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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Environmental Health

Track in Exposure Sciences and Environmental Epidemiology

Offered By: Department of Environmental Health and Engineering

In-person | Full-Time | 5 years

About This Track

The Exposure Sciences and Environmental Epidemiology (ESEE) track offers research and training opportunities in key topic areas relevant to environmental and occupational health. These include air, water, the food system, exposures across the life course, metals and synthetic chemicals, environmental microbiology, the built environment, global environmental health, molecular and integrated epidemiology, and the investigation of susceptibility factors and effective interventions. Graduates from the ESEE track work in academic research institutions, health agencies, health departments, public health advocacy organizations, and private industry organizations that are leaders in environmental and occupational health in the United States and around the world.

While the exact course sequence for each student is customized on an individual basis dependent on their background and research interests, coursework generally centers around one of several topic areas as illustrated below. This coursework is designed to achieve in depth and experiential training to complement the core instruction.

Exposure Sciences: Evaluating and preventing or minimizing exposure from airborne, waterborne or foodborne physical, chemical or biological pollutants, and promoting health and safety in occupational and non-occupational environments are major strategies to protect public health. Using principles of chemistry, biology, physics, engineering, epidemiology, risk assessment and mathematics, we develop innovative solutions to environmental contamination problems. We develop techniques to measure contaminants in various media, develop strategies and conduct studies to assess the levels of exposures in populations, evaluate the impact of a hazard, offer solutions on treatment or containment, promote regulations and policies to prevent human or environmental contamination, and perform quality control checks.

Environmental Epidemiology: Understanding the role of the environment in human health is critical to improve health and quality of life in human populations, especially among vulnerable and marginalized groups. Using an epidemiologic approach, we conduct population-based research that incorporates state-of-the art exposure and outcome assessment to evaluate the role of the environment in disease, disability, and other health outcomes and to develop strategies for health promotion and disease prevention and control. We engage with diverse populations nationally and internationally, employ classic and cutting-edge epidemiologic methods, and investigate a broad range of environmental exposures including the natural and built-environment.

Occupational Health: Protecting workers from disease and injury is vital nationally and internationally and is an important component of environmental health. We address work-related health problems and design solutions to control and prevent disease or injury caused by chemical, physical, psychosocial, and biological threats. Our goal is to promote and maintain the health of worker populations, particularly those who are most vulnerable, to ensure healthy and productive working lives. Our research includes occupational exposure assessment, industrial hygiene, occupational nursing, development and validation of sensors and biomarkers, epidemiology, population health management, health promotion, policy analysis, and intervention studies focused on disease prevention.

ESEE Track Faculty

Meghan Davis, PhD, DVM: Environmental microbiology, one health, asthma

Shima Hamidi, PhD: Geospatial data, built environment, housing and transportation & health

Christopher Heaney, PhD, MS: Environmental epidemiology, water and health, community-based research 

Kirsten Koehler, PhD, MA: Exposure assessment, aerosols, air quality

Keeve Nachman, PhD, MHS: Risk science, risk assessment, food systems

Louis Fazen, MD: Occupational health, organizational justice, cardiovascular disease risk

Jaime Madrigano, ScD: Air pollution, climate change, and public health

Roni Neff, PhD, ScM: Food system, agriculture, sustainability, health disparities

Carsten Prasse, PhD: Emerging contaminants, engineering processes, analytical detection methods

Lesliam Quiros-Alcala, PhD: Impact of exposure to chemicals, EDCs, PPCPs on disease risks in vulnerable populations 

Gurumurthy Ramachandran, PhD, CIH: Exposure assessment, nanoparticles, risk assessment for nanomaterials

Ana Rule, PhD: Air pollution, bioaerosols, metal speciation

Kellogg Schwab, PhD, MSPH: Water, sanitation and hygiene, environmental microbiology, microbial fate and transport 

Brian Schwartz, MD, MS: Environmental epidemiology, sustainability, built environment, lead

Genee Smith, PhD, MSPH: Environmental epidemiology, health effects of climate change, infectious diseases


Browse an overview of this program's requirements in the JHU Academic Catalogue - See Track Requirements for Exposure Sciences and Environmental Epidemiology and explore all course offerings in the Bloomberg School Course Directory.

Tuition and Funding

All full-time PhD students will receive the following support for the first five years of the program: full tuition, stipend, individual health insurance, University Health Services clinic fee, vision insurance, and dental insurance.

Need-Based Relocation Grants
Students who are admitted to PhD programs at JHU starting in Fall 2023 or beyond can apply to receive a $1500 need-based grant to offset the costs of relocating to be able to attend JHU. These grants provide funding to a portion of incoming students who, without this money, may otherwise not be able to afford to relocate to JHU for their PhD program. This is not a merit-based grant. Applications will be evaluated solely based on financial need. View more information about the need-based relocation grants for PhD students.

Contact Us

Questions about the program? We're happy to help.

Program Director
Kirsten Koehler, PhD