joaquin Valley

Elizabeth Noth is a research scientist at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health in the Environmental Health Sciences Division.  Dr. Noth evaluates both environmental and occupational exposures to harmful air pollutants.  She received her Bachelor of Science degree from University of California, Berkeley in Conservation and Resource Studies, and her Master of Public Health at Boston University.  Dr. Noth’s research in environmental air pollution has focused on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon exposures and other traffic-related exposures in children, particularly in California’s San Joaquin Valley.  She is interested in the spatial distribution of airborne contaminants and the use of spatial analysis to look at neighborhood-level indicators of high exposures, including built environment, land use, and transit patterns. Over the past decade, Dr.Noth has been a member of the exposure assessment team for multiple studies that have been concerned with the health and exposures of children in the San Joaquin Valley, including the Fresno Asthmatic Children’s Environment Study (FACES) and the Children’s Health and Air Pollution Study in the San Joaquin Valley (CHAPS- SJV).


Jerome Paulson Jerome Paulson, M.D.
Discussion Moderator

Jerome A. Paulson, MD, FAAP, Director is Professor of Pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences and Professor of Environmental & Occupational Health at the GW School of Public Health & Health Services. He is the Medical Director for National & Global Affairs of the Children’s Health Advocacy Institute at the Children’s National Medical Center.

Dr. Paulson serves as chairperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Environmental Health and serves on the Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee for the US Environmental Protection Agency. In October 2004 he was a Dozor Visiting Professor at Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva, Israel. He lectured there and throughout Israel on children’s environmental health. He was a recipient of a Soros Advocacy Fellowship for Physicians from the Open Society Institute and worked with the Children’s Environmental Health Network, and has also served as a special assistant to the director of the National Center on Environmental Health of the CDC working on children’s environmental health issues. He is the editor of the October, 2001 and the February and April 2007 editions of Pediatric Clinics of North America on children’s environmental health. He has served on numerous boards and committees related to children’s environmental health.


Frederica Perera Frederica Perera, DrPH, PhD
Prenatal exposure to air pollution and health and neurodevelopment in a New York City cohort

Dr. Perera is a Professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, where she serves as Director of the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health. Dr. Perera is internationally recognized for pioneering the field of molecular epidemiology, utilizing biomarkers to understand links between environmental exposures and disease. Currently, she and her colleagues are applying advanced molecular and imaging techniques within longitudinal cohort studies of pregnant women and their children, with the goal of identifying preventable risk factors for developmental disorders, asthma, obesity and cancer in childhood. Her areas of specialization include prevention of environmental risks to children, molecular epidemiology, disease prevention, environment-susceptibility interactions, and risk assessment. She is the author of more than 300 publications, including 260 peer reviewed articles, and has received numerous honors, including First Irving J. Selikoff Cancer Research Award, The Ramazzini Institute (1995); The Century Club Award Newsweek (1997); First Children’s Environmental Health Award, The Pew Center for Children’s Health and the Environment (1999); Distinguished Lecturer, Occupational and Environmental Cancer, National Cancer Institute (2002); Doctoris Honoris Causa, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland (2004); Children’s Environmental Health Excellence Award, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2005); and the Children’s Environmental Health Network (CEHN) Award (2008).


Isaac N. Pessah Isaac N. Pessah, Ph.D.
How the Antibacterial Triclosan Impairs Muscle Function: Is it Relevant to Human and Environmental Health?

Dr. Pessah obtained his B.S. in Biological Sciences from Cornell University (1977) and his Ph.D. in Toxicology from the University of Maryland in 1984. He was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California (UC) at Berkeley from 1984 to 1987, during which time he discovered a family of calcium channels termed ryanodine receptors. Since then, his research and academic interests have spanned the broad area of molecular and cellular mechanisms by which these channels regulate Ca2+ signaling in muscle, neurons and immune cells. He studies the organization and function of the macromolecular complexes regulating ryanodine-sensitive Ca2+ channels and how environmental chemicals, including PCBs, PBDEs, reactive quinone metabolites, pesticides and heavy metals influence developmental toxicity through these complexes. Members of his laboratory have been studying gene-environment interactions influencing susceptibility that are relevant to autism and related disorders using mice possessing missense mutations known to contribute susceptibility to human disease. He directs the UC Davis Center for Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention. The Center is an NIEHS/US EPA funded multidisciplinary program aimed at understanding how environmental factors influence autism risk and severity. He is Professor of Toxicology and Chair of the Department of Molecular Biosciences. In addition, he is Associate Editor of NeuroToxicology, and a Board Reviewer for Environmental Health Perspectives, Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Neurotoxicology and Teratology.


Lesliam Quirós-Alcalá Lesliam Quirós-Alcalá, Ph.D.
BPA and Children's Health: Updates on Food Packaging Exposure and Health Effects

Dr. Quirós-Alcalá is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research explores the effects of environmental contaminants on women’s and children’s health and evaluates factors related to exposures in susceptible populations. Her current research focuses on bisphenol A exposure in Latino mothers and children, and studying the effects of current-use pesticides on brain and nervous system development in children.


Urvashi Rangan Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D.
Overview and Role of Improving Food Safety Through Strategic Science, Communication and Advocacy

Urvashi Rangan, PhD, is an environmental health scientist and toxicologist. She leads Consumer Reports’ Consumer Safety and Sustainability Group and serves as the Executive Director of its Food Safety and Sustainability Center. Dr. Rangan oversees all of Consumer Reports' safety testing projects, risk assessments, and serves as the lead spokesperson on these issues, translating complex scientific concepts into actionable consumer advice and policy recommendations. She has expertise in food safety issues, food labeling, risk assessment and sustainable production practices. In addition to appearing frequently in major news outlets, she also testifies to government bodies, has given lectures at various universities and conferences and has directly challenged critics of a sustainable food system.


Stephen M. Rappaport Stephen M. Rappaport, Ph.D.
Using Newborn Dried Blood Spots to Estimate In Utero Exposures to Chemicals

Dr. Stephen Rappaport is a Professor of Environmental Health in the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley, and Director of the Berkeley Center for Exposure Biology, a multidisciplinary program to develop a new generation of biomarkers and biosensors for environmental epidemiology. He is a pioneer in the emerging field of "Exposure Biology" and a prominent advocate of the concept of the "Exposome" for environmental health. Much of his current research involves the development and application of blood protein adducts as biomarkers of exposure to toxic chemicals arising from inhalation, ingestion and endogenous processes. He also has used environmental measurements and biomarkers to elucidate the human metabolism of several toxic chemicals, notably benzene, and to quantify interindividual variability in biomarker levels due to genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors.


Brenda M. Reyes, M.D., M.H.S., C.G.M.S. Brenda M. Reyes, M.D., M.H.S., C.G.M.S.
Health Departments and the Environmental Protection Agency - A Synergistic Approach to Addressing Social Disparities of Health in the Community

Doctor Reyes serves as Bureau Chief of the Bureau of Community and Children Environmental Health. She is the chief strategist for public policy, program design, and development for the Healthy Homes, Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention, Lead Based Paint Hazard Control, Occupational Health, Indoor Air Quality, Medical Waste and Infection Control programs, Radiation Compliance, Smoking and Cigarette Vending Ordinance compliance and Emergency Medical Services and Ambulance Permitting. She serves as an Assistant Professor for Baylor College of Medicine.

A noted national expert on healthy homes, asthma and lead poisoning prevention and systems design, Dr. Reyes serves as an Advisor to government agencies, non-for profit organizations, the Advisory Committee for Children Health Environmental Protection Advisory Committee for the Environmental Protection Agency (CHPAC) and past member of the Childhood Lead Poisoning and Prevention (ACLPPP) for the Health and Human Services Secretary among others. She is renowned for her abilities to mentor other cities and state agencies on how to blend complimentary lead hazard reduction, healthy homes, unintentional injuries, and health programs to maximize outcomes. She concentrates her efforts on innovative programs to increase the stock of affordable, healthy and environmentally safe housing, and on building capacity to incorporate sound environmental health standards


Martha Sandy Martha Sandy, PhD, MPH
Preventing Harmful Exposures before and during Pregnancy: CHPAC’s Suggestions for Getting the Message Out

Dr. Sandy is Chief of the Reproductive and Cancer Hazard Assessment Branch in the California Environmental Protection Agency’s (Cal/EPA) Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA). Dr. Sandy’s Branch conducts scientific evaluations of the risks of cancer and reproductive hazards from exposure to chemicals present in environmental media, food, fuels and consumer products, and works collaboratively with California’s Department of Public Health and Department of Toxic Substances Control to implement California’s biomonitoring program.

Dr. Sandy’s current research interests include children’s environmental health, and in particular, cancer risk associated with early life exposure to carcinogens; mechanisms of carcinogenesis; and gene-environment interactions. Prior to joining OEHHA, she conducted research investigating biochemical and genetic susceptibility factors in Parkinson’s disease, and biochemical and molecular mechanisms of toxicity and carcinogenicity. She has served on several scientific committees for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Toxicology Program, and the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Sandy has a Ph.D. and an M.P.H. in Environmental Health Sciences, with an emphasis in Toxicology, from the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Public Health.


Susan L. Schantz Susan L. Schantz, PhD
The Importance of Preventing Harmful Environmental Exposures Before Birth

Dr. Susan Schantz is Professor of Environmental Toxicology in the Department of Comparative Biosciences at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. She has chaired the Interdisciplinary Environmental Toxicology Program since 1996, and she directs the Children’s Environmental Health Research Center funded jointly by NIEHS and the USEPA and an Environmental Toxicology Training Grant funded by NIEHS. She is associate director of a Botanical Research Center funded by NCCAM, ODS and NCI. Her research focuses on understanding the nervous system effects of several widespread environmental contaminants including PCBs, PBDEs, phthalates and bisphenol A, and includes epidemiological studies of exposed human populations as well as laboratory studies in animal models. Recently, with funding from NIA and NCCAM, she has initiated another line of research investigating the impact of estrogens including soy isoflavones and other botanical estrogens on cognitive function during aging.


Judy Van de Water Judy Van de Water, Ph.D.
The Environment and the Immune System in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Dr. Van de Water joined the faculty in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of California, Davis, in 1999. In 2000, she also joined the faculty of the newly formed UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute when she began her research on the immunobiology of autism.

Dr. Van de Water's laboratory pursues research programs pertaining to autoimmune and clinical immune-based disorders, including the biological aspects of ASD. The application of Dr. Van de Water's immunopathology background has been instrumental in the dissection of the immune anomalies noted in some individuals with autism, and in the differentiation of various autism behavioral phenotypes at a biological level. Dr. Van de Water is currently the Director of the NIEHS-funded Center for Children's Environmental Health at UC Davis, investigating potential environmental risk factors contributing to the incidence and severity of childhood autism.


Joseph Wiemels, Ph.D. Joseph Wiemels, Ph.D.
DNA Methylation Changes in Blood Cells that Impact Leukemia – Role of Environment

Dr. Joseph Wiemels is a professor of epidemiology at University of California, San Francisco. After completing his undergraduate degree in biology at Kenyon College, Ohio, he served in the Peace Corps teaching science subjects in the South Pacific. Dr. Wiemels received a Ph.D. in Environmental Health Sciences/Toxicology at the University of California, Berkeley, with minors in epidemiology and nucleic acid chemistry, in 1997. Dr. Wiemels joined a large pediatric leukemia epidemiology study as a postdoc in London, UK, before returning to California and taking up a position at UCSF in 2000.

Dr. Wiemels is committed to studying the epidemiology of childhood cancers with a focus on biology and natural history of the diseases. He has worked on tracing back the genetic and epigenetic origins of cancer, particularly childhood leukemia, and exploring the relationship of the host immune system and cancer in an epidemiologic fashion. His goal is to understand the biological mediators between genetic and environmental risk factors and disease, and how the immune system can detect and interact with cancers. Current projects include a genome wide association study of childhood leukemia and proposed GWAS in pediatric glioma, a large scale environmental risk factor and neonatal DNA methylation study, investigations into the role of autoantibodies in brain and other cancers, and the mechanisms behind allergies and Varicella virus-associations in brain cancers. Continued progress on all fronts will only be made through a combination of the best biology and epidemiology, and the shared worldwide resources and collaboration between investigators with disparate fields of interest.


Rosalind J. Wright, M.D., M.H.S. Rosalind J. Wright, M.D., M.H.S.
Psychological stress & chronic disease programming

Dr. Wright is a pulmonary physician and the Vice Chair of Clinical Translational Research in the Department of Pediatrics at Kravis Children’s Hospital, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. She is a developmental epidemiologist with transdisciplinary training in medicine, environmental health, multi-level modeling and stress mechanisms. Dr. Wright has an overarching interest in explaining health disparities across the lifecourse and her research has primarily focused on early life (prenatal and early childhood) predictors of developmental diseases including asthma, obesity, neurobehavioral development, and lung growth and development. A particular focus is on the implementation of studies considering the role of both social (e.g., individual- and community-level psychosocial stress and other socioeconomic risk factors) and physical (e.g., air pollution, chemicals, dietary factors, allergens) environmental factors in explaining health disparities among lower-SES urban populations. Dr. Wright is the PI and Director of the Asthma Coalition on Community, Environment, and Social Stress (ACCESS) project as well as the Programming of Intergenerational Stress Mechanisms (PRISM) study funded by the National Institutes of Health at Harvard Medical School and is a member of the adjunct faculty at Harvard.


Tracey J. Woodruff Tracey J. Woodruff, PhD, MPH
Prevention For All

Dr. Tracey Woodruff is Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences and Philip R Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California, San Francisco and the Director of the Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment. She has conducted extensive research and policy development on environmental health issues, with an emphasis on early-life development. Her research areas include evaluating prenatal exposures to environmental chemicals and related adverse pregnancy outcomes, and characterizing developmental risks. She has authored numerous scientific publications and book chapters, and has been widely quoted in the media. She is an Associate Editor of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. She worked previously at the US EPA, where she was a senior scientist and policy advisor in the Office of Policy. She was appointed by the governor of California in 2012 to the Science Advisory Board of the Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee.


Ivana Yang Ivana Yang, Ph.D.
Asthma: an epidemic caused by epigenetics?

Dr. Yang has a broad background in genomics, genetics, and bioinformatics. She currently shares a laboratory with David A. Schwartz, MD. The focus of the research in the Schwartz/Yang laboratory is on genetic and epigenetic mechanisms that are contributing to the development of allergic airway disease, pulmonary fibrosis, and innate immune responsiveness. Human and animal models are used to pursue these studies. The research in these areas has the potential to develop biomarkers for early identification of susceptible individuals, lead to novel concepts about the prevention and pathogenesis of these diseases, and to transform therapy in pulmonary fibrosis, microbial infections, sepsis, and asthma.

Centers Funded By:
Centers Funded by Epa and NIEHS

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