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Prestigious Risk Analyst Award to GSPH Felicia Wu

The Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) has awarded Felicia Wu, PhD, the highly prestigious 2007 Chauncey Starr Award, which each year honors the individual aged 40 or under who has made the most exceptional contributions to the field of risk analysis.

Wu, an assistant professor of environmental and occupational health at GSPH, specializes in the use of risk and economic analysis in environmental health and policy.

One of Wu’s main research areas is indoor air quality. Her research aims to establish the link among mold and moisture prevalence in homes, children's asthma, and socioeconomic factors; examine the cost-effectiveness of interventions to improve indoor air quality; develop effective communication tools to inform homeowners on how to improve and maintain their home environments; and develop recommendations for national and local policy to improve indoor air for better public health.

Wu also studies mycotoxins—toxic and carcinogenic chemicals produced by fungi—in food. She has developed models to estimate the economic impacts of mycotoxins in several areas: human health, animal health, benefits of genetically modified Bt corn in lowering mycotoxin levels, and regulations, particularly the strict mycotoxin regulations imposed by the European Union. Her newest area concerns estimating the impact to livestock health of mycotoxins in corn-based ethanol co-products, which are fed to animals. For her work in mycotoxins, Wu has been an invited speaker and session chair to the prestigious Gordon Research Conference on Mycotoxins and Phycotoxins.

“Though we spend over 90% of our time indoors, indoor environments have received far less regulatory and public health attention than outdoor environments.”

Wu is the recipient of a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Early Career Award, through University of Pittsburgh’s Multidisciplinary Clinical Research Scholars Program. She chaired an international conference on indoor environmental quality in 2005, from which papers were published as a mini-monograph in the June 2007 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives, of which she is guest editor. Wu has also received funding from the Aflatoxin Elimination Workgroup of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to assess economic impacts of aflatoxin in multiple crops. She is an elected member of the Delta Omega National Honor Society for Public Health.

Wu has served on review panels of the National Science Foundation and the USDA. She is a consulting editor of the Archives of Environmental & Occupational Health and an Area Editor (economics and regulation) of the new World Mycotoxin Journal. She has also served as an ad-hoc reviewer for multiple journals including Science, Environmental Science & Technology, Journal of Toxicology, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, and Risk Analysis. Wu earned her PhD in engineering and public policy from Carnegie Mellon University (2002), and her AB in applied mathematics from Harvard University (1998).

The SRA is an international organization that unites experts in science, engineering, economics, psychology, law and policy to study the assessment, communication and management of risks to health, safety, environment, and security. SRA recognizes annually the leading scholars, educators and practitioners in the field of risk analysis through awards such as the Chauncey Starr Award. Chauncey Starr, veteran of the Manhattan Project, champion for peaceful uses of atomic energy, originator of the academic discipline of risk analysis, and founder of the Electric Power Research Institute, died on April 17th, 2007. The SRA award in his name has been given for the past eleven years. For more information, please visit


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