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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.
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our faculty

Our Faculty

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

 

Goldstein says we can’t be short-sighted on weather disasters intensified by global climate change

THE HILL - Emeritus dean and e...
Goldstein says we can’t be short-sighted on weather disasters intensified by global climate change

THE HILL - Emeritus dean and environmental professor BERNARD GOLDSTEIN comments that, as we help communities affected by recent weather disasters, it's time to talk about our national responsibility to fund restoration of areas likely to be repeatedly impacted in the future. “Would it not be better,... (09/09/2017)

NIH awards five-year R01 support to EOH’s Di for antibiotics research

The NIH has just announced a f...
NIH awards five-year R01 support to EOH’s Di for antibiotics research

The NIH has just announced a five-year award to Y. PETER DI of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health (EOH) for his group’s research on developing a new class of antibiotics. Di also serves as the director of the Inhalation Exposure Facility and president of theChinese American Lung... (08/15/2017)

Contaminants in Pittsburgh's drinking water worry D.C. environmental group, but not local experts

WESA 90.5 - Lead isn't the onl...
Contaminants in Pittsburgh's drinking water worry D.C. environmental group, but not local experts

WESA 90.5 - Lead isn't the only potential water contaminant Pittsburgh residents should worry about, according to researchers at the nonprofit Environmental Working Group. Of potential concern are chemicals called trihalomethanes, though they don't worry Pitt researchers including EOH's AARON BARCHO... (07/28/2017)

On health effects, blame the trucks, not the fracking?

WESA 90.5 - WVU’s Mike McCawle...
On health effects, blame the trucks, not the fracking?

WESA 90.5 - WVU’s Mike McCawley studies the spike in diesel truck traffic as a potential contributor to health impacts associated fracking. EOH’s JIM FABISIAK isn’t surprised, as diesel exhaust is a known carcinogen, adding “We also know that it contributes probably significantly to many of the othe... (07/28/2017)

Herbert Needleman, who saw lead’s wider harm to children, dies at 89

NEW YORK TIMES - Herbert Needl...
Herbert Needleman, who saw lead’s wider harm to children, dies at 89

NEW YORK TIMES - Herbert Needleman, whose studies of children exposed to low levels of lead prompted regulations that limited or banned the metal in a range of common products, like gasoline and paint, and set a standard for the modern study of environmental toxins, died on July 18 in Pittsburgh. ... (07/28/2017)

 

Thu
9/21
EOH Journal Club
EOH Journal Club - Fall 2017 - Travis Lear EOH Journal Club
EOH Journal Club - Fall 2017 - Travis Lear
Thu 9/21 11:00AM - 12:00PM
Bridgeside Point - 339

EOH Journal Club Seminar - Fall 2017
Date: Thursday September 21, 2017
Time: 11am - 12pm
Presenter: Travis Lear
Paper: Opposing effects of cancer-type-specific SPOP mutants on BET protein degradation and sensitivity to BET inhibitors
Authors: Hana Janouskova, Geniver El Tekle, Elisa Bellini, Namrata D Udeshi, Anna Rinaldi,
Anna Ulbricht, Tiziano Bernasocchi, Gianluca Civenni, Marco Losa, Tanya Svinkina,
Craig M Bielski, Gregory V Kryukov, Luciano Cascione, Sara Napoli, Radoslav I Enchev,
David G Mutch, Michael E Carney, Andrew Berchuck, Boris J N Winterhoff, Russell R Broaddus,
Peter Schram, Holger Moch, Francesco Bertoni, Carlo V Catapano, Matthias Peter, Steven A Carr,
Levi A Garraway, Peter J Wild & Jean-Philippe P Theurillat

Abstract: It is generally assumed that recurrent mutations within a given cancer driver gene elicit similar drug responses. Cancer genome studies have identified recurrent but divergent missense mutations affecting the substrate-recognition domain of the ubiquitin ligase adaptor SPOP in endometrial and prostate cancers. The therapeutic implications of these mutations remain incompletely understood. Here we analyzed changes in the ubiquitin landscape induced by endometrial cancer–associated SPOP mutations and identified BRD2, BRD3 and BRD4 proteins (BETs) as SPOP–CUL3 substrates that are preferentially degraded by endometrial cancer–associated SPOP mutants. The resulting reduction of BET protein levels sensitized cancer cells to BET inhibitors. Conversely, prostate cancer–specific SPOP mutations resulted in impaired degradation of BETs, promoting their resistance to pharmacologic inhibition. These results uncover an oncogenomics paradox, whereby mutations mapping to the same domain evoke opposing drug susceptibilities. Specifically, we provide a molecular rationale for the use of BET inhibitors to treat patients with endometrial but not prostate cancer who harbor SPOP mutations.
Thu
9/28
EOH Journal Club
EOH Journal Club - Fall 2017 - Antonella Marrocco EOH Journal Club
EOH Journal Club - Fall 2017 - Antonella Marrocco
Thu 9/28 11:00AM - 12:00PM
Bridgeside Point - 339

EOH Journal Club Seminar - Fall 2017
Date: Thursday September 28, 2017
Time: 11am - 12pm
Presenter: Antonella Marrocco
Paper: Succinate Dehydrogenase Supports Metabolic Repurposing of Mitochondria to Drive Inflammatory Macrophages
Authors: Evanna L. Mills, Beth Kelly, Angela Logan, Christian Frezza, Michael P. Murphy, Luke A. O’Neill
Abstract: Activated macrophages undergo metabolic reprogramming, which drives their pro-inflammatory phenotype, but the mechanistic basis for this remains obscure. Here, we demonstrate that upon lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulation, macrophages shift from producing ATP by oxidative phosphorylation to glycolysis while also increasing succinate levels. We show that increased mitochondrial oxidation of succinate via succinatedehydrogenase (SDH)andanelevation of mitochondrial membrane potential combine to drive mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. RNA sequencing reveals that this combination induces a pro-inflammatory gene expression profile, while an inhibitor of succinate oxidation, dimethyl malonate (DMM), promotes an anti-inflammatory outcome. Blocking ROS production with rotenone by uncoupling mitochondria or by expressing the alternative oxidase (AOX) inhibits this inflammatory phenotype, with AOX protecting mice from LPS lethality. The metabolic alterations that occur upon activation of macrophages therefore repurpose mitochondria from ATP synthesis to ROS production in order to promote a pro-inflammatory state.
© 2017 by University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

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