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A cross-divisional department spanning

Dr. Kirsten Koehler Faculty Research

Exposure Assessment for Epidemiologic Studies

Most epidemiological research has focused on ambient air pollution, using data from regulatory air quality monitors to estimate the population’s exposure and then correlate these area-wide exposures with disease. However, for two primary reasons, my research in this area has focused on indoor exposures. First, most individuals spend the majority of their time indoors and indoor air pollution concentrations often exceed those measured outdoors due to indoor sources (e.g., smoking, cooking, burning candles). Second, while governmental agencies, like the US EPA, have responsibility for setting and enforcing regulatory standards, individuals can modify indoor concentrations and choose behaviors to reduce their exposures to air pollutants, if provided evidence-based recommendations. Currently, I lead the exposure assessment team for several ongoing studies, both domestic and international, and including participants with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, or persons living with or at risk for HIV. In these studies, we use an array of state-of-the-science and lower-cost approaches to characterize exposures to particulate matter, gaseous pollutants, and tobacco smoke exposure.