EHS GRADUATE GROUP FACULTY MEMBER PROF. RACHEL MORELLO-FROSCH HONORED WITH CHANCELLOR’S AWARD FOR ADVANCING INSTITUTIONAL EXCELLENCE AND EQUITY

EHS Graduate Group faculty member Prof. Rachel Morello-Frosch has been honored with the Chancellor's Award for Advancing Institutional Excellence and Equity (CAAIEE) for her achievements in advancing equity, inclusion, and diversity through research, teaching, and public service.

Prof. Morello-Frosch’s research is focused on health and other concerns faced by vulnerable and marginalized populations in relation to their exposures to air pollution, chemicals, climate change and other hazards. Her work has had broad influence on policies and programs across government agencies, foundations, community organizations, the California legislature, the state Department of Public Health, and the EPA, and has shaped the academic fields of environmental health sciences and environmental justice.

Prof. Morello-Frosch plans to use the $10,000 CAAIEE award grant to develop and test new community-engaged strategies for recruiting underrepresented minority students to STEM fields that emphasize environmental science and health.

Prof. Rachel Morello-Frosch

Prof. Rachel Morello-Frosch

DR. JASON SU AND COLLEAGUES EXAMINE THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND ECONOMIC BENEFITS OF POLLUTION REDUCTIONS IN NEW STUDY APPEARING IN PNAS

In new research appearing in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Jason Su and colleagues examine the relationship between asthma symptoms and pollution, and estimate the economic benefits of pollution reductions.  Dr. Su and colleagues used a nationwide dataset tracking the use of rescue medication by asthmatic individuals in a study group of more than 2,800 participants over 6 years. The study participants’ activity spaces and associated air pollution exposures were also tracked and assigned. These data were then used to estimate the relationship between pollution and inhaler use. Dr. Su and colleagues found that a 12% increase in weekly exposure to PM2.5 increased weekly inhaler use by approximately 1%; the response to pollution exposure was found to vary according to season, region, and income within the study population.  The researchers combined the results of their statistical model with prior findings on people's willingness to pay to avoid asthma symptoms, concluding that a 12% nationwide reduction in PM2.5 concentration would generate nearly $350 million annually in economic benefits. The research was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Propeller Health, and the full study can be viewed here.

Dr. Jason Su

Dr. Jason Su

WELCOME NEW EHS FACULTY: Andres Cardenas and Jay Graham

EHS students, faculty and staff are excited to welcome the newest additions to our faculty: Prof. Andres Cardenas and Prof. Jay Graham. Please join us in welcoming them to Environmental Health Sciences!

Prof. Andres Cardenas

Prof. Andres Cardenas

Andres Cardenas, PhD, MPH (starting January 1, 2019)

Assistant Professor, Environmental Health Sciences

Dr. Andres Cardenas develops and applies computational approaches in environmental epigenomics, examining molecular and epigenetic targets of exposures to environmental hazards and their role in the development of disease. He is investigating the prenatal influence of metals, air pollution, endocrine disrupting compounds, diet and prenatal maternal medication use on the epigenome of infants and children. His current research evaluates the role of environmental exposures in utero, epigenetic modifications, and their potential role in the developmental origins of health and disease. Prior to joining the Berkeley faculty, Dr. Cardenas was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University.


Prof. Jay Graham

Prof. Jay Graham

Jay Graham, PhD, MPH, MBA (starting January 1, 2019)

Assistant Professor, Environmental Health Sciences

Dr. Jay Graham's research applies epidemiologic methods and next-generation DNA sequencing to refine our understanding of the spatial and temporal transmission of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and zoonotic infectious diseases. He has worked collaboratively in many settings in Latin America, Asia and Africa, and has extensive experience working on the US-México border where he conducted research on the primary prevention of diarrheal diseases and pneumonia within informal settlements of Ciudad Juárez, MX. His work has contributed to more efficient and cost-effective approaches to scale-up public health initiatives for the prevention and control of infectious diseases. Dr. Graham holds an M.P.H. and an M.B.A., and he received his Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Prior to joining the Berkeley faculty, he served as a AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow within the Bureau for Global Health at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), where he provided technical leadership on water, sanitation and hygiene and household air pollution programs. He also served on the faculty of the School of Public Health at George Washington University, where he directed the graduate program in Global Environmental Health.

EHS Alum Article: Eating out increases exposure to harmful phthalates

A new study has found that people who ate more fast food were exposed to higher levels of potentially harmful chemicals known as phthalates than people who ate more home-cooked meals.

Lead author Julia Varshavsky, who did the research while she was a grad student at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health and is now a post doc in reproductive health and the environment at UCSF, studied data from the 10,253 participants in a national survey. They were asked to recall what they ate and where their food came from in the previous 24 hours. The researchers analyzed the links between what people ate and the levels of phthalate breakdown products found in their urine.

“People who ate the most fast food had phthalate levels that were as much as 40 percent higher,” said senior author Ami Zota, an assistant professor of environmental and occupational health at George Washington University. “Our findings raise concerns because phthalates have been linked to a number of serious health problems in children and adults.”

People who ate in restaurants and cafeterias also had higher levels of phthalates than people who ate home-cooked meals. The study is the first to compare phthalate exposures in people who reported dining out to those more likely to enjoy home-cooked meals.

Story by Brett Israel, UC Berkeley Media Relations
Read the full story at Berkeley News

EHS doctoral students publish research in Nature Comm. and Environmental International

EHS doctoral student Julia Varshavsky and colleagues examine dietary sources of cumulative phthalates exposure among the U.S. general population in NHANES.

EHS doctoral student Chris Hoover helps lead collaborative research finding that agrochemicals can increase environmental transmission of human schistosomiasis (covered in the TWiP science podcast http://bit.ly/2pvLZNg  starting at 1:05:00).

 

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