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A cross-divisional department spanning

Research Areas

Food and Agricultural Systems


When studying agriculture, we must also study its effects on the environment, and the effects of the environment on agriculture. The relationships between food production, policy, public health, and food chain workers’ health and safety must all be considered together, as well. The globally expanding industrial food production model introduces ever greater challenges to all the systems and people it touches, with consequences for climate change, antimicrobial resistance, wasted food, nutrition, hunger, food insecurity and more. The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future draws upon scientific expertise from across disciplines throughout the University to contribute to the body of knowledge, communicate findings and educate future generations that will lead the way toward a resilient food system that benefits all.

Research Highlights

The Center for a Livable Future Wasted Food Project

The CLF’s Wasted Food Project aims to generate evidence that makes a meaningful contribution to the governmental goal of halving the waste of food. Wasted food can be viewed through the lenses of public health, food systems, equity and environment, and the CLF has over a dozen projects on this topic including a major initiative on seafood waste. The projects use an interdisciplinary portfolio of primarily social science and policy research tools. The Center also engages in the policy, practice and communications activities necessary to translate evidence to real-world impact.

The Center for a Livable Future Diet-Climate Study

The CLF’s Diet-Climate Study breaks new ground by advancing the study of the impact of many types of global eating patterns on greenhouse emissions that contribute to climate change. Some of the many diets studied include high-meat consumption, vegan, vegetarian, “low on the food chain” and more. One of the unique features of this study is the consideration of geographical location on impact; for example, a high-meat diet in Brazil is found to contribute more to climate change than a high-meat diet in other countries. Another unique feature of this study is that when calculating impact of specific foods, such as cheese or yogurt, serving size is used instead of mass.

Associated Faculty

Meghan Davis, DVM, PhD*

Davis' research examines the interface of bacteria and hosts to reduce microbe-mediated disease in humans and animals. She applies the principles of one health and microbial ecology, evaluating target microbes and bacterial genes specifically and the larger microbial community (microbiome) broadly.


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Paul Ferraro, PhD

Ferraro's research focuses on behavioral economics and the design and evaluation of environmental programs in the private and public sector. Because these research areas are multi-disciplinary and applied, he collaborates with scientists and engineers from a variety of social, natural and physical science disciplines, as well as practitioners in the field.


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Chris Heaney, PhD*

Chris' research examines the public health impacts of industrial food animal production systems with particular focus on anti-microbial resistance and novel influenza viruses.


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Keeve Nachman, PhD*

Nachman leads investigations on the public health and environmental impacts of industrial agriculture, with particular interest in livestock and poultry production. His research focuses on the human health risks posed by drugs used in food animals.


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Roni Neff, PhD*

Neff's work focuses on food system sustainability and resilience. She is engaged in multiple research projects on the issue of wasted food. Other topics of interest include farm policy, climate change and food system resilience, food system worker health, meat consumption, and framing connections between food systems and public health.


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Jennifer Nuzzo, DrPH, SM

Nuzzo's is an epidemiologist whose work focuses on international and domestic biosurveillance, infectious disease diagnostics, and disease mitigation strategies. She also has worked on issues related to tuberculosis control, foodborne outbreaks, and water security.


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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*

Rule's research goal is the development and evaluation of novel sampling and analysis strategies for the assessment of exposure to biological aerosols and particulate matter, by doing field research and laboratory-based controlled studies. Her field work has provided tools for understanding the impact of agribusiness in the environment and health of the population, especially how the public is exposed to biological aerosols. 


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Kellogg Schwab, PhD*

Schwab's research group has examined the health effects of inadequate management of human and animal waste with a focus on assessing the impact of concentrated animal feeding operations on human health, the environment and quality of life in the communities in which these operations are located.


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Alan Stone, PhD

Stone has studied chemical reactions at nanoparticle/water interfaces for more than 25 years. Synthetic chemicals directly added to environmental media merit special attention, i.e. chemicals used in agriculture, animal production, forestry, and aquaculture, as large volumes of water are used for cooling, paper-making, and water supply. He researches how natural constituents found in such waters interact with treatment chemicals.


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