Research

Research in the Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health spans a variety of programs, groups, and laboratories, all with a common commitment to increasing wellness and preventing illness both locally and globally. We do so by investigating the fundamental causes, preventive measures, and treatments of avoidable illness by promoting health, and by working to eradicate environmental and occupational triggers of, and reactions to, disease.

Occupational and Environmental Medicine Research

Our team has made major strides in occupational and environmental medicine research leading to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of illness and injury stemming from occupational hazards.

Some of our most important research begins in our Department laboratories, where we work diligently to translate the quantitative results we achieve into significantly meaningful diagnostic and treatment protocols. We have research groups that focus on endocrine and metabolic disruption, oxidant-antioxidant imbalance, and neuro-immunomodulation. We also collaborate closely with The Mindich Child Health and Development Institute to explore therapies for treating infants, children, and adolescents afflicted with conditions that have an environmental origin.

Learn more about our occupational and environmental medicine research

The World Trade Center Health Program

The World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) Data Center partners with the five Clinical Centers of Excellence that comprise the General Responder Consortium of the WTCHP. The Data Center single-handedly collects, manages, analyzes, and prepares for research on physical and mental health, exposure, occupational, and socioeconomic factors through annual medical monitoring exams of non-New York Fire Department World Trade Center workers and volunteers.  We coordinate medical care for them; develop protocols for monitoring worker and volunteer health; manage, clean, and analyze data from health exams; build and maintain data collection systems; and coordinate outreach and patient education activities.

Learn more about The World Trade Center Health Program Data Center

Transdisciplinary Center on Health Effects of Early Environmental Exposures

Our Center’s mission is to understand how environmental exposures in early life influence health, development, and risk of disease and dysfunction across the life span–in infancy, childhood, adolescence, and beyond.

Through research groups, we study the health impacts of chemical, genetic, nutritional, and social exposures and the interactions among them. Our approach is transdisciplinary and highly translational. We combine clinical, population-based, and biological research with leading-edge genetics, epigenetics, and bioinformatics in the setting of a hospital-based, urban school of medicine. Through our clinical and community partnerships, we translate our research findings into evidence-based approaches for disease prevention and treatment.

Each research group is conducive to interdisciplinary interaction, encouraging collaborative, transdisciplinary research in children’s environmental health. These research groups support seminars, visiting professor lectures, and work-in-progress presentations that bring together basic scientists and clinicians from different disciplines with a shared interest in exploring the consequences of early-life environmental exposures on health and development.

Learn more about our research on health effects of early environmental exposures.

Child Health Environmental Assessment Resource Program

Through two grants from the National Institutes of Health, our Department is working collaboratively with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) to conduct groundbreaking work in the field of exposomics, using a transdisciplinary model to uncover the lifetime effect of environmental exposures on human health. The grants, consisting of $20 million distributed over four years, are made possible by the National Institutes of Health’s Child Health Environmental Assessment Resource Program. The first grant funds a data repository, jointly managed between our department and RPI. The second supports a shared facility based in The Senator Frank Lautenberg Laboratory for Environmental Health Sciences.

Bone Lead X-Ray Fluorescence Laboratory

We can measure human bone lead levels non-invasively via a novel technique called X-ray fluorescence. The Bone Lead X-Ray Fluorescence Laboratory is one of only two centers in the United States currently using this technique to measure long-term or chronic lead exposure in human bone.

The laboratory measures human bone lead in research study volunteers, people referred by physicians, and those referred by lawyers–all of whom have symptoms of lead exposure or are concerned about exposure they may have suffered in the past.

The information we obtain from bone lead measurements can provide evidence of historical lead exposure in the absence of documented exposure.