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A cross-divisional department spanning

Research Areas

Children's Environmental Health

Children are not little adults – they are particularly vulnerable to environmental exposures based on their unique behavior patterns and ongoing physiologic development. Children’s environmental health is a multidisciplinary field of science that aims to characterize early life environmental exposures and how they affect development and health throughout the lifespan. Our faculty have expertise assessing children’s exposures to chemicals, air pollutants, allergens, and other environmental hazards as well as determining effects of these exposures on children’s health.  

Research Highlights

Understanding Environmental Determinants of Lung Health Disparities

The BREATHE Center, a 15+ year collaboration among investigators at the School of Public Health and the School of Medicine, is dedicated to pulmonary health, including a strong focus on asthma among inner-city minority children and COPD in the adult population. The goal of the center is to improve lung-related health and health disparities through research, community engagement, and advocacy. Exposure assessment and environmental epidemiology have been central to all BREATHE Center research investigations. Through the application of these two disciplines the Center has uncovered significant public health findings that are shaping public health and clinical practices and guidelines. For example, BREATHE investigations have found that exposure to endocrine disrupting compounds, particulate matter, and allergens can impact pediatric asthma morbidity among inner city children.

Evaluating Early Life Environmental Influences on Development

The ORigins of Child Health And Resilience in Development (ORCHARD) cohort is an ongoing prospective study enrolling pregnant women in Baltimore. Initiated in 2016 with funding from a Johns Hopkins Discovery Award, ORCHARD is designed to assess early life environmental exposures and the developmental origins of children’s health. For example, a recent study assessed gestational exposures to organophosphate ester flame retardants in relation to adverse birth outcomes in the ORCHARD cohort.

Associated Faculty

Jessie Buckley, PhD*

As an environmental and pediatric/perinatal epidemiologist, Jessie's goal is to conduct innovative and high impact research to inform environmental policies targeted at improving children’s health. 


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Meghan Davis, DVM, PhD*

As a molecular epidemiologist and an environmental microbiologist, Meghan studies the interface of bacteria and hosts to reduce microbe-mediated disease in humans and animals.


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Natalie Exum, PhD

Natalie is the Senior Technical Advisor for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) for PMA2020's mobile health data collection platform. She oversees PMA2020 WASH surveys and data analysis in all program countries.


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Chris Heaney, PhD*

Chris' research focuses on environmentally-mediated impacts on health and well-being, specifically community land use, waste disposal, and food production practices, and integrates the academic disciplines of environmental microbiology, molecular biology, immunology, epidemiology, and community-based participatory research (CBPR).


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Kirsten Koehler, PhD*

Kirsten's goals are to improve exposure assessment methods to inform occupational and public health policy. 


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Jordan Kuiper, PhD

Jordan is an environmental epidemiologist working on several projects related to early life chemical exposures and childhood health and developmental outcomes.


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Keeve Nachman, PhD*

Keeve's research aims to generate the scientific evidence needed to support decisions that mitigate human exposures to chemical and microbial hazards associated with food production.


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Lesliam Quirós-Alcalá, PhD*

Lesliam's research focuses on characterizing environmental exposures to endocrine disrupting agents and examining their potential health effects on highly vulnerable, low-income and minority populations underrepresented and understudied in public health research, including occupational populations, pregnant women and women of reproductive age, and children.


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Ana Rule, PhD*

Ana's research goal is the development and evaluation of novel sampling and analysis strategies for the assessment of exposure to biological aerosols, e-cigarette aerosols, and particulate matter. 


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*Denotes faculty who are accepting PhD students.