During the past decade, significant conceptual changes have occurred in relation to how researchers think about health and diseases, the role the environment plays in disease etiology, and how best to assess human exposure to environmental pollutants and dietary chemicals. A key overarching concept that emerged is the ‘exposome’, which the CDC defines as “the measure of all the exposures of an individual in a lifetime and how those exposures relate to health”. Exposomics is the study of the exposome and relies, among others, on biomonitoring to assess internal exposure and its effects through the measurement of biomarkers. A biomarker is “a key molecular or cellular event [or molecule] that links a specific environmental exposure to a health outcome”. According to the CDC, biomonitoring provides the most health-relevant assessments of exposures because it measures the amount of a chemical that is actually present internally in people, and not the amount of the chemical that is present in the environment. We propose to identify specific environmental and dietary factors that affect the health of New Yorkers. Specifically, we propose to address the role of economic, ethnic, and geographic disparities in disease incidence, focusing on cancer, cardiovascular and neurological diseases, diabetes and other obesity-related diseases. To this effect we will employ both a comprehensive biomonitoring approach and a specific disease-focused approach.
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Kurunthachalam Kannan, Ph.D.
- Deputy Director of the Division of Environmental Health Sciences
We focus on biomonitoring sources and pathways of human exposure to organic pollutants and their association with health outcomes, providing information for mitigating environmental burdens of diseases in humans.
David A. Lawrence, Ph.D.
- Neuroimmunology and Immunotoxicology
We study the immunological aspect of the system biology effects from genetic susceptibilities and environmental stress defined as the exposome on autoimmune diseases, immune deficiencies, and neurodegenerative and neurobehavioral illnesses.
Patrick J. Parsons, Ph.D.
- Director of the Division of Environmental Health Sciences
We study human exposure to toxic metals/metalloids (biomonitoring) and long-lived nuclides (radiobioassay); and develop novel speciation methods by coupling LC and GC to ICP-MS, while using portable XRF for field-based studies.