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Environmental and Occupational Health
environmental and occupational health

Environmental and Occupational Health

Who's Making Sure
Our Environment
Isn't Making Us Sick?
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our research centers

Our Research Centers

Get involved in our research centers, where you can join a research project or help translate findings into practice and policy.
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our faculty

Our Faculty

Meet the faculty who will teach and mentor you, and learn about the innovative research projects they're directing.
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our alumni

Our Alumni

Read about what our graduates are doing in the environmental and occupational health field.
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Environmental and Occupational Health

The Environmental and Occupational Health (EOH) Department has a sound reputation as a leader in training students to...
  • Identify agents that affect health
  • Study the long-term effects of environmental and occupational health risks
  • Determine the molecular mechanisms of toxic agents that contribute to the development of certain illnesses and diseases.

Environmental health specialists help find ways to promote healthier environments and minimize risks that increase the incidence of respiratory, cardiovascular, and musculoskeletal diseases, asthma, lower respiratory infections, road traffic injuries, poisonings, and drownings.
Occupational health specialists study all aspects of health and safety in the workplace. From exposure to toxins on the job, to workplace violence and lifting injuries, occupational hazards create an enormous health burden, unnecessary pain and suffering, and economic loss in the workplace.

Find a research program for your interests

Many EOH faculty members collaborate with basic sciences and clinical investigators throughout other departments at Pitt Public Health, and the University of Pittsburgh schools of medicine and engineering. Students and faculty perform studies on the principles and practice of environmental health ranging from basic research at the cellular and molecular level to applied translational studies of human disease, population exposure, and public health studies.

In addition, faculty and students work with local governmental organizations, such as the Allegheny County Health Department, the Pittsburgh Office of the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority to study and improve the environmental health of southwestern Pennsylvania.

Pursue a career in environmental and occupational health

Doctoral degree graduates are prepared to work in laboratory-based academic settings as faculty or postdoctoral fellows and become prominent members of government agencies and independent industries. Recent graduates have obtained fellowships at top-tier academic institutions, positions with
the National Institutes of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency, and in firms conducting chemical and environmental risk assessment.

Master's degree graduates play prominent roles as environmental/occupational health practitioners in various settings, including industry, hospitals, government agencies, and private practice.

Degrees

The EOH Department offers two degrees in the environmental health sciences, providing a broad theoretical and practical education for positions in academia, industry, or government. The multiple tracks provide flexibility in acquiring advance training in toxicology, environmental biophysics, molecular and cellular pathobiology, risk assessment, and exposure science. Our professional degree program allows students to earn concentrations in environmental health or risk assessment and apply these concepts to public health practice. Our doctorate-level professional degree program in environmental health sciences provides education for those who aspire to high-level administration or decision-making leadership positions.

 

Kagan and Bayir unlock clues to cell death

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - “Bet...
Kagan and Bayir unlock clues to cell death

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - “Better treatments for traumatic brain injury and acute kidney injuries are desperately needed,” stated Hulya Bayir HULYA BAYIR (EOH). VALERIAN KAGAN (EOH), the study’s senior author, was key in discovering the protein’s important role in the cell-death process. (10/19/2017)

Goldstein says we can’t be short-sighted on weather disasters intensified by global climate change

THE HILL - Emeritus dean and e...
Goldstein says we can’t be short-sighted on weather disasters intensified by global climate change

THE HILL - Emeritus dean and environmental professor BERNARD GOLDSTEIN comments that, as we help communities affected by recent weather disasters, it's time to talk about our national responsibility to fund restoration of areas likely to be repeatedly impacted in the future. “Would it not be better,... (09/09/2017)

NIH awards five-year R01 support to EOH’s Di for antibiotics research

The NIH has just announced a f...
NIH awards five-year R01 support to EOH’s Di for antibiotics research

The NIH has just announced a five-year award to Y. PETER DI of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health (EOH) for his group’s research on developing a new class of antibiotics. Di also serves as the director of the Inhalation Exposure Facility and president of theChinese American Lung... (08/15/2017)

Contaminants in Pittsburgh's drinking water worry D.C. environmental group, but not local experts

WESA 90.5 - Lead isn't the onl...
Contaminants in Pittsburgh's drinking water worry D.C. environmental group, but not local experts

WESA 90.5 - Lead isn't the only potential water contaminant Pittsburgh residents should worry about, according to researchers at the nonprofit Environmental Working Group. Of potential concern are chemicals called trihalomethanes, though they don't worry Pitt researchers including EOH's AARON BARCHO... (07/28/2017)

On health effects, blame the trucks, not the fracking?

WESA 90.5 - WVU’s Mike McCawle...
On health effects, blame the trucks, not the fracking?

WESA 90.5 - WVU’s Mike McCawley studies the spike in diesel truck traffic as a potential contributor to health impacts associated fracking. EOH’s JIM FABISIAK isn’t surprised, as diesel exhaust is a known carcinogen, adding “We also know that it contributes probably significantly to many of the othe... (07/28/2017)

 

Thu
11/30
EOH Journal Club
EOH Journal Club - Fall 2017 - Pattra Chunon EOH Journal Club
EOH Journal Club - Fall 2017 - Pattra Chunon
Thu 11/30 11:00AM - 12:00PM
Bridgeside Point - 339

EOH Journal Club Seminar - Fall 2017
Date: Thursday November 30, 2017
Time: 11am - 12pm
Presenter: Pattra Chunon

Paper:  Temporal Tracking of Microglia Activation in Neurodegeneration at Single-Cell Resolution

Authors: Hansruedi Mathys, Chinnakkaruppan Adaikkan, Fan Gao, Richard M. Ransohoff, Aviv Regev, Li-Huei Tsai

Abstract: Microglia, the tissue-resident macrophages in the brain, are damage sensors that react to nearly any perturbation, including neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Here, using single-cell RNA sequencing, we determined the transcriptome of more than 1,600 individual microglia cells isolated from the hippocampus of a mouse model of severe neurodegeneration with AD-like phenotypes and of control mice at multiple time points during progression of neurodegeneration. In this neurodegeneration model, we discovered two molecularly distinct reactive microglia phenotypes that are typified by modules of co-regulated type I and type II interferon response genes, respectively. Furthermore, our work identified previously unobserved heterogeneity in the response of microglia to neurodegeneration, discovered disease stagespecific microglia cell states, revealed the trajectory of cellular reprogramming of microglia in response to neurodegeneration, and uncovered the underlying transcriptional programs.

Thu
12/7
EOH Journal Club
EOH Journal Club - Fall 2017 - Omar Tahtamooni EOH Journal Club
EOH Journal Club - Fall 2017 - Omar Tahtamooni
Thu 12/7 11:00AM - 12:00PM
Bridgeside Point - 339

EOH Journal Club Seminar - Fall 2017
Date: Thursday December 7, 2017
Time: 11am - 12pm
Presenter: Omar Tahtamooni

Paper: Traffic-Related Air Pollution and Childhood Asthma: Recent Advances and Remaining Gaps in the Exposure Assessment Methods

Authors: Khreis H, Nieuwenhuijsen MJ.

Abstract: Background: Current levels of traffic-related air pollution (TRAP) are associated with the development of childhood asthma, although some inconsistencies and heterogeneity remain. An important part of the uncertainty in studies of TRAP-associated asthma originates from uncertainties in the TRAP exposure assessment and assignment methods. In this work, we aim to systematically review the exposure assessment methods used in the epidemiology of TRAP and childhood asthma, highlight recent advances, remaining research gaps and make suggestions for further research. Methods: We systematically reviewed epidemiological studies published up until 8 September 2016 and available in Embase, Ovid MEDLINE (R), and "Transport database". We included studies which examined the association between children's exposure to TRAP metrics and their risk of "asthma" incidence or lifetime prevalence, from birth to the age of 18 years old. Results: We found 42 studies which examined the associations between TRAP and subsequent childhood asthma incidence or lifetime prevalence, published since 1999. Land-use regression modelling was the most commonly used method and nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) was the most commonly used pollutant in the exposure assessments. Most studies estimated TRAP exposure at the residential address and only a few considered the participants' mobility. TRAP exposure was mostly assessed at the birth year and only a few studies considered different and/or multiple exposure time windows. We recommend that further work is needed including e.g., the use of new exposure metrics such as the composition of particulate matter, oxidative potential and ultra-fine particles, improved modelling e.g., by combining different exposure assessment models, including mobility of the participants, and systematically investigating different exposure time windows. Conclusions: Although our previous meta-analysis found statistically significant associations for various TRAP exposures and subsequent childhood asthma, further refinement of the exposure assessment may improve the risk estimates, and shed light on critical exposure time windows, putative agents, underlying mechanisms and drivers of heterogeneity.
Thu
12/14
EOH Journal Club
EOH Journal Club - Fall 2017 - Amrita Sahu EOH Journal Club
EOH Journal Club - Fall 2017 - Amrita Sahu
Thu 12/14 11:00AM - 12:00PM
Bridgeside Point - 339

EOH Journal Club Seminar - Fall 2017
Date: Thursday December 14, 2017
Time: 11am - 12pm
Presenter: Amrita Sahu

Paper: Bioengineered constructs combined with exercise enhance stem cell-mediated treatment of volumetric muscle loss

Authors: Marco Quarta, Melinda Cromie, Robert Chacon, Justin Blonigan, Victor Garcia, Igor Akimenko, Mark Hamer, Patrick Paine, Merel Stok, Joseph B. Shrager & Thomas A. Rando

Abstract: Volumetric muscle loss (VML) is associated with loss of skeletal muscle function, and current treatments show limited efficacy. Here we show that bioconstructs suffused with genetically-labelled muscle stem cells (MuSCs) and other muscle resident cells (MRCs) are effective to treat VML injuries in mice. Imaging of bioconstructs implanted in damaged muscles indicates MuSCs survival and growth, and ex vivo analyses show force restoration of treated muscles. Histological analysis highlights myofibre formation, neovascularisation, but insufficient innervation. Both innervation and in vivo force production are enhanced when implantation of bioconstructs is followed by an exercise regimen. Significant improvements are also observed when bioconstructs are used to treat chronic VML injury models. Finally, we demonstrate that bioconstructs made with human MuSCs and MRCs can generate functional muscle tissue in our VML model. These data suggest that stem cell-based therapies aimed to engineer tissue in vivo may be effective to treat acute and chronic VML.
© 2017 by University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

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