Student Research

Department of Environmental and Occupational Health students at the master’s, doctoral, and postdoctoral levels are actively involved in research that’s impacting public health locally, nationally, and internationally. The following are some of our outstanding student researchers.

CURRENT STUDENT RESEARCH

Kim Garrett is a graduate student researcher that works with mitochondrial poisons in the Peterson-Pearce lab. She studies the impacts of azide, phosphine, and cyanide on respiratory complex IV, cytochrome c oxidase. The goal of her research is to propose and test novel antidotes to these human toxicants based on their molecular mechanisms. She works mainly through spectrophotometric methods including electronic absorption spectroscopy and electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy (EPR). She researches toxicants and antidotes in vivo with an insect model using the larvae of the greater wax moth, G. mellonella, via an antidote screening technique developed by the Peterson-Pearce lab. Her publications include a study of gold(I) compounds as potential phosphine antidotes and an investigation of the binding mechanism of a cobalt-Schiff-based macrocycle to azide.

Devin Boyles is a virology research technician in Dr. Amy Hartman's lab in the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Vaccine Research. Her research focuses on rare disease outcomes of Rift Valley fever in rodent models such as neurological and congenital manifestations. She specializes in tissue processing, immunohistological/immunofluorescent staining, microscopic imaging, and image data analysis and has developed unique staining protocols for reproducible visualization of Rift Valley fever virus in rat and primate tissues. The Hartman lab also studies other Bunyaviruses such as La Crosse virus and Jamestown Canyon virus which are transmitted by mosquitoes in the United States and have recently been shown to cause miscarriages in white-tailed deer.

Maximize Past Student Research

Student Research News

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Exempt from inspection: States ignore lead-contaminated meat in food banks  

Exempt from inspection: States ignore lead-contaminated meat in food banks

ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH NEWS -  Food banks in the U.S. are on course for a preventable collision between record-setting food insecurity and lead-contaminated meat. Though hunter-donated meat provides crucial protein to U.S. food banks, a lack of oversight could result in potentially hundreds of thousa... (10/15/2020)
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Totoni and Fabisiak examine lead contamination in hunted meat 

Totoni and Fabisiak examine lead contamination in hunted meat

ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH NEWS - MPH student Samantha Totoni (EOH '21), associate professor James Fabisiak, and BCHS's Martha Ann Terry look into lead contamination in hunted meat. Despite the mounting concerns over lead exposure from wild game, lead ammunition use continues as hunters and their familie... (03/11/2020)
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Tyurina finds genetic engineering could open possibilities for Parkinson’s patients 

Tyurina finds genetic engineering could open possibilities for Parkinson’s patients

MEDICIAL LIFE SCIENCES -  A team of researchers including EOH's Yulia Tyurina unveiled the most promising strategies in applying genetic engineering. The noble method can help study the role of cellular processes in the disease progression, develop new treatment methods and drugs, and estimate thei... (09/16/2019)
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Sahu and Ambrosio find longevity protein rejuvenates muscle healing in old mice 

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)