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Contact Info

615 N. Wolfe Street, E6644

Research Interests

industrial farming; food safety; molecular devices for pathogen detection; disease modeling; antibiotic-resistant bacteria; heavy metals;  environmental and occupational health
Experiences & Accomplishments
Johns Hopkins University
Trained at Hopkins in geography and environmental engineering (PhD '72) and postdoctoral fellow in Environmental Health Sciences ('72-75). NIH staff fellowship followed by senior scientist position at Environmental Defense and professorship at University of Maryland Medical School. Served as scientific advisor to NTP-NIH, CDC, EPA, DOE, OSHA, states of Maryland and New York, World Bank, ILO, UNEP, WHO, and PAHO. My research and professional activities bridge science and public policy, with a focus on the incorporation of research in both toxicology and epidemiology into environmental and occupational health policy. Areas of current focus include: cardiovascular risks of arsenic, lead, and cadmium; immunotoxicity of mercury compounds; health and environmental impacts of industrial food animal production. These projects include epidemiological studies and mechanistic research on gene:environment interactions and the emergence and dissemination of antibiotic resistant pathogens in populations and in the environment. Some of this research is conducted internationally (mercury studies in the Amazon; lead/cadmium/arsenic studies in Mexico; mining and development in Mongolia; zoonotic diseases in Thailand and the Netherlands).  In 2016 I was appointed as special consultant to the WHO Food Safety Programme.
Honors & Awards
Fellowships from Fulbright, Kennedy, Rockefeller, Danforth, Woodrow Wilson Foundations. Phi Beta Kappa, Vassar College. Barsky Award, Amer Public Health Assn. MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Fellow, Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Fellowship. Lifetime Achievement Award, Society of Toxicology Metals Section. Distinguished Alumna award, Johns Hopkins University. Member, scientific advisory councils for EPA, PAHO, CDC, Department of Energy, NIH-NIEHS. Consultant, World Bank, WHO, UNEP, OSHA, and ILO.   ELLEN SILBERGELD IN THE NEWS PBS interview on antimicrobial resistance and agriculture August 2017 Interview about "Chickenizing" on Sirius radio October 10, 2016 Interview about antimicrobial resistance BBC_World_News-2016-09-22_02-14-37.mp4 Antibiotics.mp4 WYPR interview with Tom Pelton THE ENVIRONMENT IN FOCUS -- interview about my book "Chickenizing Farms and Fork" SEPTEMBER 8, 2016 JOHNS HOPKINS MAGAZINE "BETWEEN FARM TO FORK" US CONGRESS HEARINGS ON SCIENCE AT THE EPA MARCH 2014 INTERVIEW AT SAIS Bologna on The Mongolia Project, 2012 ARTICLE IN VASSAR MAGAZINE MRSA in food animal production 2013 HOW IT ALL BEGAN WITH THE CHICKENS 2009  __________________ SPECIAL NEWS:  In September 2016 my book, CHICKENIZING FARMS AND FOOD, was published by JHU Press.  This tells how I got involved with studying antimicrobial resistance in agriculture, contests with government and industry, new discoveries in the lab and field, and proposes solutions to the way we feed ourselves in the 21st century. The first review of this book appears Science ADDITIONAL REVIEWS CAN BE FOUND IN KIRKUS, THE TIMES (LONDON) EDUCATIONAL SUPPLEMENT.
Select Publications
I have worked in several areas of environmental and occupational health, including toxicology, microbiology, and epidemiology. Below are representative papers that demonstrate the relevance of these fields for understanding and, importantly, preventing these risks In 2016, I published a book, CHICKENIZING FARMS AND FOOD, which deals with the history of intensive or industrial food animal production starting in Maryland and now the global model in agriculture, and the current problems of worker and food safety, environmental impacts, and community integrity.
  • PAPER ON ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE AND AGRICULTURE Yaqi You, Li Song, Bareng A. S. Nonyane, Lance B. Price, Ellen K. Silbergeld. Genomic differences between nasal Staphylococcus aureus from Hog Slaughterhouse Workers and Their Community. PLoS ONE, 2018
  • PAPER ON MERCURY AND OTHER TOXIC METALS Eagles-Smith CA, Silbergeld EK, Basu N, Bustamante P, Diaz-Barriga F, Hopkins W, Kidd KA, Nyland JF Modulators of mercury risk to wildlife and humans in the context of rapid global change. AMBIO 2018 47(2):170-197. doi: 10.1007/s13280-017-1011-x.
  • OTHER PUBLICATIONS POLICY RELEVANT PAPERS Silbergeld EK, Mandrioli D, and Cranor CF. Regulating Chemicals: Law, Science, and the Unbearable Burdens of Regulation. Annu. Rev. Public Health 2015. 36:175–91 Aidara-Kane A, Angulo FJ, Conly JM, Minato Y, Silbergeld EK, McEwen SA, Collignon PJ. World Health Organization WHO) guidelines on use of medically important antimicrobials in food-Producing animals. Antimicrob Resist Infect Control. 2018; 7:7.
  • OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH Kyeremateng-Amoah E, Nowell J, Lutty A, Lees PS, Silbergeld EK. Laceration injuries and infections among workers in the poultry processing and pork meatpacking industries. Am J Ind Med. 2014 Jun;57(6):669-82, 2014.
Health impacts of industrial poultry production
Urban fishing risks in Baltimore
Exposures to mercury in small scale goldmining
Environmental Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease in Mongolia
Chronic Hydrocarbon Spills: Linking the Soil Microbiome to Biodegradation
Arsenic, Epigenetics and Incident Cardiovascular Disease in American Indian
Preventing community-associated methicillin and multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections in infants and young children