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.

 

Can air pollution make coronavirus worse? Wenzel says yes.

ALLEGHENY FRONT - There’s ple...
Can air pollution make coronavirus worse? Wenzel says yes.

ALLEGHENY FRONT - There’s plenty of biological evidence, said Sally Wenzel, EOH chair. Pollution can damage cells that line breathing passageways, which form the lung’s natural defense from foreign agents. “When they’re damaged, they don’t function nearly as well as a barrier. And so things like vi... (04/04/2020)

Wenzel explains how to handle package deliveries

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE – EOH...
Wenzel explains how to handle package deliveries

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE – EOH Chair Sally Wenzel says, “The easiest way to make sure that you aren’t bringing the virus in with your packages is to treat the package as though a COVID-19 positive person last handled it: Wipe off all items before putting them away, throw out your packaging and wash ... (04/02/2020)

Wenzel on the burning problem of America’s sugar cane growers

BLOOMBERG QUINT - Sally Wenze...
Wenzel on the burning problem of America’s sugar cane growers

BLOOMBERG QUINT - Sally Wenzel, EOH professor and director of Pitt Medical Center's Asthma Institute, says that “The only way to answer the question” as to whether sugarcane burning is the direct cause of the respiratory issues that residents experience “is with a better level of granularity—to do ... (03/28/2020)

Totoni and Fabisiak examine lead contamination in hunted meat

ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH NEWS - M...
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)

Bernstein warns EPA making ‘secret science’ rule more restrictive

THE HILL - “My first reading ...
Bernstein warns EPA making ‘secret science’ rule more restrictive

THE HILL - “My first reading of it as it came up was they actually made it worse,” said EOH’s Bernard Goldstein, adding that the agency will be limiting the number of studies it considers, weakening the pool of research from which it draws conclusions. “We use consensus in the scientific community ... (03/08/2020)

 

Thu
4/9
EOH Journal Club
Organophosphorus pesticide chlorpyrifos intake promotes obesity and insulin resistance - ONLINE EOH Journal Club
Organophosphorus pesticide chlorpyrifos intake promotes obesity and insulin resistance - ONLINE
Thu 4/9 11:00AM - 12:00PM


Join Zoom Meeting https://pitt.zoom.us/j/152532472  Meeting ID: 152 532 472

Presenter: Jenna Kuhn

Paper: Organophosphorus pesticide chlorpyrifos intake promotes obesity and insulin resistance through impacting gut and gut microbiota

Authors: Yiran Liang, Jing Zhan, Donghui Liu, Mai Luo, Jiajun Han, Xueke Liu, Chang Liu, Zheng Cheng, Zhiqiang Zhou, and Peng Wang

Abstract:
Background
Disruption of the gut microbiota homeostasis may induce low-grade inflammation leading to obesity-associated diseases. A major protective mechanism is to use the multi-layered mucus structures to keep a safe distance between gut epithelial cells and microbiota. To investigate whether pesticides would induce insulin resistance/obesity through interfering with mucus-bacterial interactions, we conducted a study to determine how long-term exposure to chlorpyrifos affected C57Bl/6 and CD-1 (ICR) mice fed high- or normal-fat diets. To further investigate the effects of chlorpyrifos-altered microbiota, antibiotic treatment and microbiota transplantation experiments were conducted.

Results
The results showed that chlorpyrifos caused broken integrity of the gut barrier, leading to increased lipopolysaccharide entry into the body and finally low-grade inflammation, while genetic background and diet pattern have limited influence on the chlorpyrifos-induced results. Moreover, the mice given chlorpyrifos-altered microbiota had gained more fat and lower insulin sensitivity.

Conclusions
Our results suggest that widespread use of pesticides may contribute to the worldwide epidemic of inflammation-related diseases.

Click Here For Article

Thu
4/16
EOH Journal Club
M2 polarization of macrophages facilitates arsenic-induced cell transformation of lung - ONLINE EOH Journal Club
M2 polarization of macrophages facilitates arsenic-induced cell transformation of lung - ONLINE
Thu 4/16 11:00AM - 12:00PM


Join Zoom Meeting https://pitt.zoom.us/j/848181150 Meeting ID: 848 181 150

Presenter: Grace Ge

Paper: M2 polarization of macrophages facilitates arsenic-induced cell transformation of lung epithelial cells

Authors:  Jiajun Cui, Wenhua Xu, Jian Chen, Hui Li, Lu Dai, Jacqueline A. Frank,Shaojun Peng, Siying Wang, Gang Chen

Abstract: The alterations in microenvironment upon chronic arsenic exposure may
contribute to arsenic-induced lung carcinogenesis. Immune cells, such as
macrophages, play an important role in mediating the microenvironment in the lungs.
Macrophages carry out their functions after activation. There are two activation status
for macrophages: classical (M1) or alternative (M2); the latter is associated with
tumorigenesis. Our previous work showed that long-term arsenic exposure induces
transformation of lung epithelial cells. However, the crosstalk between epithelial cells
and macrophages upon arsenic exposure has not been investigated. In this study,
using a co-culture system in which human lung epithelial cells are cultured with
macrophages, we determined that long-term arsenic exposure polarizes macrophages
towards M2 status through ROS generation. Co-culture with epithelial cells further
enhanced the polarization of macrophages as well as transformation of epithelial cells,
while blocking macrophage M2 polarization decreased the transformation. In addition,
macrophage M2 polarization decreased autophagy activity, which may account for
increased cell transformation of epithelial cells with co-culture of macrophages.


Click Here For Article