The Johns Hopkins Environmental Health Microbiology and Immunology Laboratory
The research of the Johns Hopkins Environmental Health Microbiology and Immunology Laboratory (JH-EHMIL) focuses on improving understanding of the dynamics and determinants of environmental and occupational stressors and infectious diseases.
A goal of JH-EHMIL is to advance understanding of the health consequences of joint exposures to pathogens and toxicants in environmental and occupational contexts, including food animal production, drinking and recreational water, and municipal and industrial waste management. Training of researchers in JH-EHMIL bridges the laboratory and population-based sciences and integrates advanced methods from both disciplines into community-driven epidemiologic studies of pathogen and metal exposures, antimicrobial resistance, and host immune response to infection.
A central challenge JH-EHMIL scientists are working on is the development of minimally-invasive exposure and disease outcome biomarkers that could reduce participant burden related to biospecimen collection in population-based studies. Minimally-invasive biomarkers in saliva and nasal swabs could advance understanding of the temporal dynamics of exposure and natural history of disease in remote, resource-limited settings where invasive collections (blood, stool, urine) pose practical challenges.
Dr. Heaney also teaches courses as part of the PhD Track in Exposure Sciences and Environmental Epidemiology.
BEACH RECREATION AND PUBLIC HEALTH
Studying the health impacts of recreational beach activities, particularly waterbourne and other infectious diseases.
EMERGING PATHOGENS AND LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION
Our research examines the public health impacts of industrial food animal production systems with particular focus on anti-microbial resistance and novel influenza viruses.
ARSENIC IMMUNOTOXICITY, INFECTION AND PREGNANCY
Our research is working on determining the role of arsenic and other metal exposures in altering immune function and risk of infection during pregnancy in South Asia.
Our research will develop "next generation" salivary assays to assess immunological responses to environmental stressors and infectious diseases.