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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.

 

Wenzel identifies corticosteroid response phenotypes for severe asthma

MEDPAGE TODAY - With the aid ...
Wenzel identifies corticosteroid response phenotypes for severe asthma

MEDPAGE TODAY - With the aid of a computational tool, Wenzel says they have identified key phenotypes among patients with severe asthma that can help predict who may benefit and not benefit from treatment with systemic corticosteroids (CS). Aware of the possible side effects, EOH's Sally Wenzel sai... (03/07/2019)

Goldstein on report that EPA leadership stalled testing for chemical health risks

EARTH.COM NEWS - EOH's Bernar...
Goldstein on report that EPA leadership stalled testing for chemical health risks

EARTH.COM NEWS - EOH's Bernard Goldstein told the Wall Street Journal that the report shows that the Trump administration is challenging the EPA's long-held standard approaches to science.  (02/20/2019)

Fabisiak comments on the region's cancer risk related to air pollution

ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH NEWS - A...
Fabisiak comments on the region's cancer risk related to air pollution

ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH NEWS - Around one in three Americans gets a cancer diagnosis during their lifetime. "If someone chooses to smoke, most of the risk will only impact them," said James Fabisiak. "When we think about air pollution, on the other hand, the risk is smaller than smoking but that risk ... (12/18/2018)

Travis Lear awarded predoctoral fellowship F31 award

Travis Lear (EOH '20) has bee...
Travis Lear awarded predoctoral fellowship F31 award

Travis Lear (EOH '20) has been awarded an F31 predoctoral fellowship from the NHLBI. His project will focus on the molecular mechanisms of dysregulated inflammation in the lung, which is the cause of several lung diseases and a major cause of morbidity and mortality in critically-ill patients.  (12/13/2018)

Sahu and Ambrosio find longevity protein rejuvenates muscle healing in old mice

UPMC - New research, develope...
Sahu and Ambrosio find longevity protein rejuvenates muscle healing in old mice

UPMC - New research, developed largely from Amrita Sahu's (EOH) thesis work, implicates the so-called “longevity protein” Klotho, both as culprit and therapeutic target to the inability for skeletal muscle to hear after injury as we get older. “We found that we were able to rescue, at least in part... (11/27/2018)

 

Thu
3/28
EOH Journal Club
Maternal phthalate exposure promotes allergic airway inflammation over 2 generations EOH Journal Club
Maternal phthalate exposure promotes allergic airway inflammation over 2 generations
Thu 3/28 11:00AM - 12:00PM
4140 Public Health, Young Seminar Room

Presenter: Nicole Shuangjia Xue

Paper: Maternal phthalate exposure promotes allergic airway inflammation over 2 generations through epigenetic modifications

Authors: Susanne Jahreis, PhD, Saskia Trump, PhD, Mario Bauer, MD, Tobias Bauer, PhD,c Loreen Th€urmann, MSc, Ralph Feltens, PhD, Qi Wang, PhD, Lei Gu, PhD, Konrad Gr€utzmann, PhD, Stefan R€oder, PhD, Marco Averbeck, MD, Dieter Weichenhan, PhD, Christoph Plass, PhD, Ulrich Sack, MD, Michael Borte, MD, Virginie Dubourg, MSc, Gerrit Sch€u€urmann, PhD, Jan C. Simon, MD, Martin von Bergen, PhD, J€org Hackerm€uller, PhD,h Roland Eils, PhD, Irina Lehmann, PhD, and Tobias Polte, PhD

Abstract:
Background: Prenatal and early postnatal exposures to environmental factors are considered responsible for the increasing prevalence of allergic diseases. Although there is some evidence for allergy-promoting effects in children because of exposure to plasticizers, such as phthalates, findings of previous studies are inconsistent and lack mechaistic information.

Objective: We investigated the effect of maternal phthalate exposure on asthma development in subsequent generations and their underlying mechanisms, including epigenetic alterations.

Methods: Phthalate metabolites were measured within the prospective mother-child cohort Lifestyle and Environmental Factors and Their Influence on Newborns Allergy Risk (LINA) and correlated with asthma development in the children. A murine transgenerational asthma model was used to identify involved pathways.


Results: In LINA maternal urinary concentrations of mono-nbutyl phthalate, a metabolite of butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP), were associated with an increased asthma risk in the children. Using a murine transgenerational asthma model, we demonstrate a direct effect of BBP on asthma severity in the offspring with a persistently increased airway inflammation up to the F2 generation. This disease-promoting effect was mediated by BBP-induced global DNA hypermethylation in CD41 T cells of the offspring because treatment with a DNA-demethylating agent alleviated exacerbation of allergic
airway inflammation. Thirteen transcriptionally downregulated genes linked to promoter or enhancer hypermethylation were identified. Among these, the GATA-3 repressor zinc finger protein 1 (Zfpm1) emerged as a potential mediator of the enhanced susceptibility for TH2-driven allergic asthma.

Conclusion: These data provide strong evidence that maternal BBP exposure increases the risk for allergic airway inflammation in the offspring by modulating the expression of genes involved in TH2 differentiation through epigenetic alterations. (J Allergy Clin Immunol 2018;141:741-53.)

Thu
4/4
EOH Journal Club
Marine n−3 Fatty Acids and Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer EOH Journal Club
Marine n−3 Fatty Acids and Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer
Thu 4/4 11:00AM - 12:00PM
4140 Public Health, Young Seminar Room

Presenter: Grace Tengziyi Ge

Paper: Marine n−3 Fatty Acids and Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer

Authors: JoAnn E. Manson, M.D., Dr.P.H., Nancy R. Cook, Sc.D., I‑Min Lee, M.B., B.S., Sc.D., William Christen, Sc.D., Shari S. Bassuk, Sc.D., Samia Mora, M.D., M.H.S.,Heike Gibson, Ph.D., Christine M. Albert, M.D.,M.P.H., David Gordon, M.A.T.,Trisha Copeland, M.S., R.D., Denise D’Agostino, B.S., Georgina Friedenberg, M.P.H., Claire Ridge, M.P.H., Vadim Bubes, Ph.D., Edward L. Giovannucci, M.D., Sc.D., Walter C. Willet, M.D., Dr.P.H., and Julie E. Buring, Sc.D.,

Abstract:
BACKGROUND
Higher intake of marine n−3 (also called omega-3) fatty acids has been associated with reduced risks of cardiovascular disease and cancer in several observational studies. Whether supplementation with n−3 fatty acids has such effects in general populations at usual risk for these end points is unclear.

METHODS
We conducted a randomized, placebo-controlled trial, with a two-by-two factorial design, of vitamin D3 (at a dose of 2000 IU per day) and marine n−3 fatty acids (at a dose of 1 g per day) in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer among men 50 years of age or older and women 55 years of age or older in the United States. Primary end points were major cardiovascular events (a composite of myocardial infarction, stroke, or death from cardiovascular causes) and invasive cancer of any type. Secondary end points included individual components of the composite cardiovascular end point, the composite end point plus coronary revascularization (expanded composite of cardiovascular events), site-specific cancers, and death from cancer. Safety was also assessed. This article reports the results of the comparison of n−3 fatty acids with placebo.

RESULTS

A total of 25,871 participants, including 5106 black participants, underwent randomization. During a median follow-up of 5.3 years, a major cardiovascular event occurred in 386 participants in the n−3 group and in 419 in the placebo group (hazard ratio, 0.92; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.80 to 1.06; P = 0.24). Invasive cancer was diagnosed in 820 participants in the n−3 group and in 797 in the placebo group (hazard ratio, 1.03; 95% CI, 0.93 to 1.13; P = 0.56). In the analyses of key secondary end points, the hazard ratios were as follows: for the expanded composite end point of cardiovascular events, 0.93 (95% CI, 0.82 to 1.04); for total myocardial infarction, 0.72 (95% CI, 0.59 to 0.90); for total stroke, 1.04 (95% CI, 0.83 to 1.31); for death from cardiovascular causes, 0.96 (95% CI, 0.76 to 1.21); and for death from cancer (341 deaths from cancer), 0.97 (95% CI, 0.79 to 1.20). In the analysis of death from any
cause (978 deaths overall), the hazard ratio was 1.02 (95% CI, 0.90 to 1.15). No excess risks of bleeding or other serious adverse events were observed.

CONCLUSIONS
Supplementation with n−3 fatty acids did not result in a lower incidence of major cardiovascular events or cancer than placebo. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others; VITAL ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01169259.)

Fri
4/12
EOH Seminar Series
Modern Oil and Gas Development, Health Risks, and Setbacks: Are We Asking the Right Questions? EOH Seminar Series
Modern Oil and Gas Development, Health Risks, and Setbacks: Are We Asking the Right Questions?
Fri 4/12 12:00PM - 1:00PM
A719 Public Health

Wed
5/1
EOH Conference
“Modernizing Toxicity Testing and Risk Assessment,” A-E Society of Toxicology Annual Meeting EOH Conference
“Modernizing Toxicity Testing and Risk Assessment,” A-E Society of Toxicology Annual Meeting
Wed 5/1 to Thu 5/2
University Club

The 33rd Annual Meeting of the Allegheny-Erie Society of Toxicology Regional Chapter will focus on new approaches to hazard identification and risk assessment, as well as alternative models and modeling for toxicity testing and exposure assessment.

© 2019 by University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

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