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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?
Learn more
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.
See our centers
our faculty

Our Faculty

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

Our Alumni

Read about what our graduates are doing in the environmental and occupational health field.
Meet our alumni

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.

Thu
1/26
EOH Journal Club
EOH Journal Club - Spring 2017 - Amrita Sahu EOH Journal Club
EOH Journal Club - Spring 2017 - Amrita Sahu
Thu 1/26 11:00AM - 12:00PM
Bridgeside Point - 339

EOH Journal Club Seminar - Spring 2017

 

Date: Thursday January 26, 2017

 

Time: 11am - 12pm Presenter: Amrita Sahu 

 

Paper:  A single heterochronic blood exchange reveals rapid inhibition of multiple tissues by old bloodAuthors: Justin Rebo, Melod Mehdipour, Ranveer Gathwala, Keith Causey, Yan Liu, Michael J. Conboy & Irina M. Conboy

 

Abstract: Heterochronic parabiosis rejuvenates the performance of old tissue stem cells at some expense to the young, but whether this is through shared circulation or shared organs is unclear. Here we show that heterochronic blood exchange between young and old mice without sharing other organs, affects tissues within a few days, and leads to different outcomes than heterochronic parabiosis. Investigating muscle, liver and brain hippocampus, in the presence or absence of muscle injury, we find that, in many cases, the inhibitory effects of old blood are more pronounced than the benefits of young, and that peripheral tissue injury compounds the negative effects. We also explore mechanistic explanations, including the role of B2M and TGF-beta. We conclude that, compared with heterochronic parabiosis, heterochronic blood exchange in small animals is less invasive and enables better-controlled studies with more immediate translation to therapies for humans.

Thu
1/26
EOH Seminar Series
"Microglia and Astrocyte in Alzheimer's Disease: Partners in crime?" EOH Seminar Series
"Microglia and Astrocyte in Alzheimer's Disease: Partners in crime?"
Thu 1/26 12:00PM - 1:00PM
Bridgeside Point - 540

Thu
2/2
EOH Journal Club
EOH Journal Club - Spring 2017 - Rahel Birru EOH Journal Club
EOH Journal Club - Spring 2017 - Rahel Birru
Thu 2/2 11:00AM - 12:00PM
Bridgeside Point - 339

EOH Journal Club Seminar - Spring 2017

Date: Thursday February 2, 2017

Time: 11am - 12pm

Presenter: Rahel Birru

Paper:   Airway bacteria drive a progressive COPD-like phenotype in mice with polymeric immunoglobulin receptor deficiency

Authors:
Richmond BW, Brucker RM, Han W, Du RH, Zhang Y, Cheng DS, Gleaves L,
Abdolrasulnia R, Polosukhina D, Clark PE, Bordenstein SR, Blackwell TS,
Polosukhin VV

Abstract: Mechanisms driving persistent airway
inflammation in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are
incompletely understood. As secretory immunoglobulin A (SIgA) deficiency
in small airways has been reported in COPD patients, we hypothesized
that immunobarrier dysfunction resulting from reduced SIgA contributes
to chronic airway inflammation and disease progression. Here we show
that polymeric immunoglobulin receptor-deficient (pIgR(-/-)) mice, which
lack SIgA, spontaneously develop COPD-like pathology as they age.
Progressive airway wall remodelling and emphysema in pIgR(-/-) mice are
associated with an altered lung microbiome, bacterial invasion of the
airway epithelium, NF-κB activation, leukocyte infiltration and
increased expression of matrix metalloproteinase-12 and neutrophil
elastase. Re-derivation of pIgR(-/-) mice in germ-free conditions or
treatment with the anti-inflammatory phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitor
roflumilast prevents COPD-like lung inflammation and remodelling. These
findings show that pIgR/SIgA deficiency in the airways leads to
persistent activation of innate immune responses to resident lung
microbiota, driving progressive small airway remodelling and emphysema.
Thu
2/9
EOH Journal Club
EOH Journal Club - Spring 2017 - Travis Lear EOH Journal Club
EOH Journal Club - Spring 2017 - Travis Lear
Thu 2/9 11:00AM - 12:00PM
Bridgeside Point - 339

EOH Journal Club Seminar - Spring 2017

Date: Thursday February 9, 2017

Time: 11am - 12pm

Presenter: Travis Lear

Paper: Genome-wide in vivo screen identifies novel host regulators of metastatic colonization

Authors:
Louise van der Weyden, Mark J. Arends, Andrew D. Campbell, Tobias Bald,
Hannah Wardle-Jones, Nicola Griggs, Martin Del Castillo
Velasco-Herrera, Thomas Tüting, Owen J. Sansom, Natasha A. Karp, Simon
Clare, Diane Gleeson, Edward Ryder, Antonella Galli, Elizabeth Tuck,
Emma L. Cambridge, Thierry Voet, Iain C. Macaulay, Kim Wong, Sanger
Mouse Genetics Project, Sarah Spiegel, Anneliese O. Speak & David J.
Adams

Abstract: Metastasis is the leading cause of death for
cancer patients. This multi-stage process requires tumour cells to
survive in the circulation, extravasate at distant sites, then
proliferate; it involves contributions from both the tumour cell and
tumour microenvironment (‘host’, which includes stromal cells and the
immune system1). Studies suggest the early steps of the metastatic
process are relatively efficient, with the post-extravasation regulation
of tumour growth (‘colonization’) being critical in determining
metastatic outcome2. Here we show the results of screening 810 mutant
mouse lines using an in vivo assay to identify microenvironmental
regulators of metastatic colonization. We identify 23 genes that, when
disrupted in mouse, modify the ability of tumour cells to establish
metastatic foci, with 19 of these genes not previously demonstrated to
play a role in host control of metastasis. The largest reduction in
pulmonary metastasis was observed in sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P)
transporter spinster homologue 2 (Spns2)-deficient mice. We demonstrate a
novel outcome of S1P-mediated regulation of lymphocyte trafficking,
whereby deletion of Spns2, either globally or in a lymphatic
endothelial-specific manner, creates a circulating lymphopenia and a
higher percentage of effector T cells and natural killer (NK) cells
present in the lung. This allows for potent tumour cell killing, and an
overall decreased metastatic burden.

Thu
2/16
EOH Journal Club
EOH Journal Club - Spring 2017 - Antonella Marrocco EOH Journal Club
EOH Journal Club - Spring 2017 - Antonella Marrocco
Thu 2/16 11:00AM - 12:00PM
Bridgeside Point - 339

EOH Journal Club Seminar - Spring 2017

Date: Thursday February 16, 2017

Time: 11am - 12pm

Presenter: Antonella Marrocco

Paper: Mitochondrial respiratory-chain adaptations in macrophages contribute to antibacterial host defense

Authors:
Johan Garaude, Rebeca Acín-Pérez, Sarai Martínez-Cano, Michel
Enamorado, Matteo Ugolini, Estanislao Nistal-Villán, Sandra
Hervás-Stubbs, Pablo Pelegrín, Leif E Sander, José A Enríquez &
David Sancho  

Abstract: Macrophages tightly scale their core
metabolism after being activated, but the precise regulation of the
mitochondrial electron-transport chain (ETC) and its functional
implications are currently unknown. Here we found that recognition of
live bacteria by macrophages transiently decreased assembly of the ETC
complex I (CI) and CI-containing super-complexes and switched the
relative contributions of CI and CII to mitochondrial respiration. This
was mediated by phagosomal NADPH oxidase and the reactive oxygen species
(ROS)-dependent tyrosine kinase Fgr. It required Toll-like receptor
signaling and the NLRP3 inflammasome, which were both connected to
bacterial viability–specific immune responses. Inhibition of CII during
infection with Escherichia coli normalized serum concentrations of
interleukin 1β (IL-1β) and IL-10 to those in mice treated with dead
bacteria and impaired control of bacteria. We have thus identified ETC
adaptations as an early immunological-metabolic checkpoint that adjusts
innate immune responses to bacterial infection.

 

APHA declares 2017 the Year of Climate Change and Health

Climate change is real, it is...
APHA declares 2017 the Year of Climate Change and Health

Climate change is real, it is happening toda,y and it profoundly affects our health. Yet people consistently rank the issue as a low priority for taking action because the health impacts of climate change seem like a distant threat. What we don’t always understand is how climate change is impa... (01/05/2017)

Three Pitt Public Health Researchers Recognized with 2017 Toxicology Awards

Three University of Pittsburgh...
Three Pitt Public Health Researchers Recognized with 2017 Toxicology Awards

Three University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health researchers will be honored at the 2017 Society of Toxicology (SOT) Awards ceremony, which recognizes excellence in advancing the science of toxicology.  (01/05/2017)

Rosemarie Ramos (EOH '03, '05)

My positive experience at Pit...
Rosemarie Ramos (EOH '03, '05)

My positive experience at Pitt Public Health has had a lifelong impact on me as a public health professional. It’s given me the self-confidence to contribute to improvements in population health and health equity.   (12/22/2016)

Tracking Diesel Pollution In Downtown Pittsburgh

WESA - The Allegheny County H...
Tracking Diesel Pollution In Downtown Pittsburgh

WESA - The Allegheny County Health Department enlisted the help of a University of Pittsburgh professor to study the concentrations of diesel pollution Downtown. (12/06/2016)

To disrupt cancer growth, 2 Pittsburgh labs try cutting its fuel

PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE REVIEW - ...
To disrupt cancer growth, 2 Pittsburgh labs try cutting its fuel

PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE REVIEW - Patricia Opresko , associate professor of environmental and occupational health  at Pitt Public Health, studies stopping telomere growth by bombarding parts of cells with free radicals, the harmful atoms that can be generated from smoking, stress and other environmenta... (11/21/2016)
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