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A cross-divisional department spanning

Research Areas

Environmental Epidemiology

Environmental epidemiologists seek to understand the health effects of biological, chemical, and physical stressors to improve the health and well-being of human populations. EHE researchers are on the forefront of developing and applying advanced epidemiologic and causal inference approaches to address pressing environmental health challenges. Our faculty are nationally and internationally recognized leaders in their fields with expertise in a variety of research areas, including the effects of chemical exposures, climate, air pollutants, and the built environment on health across the lifespan.

Research Highlights

Methodology for Children’s Environmental Health Research

The NIH’s Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes Program aims to understand the effects of a broad range of early environmental influences on child health and development. As part of ECHO’s Data Analysis Center, EHE faculty serve as experts on epidemiologic methods for environmental health research including application of exposure biomarkers, geospatial methods for exposure assessment, and estimating effects of exposure mixtures. Our faculty are leading and collaborating on numerous ECHO projects leveraging rich chemical exposure data available within ECHO.

Using Electronic Health Records (EHRs) for Population Health Research

Geisinger Center for Health Research and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health joined to form the Environmental Health Institute (EHI) in 2007. The mission of the EHI is to understand how land use, the built environment, energy production and use, food systems and water systems may impact human health in central and northeast Pennsylvania. EHRs are ideal for environmental epidemiologic research given individuals seeking medical care are represented across diverse built, physical, and social environments. Geisinger EHRs have been used to study the effects of unconventional natural gas development on asthma, birth outcomes, chronic rhinosinusitis, depressive symptoms, fatigue, heart failure, and migraine; risk of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection from high-density livestock operations; and effects of built and natural environments on type 2 diabetes risk in adults.

Associated Faculty

Jacqueline Agnew, PhD

The goal of Dr. Agnew's research is to better understand the relationship between workplace exposures, worker characteristics, and musculoskeletal disorders so that these debilitating and expensive conditions can be prevented.


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Daniel Barnett, MD

Dr. Barnett's research interests include best practice models to enhance all-hazards public health emergency readiness and response.


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Joseph Bressler, PhD*

Joe's laboratory has been studying transporters and their interaction with environmental toxins.


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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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Shima Hamidi, PhD*

Dr. Hamidi has expertise in geospatial data, built environment, housing and transportation and their connections to public health.


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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 research goals involve the use of direct-reading instrumentation to improve spatiotemporal exposure assessment. Direct-reading (i.e. “real-time”) monitors can rapidly assess exposures to various hazards.


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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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Gurumurthy "Ram" Ramachandran, PhD, CIH*

Ram has conducted pioneering studies in occupational hygiene decision-making that synthesizes mathematical exposure models, monitoring data, and probabilistic expert judgment within a Bayesian framework. 


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Kellogg Schwab, PhD*

Kellogg's research laboratory focuses on environmental microbiology and engineering with an emphasis on the fate and transport of chemicals, emerging contaminants and pathogenic microorganisms in water, food, and the environment.


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Fenna Sillé, PhD*

The focus of Fenna's research group is to understand the effects of environmental exposures on the development and function of our immune system.


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Genee Smith, PhD*

Genee's research focuses on understanding the disproportionate burden of a changing climate on vulnerable populations and the impacts of neighborhood-level environmental exposures, including degraded infrastructure, unfair development, and chemical pollutants, on health disparities.


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*Denotes faculty who are accepting PhD students.