Faculty Research Summary

This is a list of brief bios and faculty areas of research, listed alphabetically.


A -E | F - J | K - O | P - T | U - Z


Photo: John R. Balmes, MD

John R. Balmes, MD

For the past 25 years, Dr. Balmes has been primarily interested in studying the effects of exposures to occupational and environmental agents on respiratory health, especially with regard to asthma and airway inflammation. In the Human Exposure Laboratory in the UCSF Lung Biology Center, he conducts controlled human exposure studies with sampling of respiratory tract lining fluid to characterize acute exposure-response relationships for oxidant pollutant-induced airway inflammation. He is currently funded to investigate whether common polymorphisms in xenobiotic metabolizing enzyme genes (GSTM1, GSTP1, and NQO1) are associated with increased risk of ozone-induced enhancement of airway inflammatory responses to allergens in sensitized asthmatic subjects; to determine whether exposure to ambient levels of ozone can induce acute cardiovascular effects; and to assess the acute upper airway effects of secondhand tobacco smoke.

To study the chronic effects of occupational and environmental agents on respiratory health, Dr. Balmes collaborates on epidemiological studies at UCSF and UC Berkeley. At UCSF, he has collaborated on studies of the effects of occupational exposure to respiratory tract irritants and environmental exposure to tobacco smoke on COPD outcomes (NHLBI) and the effects of environmental exposure to traffic and air pollutants on asthma outcomes (NIEHS). At UC Berkeley he has collaborated with Dr. Ira Tager to study the effects of cumulative lifetime exposure to ozone on lung function in healthy adolescents and short-term exposures to air pollutants on growth of lung function and disease severity in children with asthma in Fresno (NHLBI). With Dr. Kirk Smith, he co-leads a longitudinal study of the effects of exposure to biomass smoke on the growth of lung function in children in Guatemala (NIEHS). With Drs. Allan Smith and Craig Steinmaus, he has been investigating the role of ingested arsenic from contaminated drinking water on respiratory health in Bangladesh and Chile (NIEHS). With Dr. Michael Bates, he is investigating the effects of chronic low-level exposure to hydrogen sulfide on lung function. Dr. Balmes is PI/Director of a CDC-funded program, the UCB Center for Environmental Public Health Tracking, which is developing methods for surveillance of health outcomes that may be related to environmental exposures.

Faculty Website


Photo: Professor Michael Bates, PhDMichael Bates, PhD
PI, STEER Grant

Dr. Bates is Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology in the School of Public Health, but based in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences. Dr. Bates had a background in chemistry and toxicology before obtaining his PhD in epidemiology at Berkeley. He currently teaches an intensive class in epidemiologic methods during the summer and also during the fall in the School of Public Health’s online MPH program. His research focus is on the health effects of occupational and environmental exposures to chemicals. Dr. Bates is Principal Investigator of two NIH-funded epidemiology studies being carried out in Nepal. These studies are investigating whether household air pollution from cooking and heating fires and kerosene lighting are associated with pulmonary tuberculosis or eye diseases. Other studies in which he is currently involved include an epidemiologic study in the Bay Area of whether exposures to n-hexane solvent in automotive parts cleaners cause persistent neurological or reproductive effects, and a study in the Rotorua geothermal area of New Zealand into whether long-term, low-level exposure to hydrogen sulfide is responsible for effects on the respiratory and neurological systems or the eyes.

Other areas of research interest of Dr. Bates include health effects of organochlorine compounds, such as dioxins and PCBs; whether dental amalgam fillings, which contain mercury, cause any health effects; cancer risks in fire fighters, and cancer risks associated with ingestion of arsenic in drinking water.

Faculty Website


Photo: Research Scientsit Asa Bradman, PhD Asa Bradman, PhD

Dr. Asa Bradman is an environmental health scientist and expert in exposure assessment and epidemiology focusing on occupational and environmental exposures to pregnant women and children. He co-founded the Center for Environmental Research and Children's Health (CERCH) in the UC Berkeley School of Public Health and directs an initiative to improve environmental quality in California child care facilities. Dr. Bradman leads exposure and epidemiologic studies focusing on pesticides, flame retardants, metals, emerging pollutants, VOCs, indoor air quality, and other contaminants. He also participates in extensive community outreach and education and interfaces with other scientists, state and federal agencies, policy makers, and industry. He participates on several advisory bodies and is Chair of the California Biomonitoring Scientific Guidance Panel (appointed by Governors Schwarzennegger (2007) and Brown (2013)).

Faculty Website


Photo: Professor Jack Colford, MD, MPH, PhD Jack Colford, MD, MPH, PhD

Dr. Colford is a Professor of Epidemiology at the School of Public Health. He is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the UCB School of Public Health. He completed a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in infectious diseases at UCSF and was Chief Medical Resident at Stanford. Dr. Colford teaches courses in advanced epidemiologic methods, intervention trial design, and impact evaluation and has received several teaching awards, including two awards from students at the School of Public Health.

Colford is an author of more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific publications, including numerous articles on the health effects of waterborne diseases. He has received more than $35 million in research funding and was the Principal Investigator of four triple-blinded, randomized controlled trials of drinking water and health effects funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the University of California. These have included large trials in the United States as well as a drinking water study in 22 villages in Bolivia. Dr. Colford was the Principal Investigator of the Mission Bay Epidemiology study about the health effects of recreational water exposure, funded by the California Regional Water Quality Control Board. Student opportunities in Dr. Colford’s group might include both the collection and analysis of epidemiological field data.

Faculty Website


Photo: Professor Sadie Costello, PhDSadie Costello, PhD
Director, STEER Program

Sadie Costello is an epidemiologist with an interest in environmental and occupational exposures, chronic disease and the use of directed acyclic graphs and causal inference to understand and reduce bias. She received her PhD in epidemiology from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2008 before coming to UC Berkeley. Sadie's research at UC Berkeley has focused on studying a range of health outcomes from occupational exposures in large cohort studies of industrial workers including aluminum workers, metal machinists, and miners. Sadie is an integral part of a multidisciplinary team that works to address several prevailing biases in occupational epidemiology including competing risk, direct and indirect effects, and survivor bias. She is a leader of the epidemiology and biostatistics core for a Children's Environmental Health Center and supports established academics to conduct analysis of the health effects of air pollution on children's health that allow for a causal interpretation. Sadie has co-mentored students involved in occupational studies of heart disease and cancer due to particulate matter generated in the occupational setting.

Faculty Website


Photo: Professor Ellen A. Eisen Ellen A. Eisen, ScD

Dr. Eisen’s research in epidemiologic methods and applied public health bridges three fields of study—occupational health, biostatistics, and epidemiology. Dr. Eisen has a faculty appointment in the Division of EHS and is a member of the Graduate Groups in both EHS and Epidemiology. Dr. Eisen is the author of over 190 scientific publications related to occupational epidemiology.

As a trained biostatistician, she is particularly interested in structural models that address this bias due to healthy worker survivor effect (HWSE), and yield exposure-response parameters with causal interpretation. She began her career studying pulmonary function and other nonmalignant respiratory effects of silica and cotton dust. She studies large occupational cohorts, e.g. autoworkers exposed to metalworking fluids, textile workers, and aluminum manufacturing workers, for a wide range of health outcomes. Supported by R01s from NCI and NIOSH, she trains students in the application of statistical and epidemiologic modeling methods for analyzing occupational cohort data, including nonparametric smoothing and causal inference methods. She has co-mentored students involved in occupational studies of a wide range of adverse health outcomes, including cardiovascular disease mortality, pulmonary function, cancer incidence, wrist tendonitis, delayed time to pregnancy, and cardiovascular biomarkers in relation to a wide variety of workplaces exposures.

Faculty Website


Photo: Professor Brenda Eskenazi, PhD Brenda Eskenazi, PhD

Dr. Eskenazi is a 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 and Director of an NIH/EPA Center for Excellence in Children's Environmental Health Research (the "CHAMACOS" Project) which investigates the exposure pathways and health effects of pesticide exposure in farm workers and their children and develops interventions to prevent future exposure. She is also the Principal Investigator on other NIEHS-funded projects on endocrine disruption: one based in Seveso Italy investigating the reproductive health of a cohort of women exposed to high levels of dioxin, and another examining the effects of persistent and nonpersistent endocrine-disruptors on neurodevelopment. She is also the PI of a grant from EPA examining the whether children with certain PON1 genotypes are at higher risk from exposure to pesticides. Dr. Eskenazi is currently conducting a study on the effects of benzene exposure on genetic and nongenetic markers in human sperm.

Dr. Eskenazi has contributed widely to the field of children’s environmental health, including the Surgeon Generals Report on Smoking and Women’s Health, The World Health Organizations Tobacco-Free Initiatives report on Environmental Tobacco Smoke, and the United States-Vietnam Committee on the Human Health and Environmental Exposures of Agent Orange and Dioxin in Viet Nam. She served on the State of California’s Scientific Advisory Board for the Toxics Initiative (Proposition 65), which identifies chemicals as reproductive or developmental toxicants. Dr. Eskenazi has served on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Children’s Health Environmental Coalition and on the Study Design Working Group of the National Children’s Study. She is currently a member of the Expert Committee for the Stockholm Convention.

Faculty Website
Center for Environmental Research and Children's Health (CERCH)


Photo: Professor Katharine Hammond, PhD

Katharine Hammond, PhD

Dr. Hammond studies the exposures of people to toxic air contaminants. These might be environmental exposures such as secondhand smoke or occupational exposures. This research is usually coupled with studies of the health effects associated with these exposures. Some members of her team, which consists of students and staff, do chemistry laboratory work while others primarily work on evaluation of the data, using computers and statistical programs to evaluate and model exposures. Students would learn the methods associated with these studies under the direction of Professor Hammond.

She directs a laboratory, which contains equipment to sample the air and also chemistry instrumentation to analyze the samples collected. Several computers are available in the laboratory with software to conduct these analyses, including geographic information system software and statistical packages. Student projects could include any of the following:

  • Evaluate data on allergen or endotoxin levels on dust collected from the beds of children with asthma
  • Collect pine needle samples to evaluate airborne levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and analyze samples using liquid chromatography and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry
  • Develop methods to distinguish wood smoke from automobile exhaust
  • Analyze samples of coal from China for PAHs and develop models to estimate exposure to coal emissions and PAHs in the past
  • Evaluate the exposure of asthmatic children in various states across the U.S. as a function of smoke free environmental laws in those states
  • Develop retrospective estimates of secondhand smoke concentrations on airplanes.

Faculty Website


Photo: Assistant Professor Carisa Harris Adamson, PhD, CPECarisa Harris Adamson, PhD, CPE

Carisa Harris is Director of the Ergonomics Laboratory and Assistant Professor in the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Department at the UC San Francisco. Dr. Harris’ current research is focused on healthy worker survivor bias in the assessment of physical, personal and work psychosocial factors associated with CTS and subsequent work disability. She also performs lab based exposure assessment and intervention studies on occupational tasks with high risk of musculoskeletal injuries.

Current research opportunities for STEER students include: (1) shoulder and low back analysis of hotel room cleaners while making beds using different sheets and tools; (2) assessing cardiovascular strain among hotel room cleaners, warehousing and delivery drivers; (3) biomechanical and physiological assessment of load carrying in women in Third World countries (Nepal, Tanzania and Ethiopia); (4) prospective analysis of biomechanical risk factors for CTS in a large US and Italian Cohort

Faculty Website
Ergonomics Program Website


Photo: Professor Nina Holland, PhD Nina Holland, PhD

Dr. Holland is an adjunct professor at the School of Public Health and a director of the School's bio-repository and the Children's Environmental Health Laboratory. She has a background in genetics with extensive experience in molecular epidemiology, human cytogenetics, reproductive toxicology and biobanking. Dr. Holland has an international reputation for her research in the area of epigenetics, biomarkers of effect and analysis of genetic susceptibility to environmental factors and predisposition to disease. Her main scientific interest is in molecular epidemiology of children's environmental health.

Dr. Holland is a principal investigator on the studies of “Epigenetics and functional genomics of pesticide sensitivity in farmworker mothers and neurodevelopment in children,” and on “Molecular Mechanisms of obesity in children exposed to phthalates in utero.” Since 1998, she has been involved with the CHAMACOS, a Mexican-American birth cohort study from Salinas Valley, CA (http://cerch.org), and currently directs its Epigenetics project and Biorepository Core. SPH Biorepository was established in 2003 and contains more than 170,000 biological and environmental samples from 36 completed and ongoing studies reflecting collaboration with the University of California, San Francisco, Children’s Hospital, Oakland, Kaiser Research Institute, Stanford University, Public Health Institute and other research organizations.

At UC Berkeley Dr. Holland teaches a graduate course "Molecular and Genetic Epidemiology and Human Health in the 21st Century” and contributes to several other courses. She has also taught and provided research assistance at the University of Hawaii, National Universities of Australia, Mexico, Thailand and India. Dr. Holland has been an invited speaker at many national and international meetings, and also organized Symposiums on “Molecular Epidemiology of Children’s Environmental Health” and “Environmental Epigenetics”. She has published more than 150 papers and book chapters.

There is major student participation in Dr. Holland's laboratory with as many as three-five undergraduates, four-six master's and doctoral students working concurrently. Students undergo training in an active lab environment where undergraduates work as team members with the graduate students under the direction of Dr. Holland and her research team. Undergraduate students receive degree credit through an independent study mechanism, present at the lab seminars, and complete their honors projects.

Faculty Website


Photo: OiSaeng Hong, RN, PhD, FAAN

OiSaeng Hong, RN, PhD, FAAN

Dr. Hong is a Professor in the Department of Community Health Systems and Director of the Occupational and Environmental Health Nursing Graduate Program at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). The program is a part of the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (COEH) that connects faculty and students from three UC campuses (Berkeley, Davis and San Francisco) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-funded Education and Research Center (ERC) in Occupational Health.

Dr. Hong’s research focuses on investigation of auditory impairment (hearing loss) and tinnitus with regard to environmental and occupational exposure to noise and other ototoxic hazards, such as heavy metals and solvents. Given that hearing loss among millions of people remains a critical concern in population health, Dr. Hong has been developing and implementing intervention programs to prevent hearing loss for at-risk populations, such as construction workers and firefighters. She has fostered collaborative research with community and worksite partners (construction contractors, labor unions, fire departments), and multidisciplinary experts in the areas of audiology and hearing science, computer engineering, medicine, industrial hygiene, and epidemiology.  Dr. Hong has also been devoting her efforts to eliminating health disparities. Her areas of research include the reduction of health risks and improved health education for underserved immigrant populations, including Korean dry cleaners, hospital cleaners, and Latino construction workers. Her research has been supported by numerous sources, including state government, private foundations, and federal agencies, including NIOSH, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Defense.

Dr. Hong’s research office is located in UCSF Parnassus campus in San Francisco. Potential student projects may derive from the following projects: 1) hearing loss and tinnitus among firefighters and construction workers; 2) chemical exposure and health outcomes in dry cleaners; 3) acute and chronic cardiovascular effects of noise exposure among firefighters.

Faculty Website


Photo: Professor Thomas McKone, PhD

Thomas McKone, PhD

Dr. McKone’s research group explores and quantifies how human exposure comes about, how exposure relates to health detriment, and how precisely these links can be quantified for a number of important pollutants. To pursue this effort, the research team has worked on:

  • Defining and modeling chemical transport and transformation in the environment;
  • Biotransfer and bioconcentration;
  • Measuring and modeling dermal and inhalation exposures to contaminants in tap water and household dust;
  • Chemical mass transport at inter-media contacts such as air/water, air/soil, air/vegetation, skin/water, etc.
  • Assessing model uncertainty and reliability
  • Public health and ecological impacts of energy, industrial, and agricultural systems

Dr. McKone has research facilities and equipment at both the University of California Berkeley and at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). At these two institutions, the research team devotes much of its research to the development of probabilistic, multi-pathway, multimedia human and exposure/impact models. This group has two operating environmental chamber facilities designed for investigating emissions of pollutants from indoor sources under simulated, controlled indoor environmental conditions. Other relevant facilities at LBNL and UC Berkeley available to Dr. McKone include the Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry/Data Analysis System and Laboratory; the Organic Chemical Analysis Laboratory, and the Aerosol Research Laboratory.

Faculty Website


Photo: Professor Stephen Rappaport, PhD

Stephen Rappaport, PhD

Dr. Rappaport is active in research involving both environmental and biological monitoring. His current research focuses on development and application of biomarkers of exposure to toxic chemicals arising from exposures to both exogenous and endogenous sources. Dr. Rappaport has also published extensively in areas related to the assessment of long-term exposures to chemicals for purposes of controlling workplace hazards and of investigating exposure-response relationships. The principal opportunities for research experiences for students in this program are laboratory-based, relating to his biomarker work.

Faculty Website


Photo: Professor Justin Remais, PhD, MS

Justin Remais, PhD, MS

Justin Remais is associate professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley. His research advances methods for estimating the public health risks that result from a wide range of environmental changes, such as those resulting from urbanization, industrialization, changes in water resources, and a changing and more variable climate. Prof. Remais led a team that published seminal work in The Lancet on of the health consequences—both adverse and beneficial—of rapid urbanization in China, and its interaction with population aging and other demographic trends. In other work, he led the first international research effort to estimate the burden of water, sanitation and hygiene-attributable diseases across China. His expertise is in characterizing the environmental dynamics of infectious diseases, including waterborne, vector-borne and helminthic infections. He is presently leading NIH- and NSF-funded research projects investigating how hydrodynamics and social dynamics interact to influence the transmission of waterborne pathogens in Ecuador and China, and how agrochemical use influences the transmission of parasitic diseases in West Africa. He has carried out field research in China for more than a decade, focused on the interaction between economic development, rapid urbanization, environmental pollution and public health. Prof. Remais received his MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering and PhD in Environmental Health Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley. Student opportunities in Dr. Remais group can involve field research, programming algorithms, using geographic information systems (GIS), satellite image analysis, ecological modeling, climate and weather data analysis, environmental simulation, and analysis of complex Big Data.

Faculty Website


Photo: David M. Rempel, MD, MPH

David M. Rempel, MD, MPH

David Rempel is the former director of the Ergonomics Laboratory, professor emeritus of Engineering at UC Berkeley, and professor emeritus of Medicine at the UC San Francisco. His research focuses on hand biomechanics and the design of tools and tasks in order to improve productivity and the quality of work while preventing hand and arm fatigue and injury. The lab has developed and tested new keyboards, computer mice, tablets, pipettors, and agricultural and construction tools. The lab is currently working with Intel, GE, Boeing and Dell on developing 3D hand gestures for human computer interaction. Someday, hand gestures will replace the mouse and keyboard. The lab is also working on a robotic test bench system to measure handle vibration and dust produced when hammer drills drill into concrete. Drill handle vibration can cause permanent nerve and artery damage in hands. Dr. Rempel is a member of the National Academy of Sciences Board on Human Systems Integration. He sees patients at UC Berkeley Student Health Services. Publications and descriptions of research projects are at http://ergo.berkeley.edu.

In 2016, STEER students would work with Dr. Rempel and research engineers on (1) a robotic system to evaluate the health risk factors of large hammer drills, (2) an exoskeleton to reduce spine loads among warehouse workers, or (3) productivity and fatigue comparison of 3D hand gesture input vs. mouse input for human-computer interaction.

Faculty Website
Ergonomics Program Website


Photo: Suzaynn Schick, PhD Suzaynn Schick, PhD

Professor Suzaynn Schick is an environmental scientist who studies the health effects of air pollutants. She received her Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from the University of California, San Francisco in 2001. As a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Stan Glantz, she published some of the first data showing that the respiratory toxicity of secondhand smoke is greater than that of the smoke that smoker inhale and that the chemical compounds in secondhand smoke can react to create new, potentially more carcinogenic compounds. She created a state-of-the-art secondhand and thirdhand smoke exposure system that reproduces the physical and chemical changes that occur after smoke is released into indoor environments. Using this system, she has shown that the majority of the particulate material, nicotine, tobacco-specific nitrosamines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in secondhand smoke deposit on indoor surfaces before they can be removed by ventilation. Her lab is a Core for the California Thirdhand Smoke Consortium and produces standardized thirdhand smoke samples for research in laboratories around the world. She studies the cardiovascular and respiratory effects of exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke, thirdhand cigarette smoke and wood smoke in human subjects. She also studies the cardiovascular effects of electronic cigarette use. Her clinical research has shown that very short exposures to secondhand smoke cause vascular dysfunction and nasal congestion.

Faculty Website


Photo: Research Scientist Megan Schwarzman, MD, MPH Megan Schwarzman, MD, MPH

In the Program in Green Chemistry and Chemicals Policy, we work at the nexus of the environmental health sciences and public policy to advance the field of green chemistry: the design, manufacture and use of chemicals and products to reduce or eliminate adverse affects on human health and ecosystems. We work within the University, as well as with community groups and state and federal government to advance chemicals policy and address the implications for human health and the environment of the production, use and disposal of chemicals and products.   Our work focuses specifically on: occupational health, endocrine disruption, sustainable production, exposure assessment, reproductive health, the cumulative impacts of multiple stressors on ecosystem health, and European Union chemicals policy. (More at: http://coeh.berkeley.edu/greenchemistry)

STEER students would participate in elements of our daily work as well as conducting a research project on a specific topic.  Although we work with students to tailor a project to their interests, possible projects could address the following topics: Climate Change and Green Chemistry, Shaping State Policy: Reviewing Assessment Tools (life cycle assessment, chemical prioritization, or alternatives assessment).

Faculty Website
COEH Green Chemistry and Chemicals Policy


Photo: Charlotte D. Smith, PhD
Charlotte D. Smith, PhD

Charlotte Smith is a Lecturer in the Environmental Health Sciences Division, of the School of Public Health, where she teaches the Introduction to Environmental Health Sciences and Drinking Water and Health courses, and a seminar on Mapping the Human Right to Water. She also teaches the Undergraduate Honors Thesis Seminar. Her primary research interests are the microbial ecology and control of waterborne pathogens, the access to safe water as a human right, utilizing GIS to tell stories about water quality and access, and working with large water quality and health databases. She has authored over 50 publications and presentations. Dr. Smith holds a BS in Microbiology from the University of Michigan, an MA in Community Health from the City University of New York, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Health Sciences from the University of California - Berkeley.

In addition to her faculty position Dr. Smith is the president of Charlotte Smith & Associates which she established in 1994. Before establishing her consulting firm, Dr. Smith was employed by the New York City DEP-Drinking Water Quality Division, and then the American subsidiary of Suez Environment, which at that time owned and operated 35 water utilities in 15 states. She was Director of Water Quality, responsible for regulatory compliance for all 35 water companies. Dr. Smith was a member of a committee of the National Academy of Sciences that assessed the risk of post-treatment (distribution system) water contamination. She has several water industry awards including the 2001 Golden Spigot Award.

Faculty Website


Photo: Professor Kirk R. Smith, PhD Kirk R. Smith, PhD

Prof. Smith is Professor of Global Environmental Health and is also founder and coordinator of the campus-wide Masters Program in Global Health and Environment. Previously, he was founder and head of the Energy Program of the East-West Center in Honolulu before moving to Berkeley in 1995. He serves on a number of national and international scientific advisory committees including the Global Energy Assessment, National Research Council’s Board on Atmospheric Science and Climate, the Executive Committee for WHO Air Quality Guidelines, and the International Comparative Risk Assessment. He participated in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 3rd and 4th assessments and is Convening Lead Author for Climate and Health for the 5th Assessment. Prof. Smith’s research focuses on environmental and health issues in developing countries, particularly those related to health-damaging and climate-changing air pollution from household energy use, and includes field measurement and health-effects studies in India, China, Nepal, Mexico, and Guatemala as well as development and application of tools for international policy assessments. He also develops and deploys small, smart, and cheap microchip-based monitors for use in household air pollution studies.

Faculty Website


Photo: Professor Martyn Smith, PhD Martyn Smith, PhD

Dr. Smith is a professor of toxicology and conducts research aimed at finding the causes of blood cancers (e.g., leukemia and lymphoma) in adults and children. Dr. Smith uses a molecular epidemiology approach using state of the art biomarkers and cultured stem and progenitor cell model systems. He studies benzene as a model because it is an established cause of blood diseases. In addition to the work described above, Dr. Smith aims to develop advanced methods from the detection, quantification, and remediation of human exposure to toxic substances. Dr. Smith's laboratory facilities at UCB are well-located and support his team of post-doctoral researchers, graduate and undergraduate students.

Faculty Website
Superfund Research Program


Photo: Professor Robert Spear, PhD Robert Spear, PhD

Dr. Spear is an engineer with research interests in the assessment and quantification of human exposures to toxic and infectious agents in the environment. His early work concerned the exposure of agricultural workers to pesticides. In recent years his research has concerned the use of mathematical and statistical techniques in the assessment and control of both workplace and community exposures. His current work, in collaboration with colleagues at UCB and at the Sichuan Institute of Parasitic Disease in China, focuses on environmental determinants of the incidence and control of the parasitic disease schistosomiasis. His group has pioneered the use of GIS/GPS technology for mapping and geo-referencing field data, and they have utilized remote sensing technology for the assessment of snail habitat and other landscape features relevant to defining the scale of control strategies. These data and site-specific information from field surveys are integrated through mathematical models that allow both tracking and forecasting of disease intensity over time. Recent work has focused on defining the internal potential of a village to sustain disease transmission and the spatial inter-connectedness of the disease transmission process between villages.

Opportunities for high school and undergraduate students potentially relate methods for the interpretation and analysis of field data in Berkeley.

Faculty Website


Not Available Summer 2017

Photo: Lisa Thompson, RN, PhD, FNP-C

Lisa Thompson, RN, FNP, MS, PhD

Dr. Lisa M. Thompson is an Assistant Professor in the Family Health Care Nursing Department in the School of Nursing at the University of California, San Francisco (Parnassus campus). She is a certified Family Nurse Practitioner. In 2008 she received her MS/PhD in Environmental Health Sciences from UC Berkeley. Her research builds on 10 years of work in Guatemala, where she was part of a team that conducted the first randomized trial to measure reductions on childhood pneumonia from an introduced, randomized clean cook stove intervention. (RESPIRE/CRECER studies, UC Berkeley). Dr. Thompson is currently conducting studies in rural Guatemala to examine how maternal and infant exposures to household air pollution impact neonatal outcomes and infant neurodevelopment. She has trained local community health workers to assess adverse infant outcomes, including low birth weight and preterm birth, and to screen for infant neurodevelopmental impairments. Potential student projects could include:1) literature review and synthesis; and 2) preliminary data analysis and assistance with manuscript preparation.

Faculty Website


Photo: Professor Luoping Zhang, PhD

Luoping Zhang, PhD

Dr. Zhang is an Adjunct Professor of Toxicology in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences (EHS), School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley. For the past two decades, her research has focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms of bone marrow toxicity caused by benzene (BZ) and other toxic chemicals including butadiene (BD), formaldehyde (FA), tricholoroethylene (TCE) and arsenic (As). Dr. Zhang’s investigations have mainly involved the detection of biomarkers associated with these chemical exposures in molecular epidemiological studies conducted with national and international collaborators. In order to explore and identify disease-related mechanisms associated with these chemical exposures, Dr. Zhang and her group have developed and continue to employ many high-throughput technologies, such as the innovative OctoChrome FISH (fluorescence in situ hybridization) device for a chromosome-wide aneuploidy study (CWAS) and array-based toxicogenomic (genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics) and epigenomic (DNA-methylation, histone modification, and microRNA expression) tools. These advanced omic methodologies and a novel CRISPR-Cas9 approach are also applied to in vitro human cell culture studies of chemical exposure. All STEER interns will have an opportunity to learn some of these laboratory methods, to have a hands-on experience by working with her or her scientific team and to be exposed to a rich environment of cancer research.

Faculty Website


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STEER was by far the most influential experience I have ever experienced in my college career.

Summer 2016 STEER Intern

It definitely encouraged me to go to Grad School; it opened my eyes to the many different fields of Environmental Health.

Summer 2015 STEER Intern

Yes, exposure to research and other grad/doctoral students gave me a better idea of what it would be like to continue to higher education. Moreover, this experience has given me more confidence that I could succeed pursuing a graduate degree.

Summer 2015 STEER Intern

I could not have asked for a better summer or better people. I think that through this experience this summer, I not only grew as a scientist, but also has a person. I will definitely be looking to come back to UCB for a graduate program.

Summer 2014 STEER Intern

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