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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?
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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.
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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.

 

Does formaldehyde cause leukemia? Goldstein speaks on a report linking the two

PBS - After controlling for c...
Does formaldehyde cause leukemia? Goldstein speaks on a report linking the two

PBS - After controlling for certain lifestyle factors, a 2010 investigation found that workers exposed to 0.6 to 2.5 parts per million of formaldehyde had fewer red and white blood cells and a higher prevalence of DNA mutations in the blood stem cells. BERNARD GOLDSTEIN, EOH professor said the muta... (08/29/2018)

Indiana steel mill emits 18,000 pounds of lead a year, Fabisiak comments

CHICAGO TRIBUNE - The Arcelor...
Indiana steel mill emits 18,000 pounds of lead a year, Fabisiak comments

CHICAGO TRIBUNE - The ArcelorMittal steel mill at the Port of Indiana in Burns Harbor emitted 173,000 pounds of benzene during 2016, making it the nation’s largest industrial source of a volatile chemical known to cause leukemia. More could be on the way but regulators can't explain where the steel... (08/03/2018)

Is there a connection between Pittsburgh's high rates of asthma and autoimmune disorders?

Environmental Health News - P...
Is there a connection between Pittsburgh's high rates of asthma and autoimmune disorders?

Environmental Health News - Pittsburgh would be an ideal place for further study on the links between air pollution, asthma, and autoimmune disease, says EOH chair SALLY WENZEL. "There's a lot of evidence now that what you breathe may impact your lungs in many ways, and could actually start an auto... (06/12/2018)

Wenzel says biologic improves severe asthma outcomes

MEDPAGE - Two trials showed th...
Wenzel says biologic improves severe asthma outcomes

MEDPAGE - Two trials showed that dupilumab was associated with reduced exacerbations, better lung function and improved asthma control in patients with moderate-to-severe uncontrolled asthma. EOH professor SALLY WENZEL says, “for patients who have a lot of comorbidities, and are missing a lot of wor... (05/22/2018)

Goldstein on EPA’s disregard for the science behind the Clean Air Act

THE HILL - “In the name of ‘co...
Goldstein on EPA’s disregard for the science behind the Clean Air Act

THE HILL - “In the name of ‘cooperative federalism,’ Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is out to gut one of the finest examples of cooperative federalism in environmental law — that of setting outdoor air pollutant standards,” writes EOH’s BERNARD GOLDSTEIN. “This new approa... (05/18/2018)

 

Thu
9/20
EOH Journal Club
EOH Journal Club Seminar - Fall 2018 EOH Journal Club
EOH Journal Club Seminar - Fall 2018
Thu 9/20 11:00AM - 12:00PM
4140 Public Health, Young Seminar Room

Presenter: Meghan Matlack

Paper: A Systems Vaccinology Approach Reveals Temporal Transcriptomic Changes of Immune Responses to the Yellow Fever 17D Vaccine.

Authors:
Jue Hou, Shuhui Wang, Manxue Jia, Dan Li, Ying Liu, Zhengpeng Li, Hong Zhu, Huifang Xu, Meiping Sun, Li Lu, Zhinan Zhou, Hong Peng, Qichen Zhang, Shihong Fu, Guodong Liang, Lena Yao, Xuesong Yu, Lindsay N. Carpp, Yunda Huang, Julie McElrath, Steve Self and Yiming Shao


Abstract: In this study, we used a systems vaccinology approach to identify temporal changes in immune response signatures to the yellow fever (YF)-17D vaccine, with the aim of comprehensively characterizing immune responses associated with protective immunity. We conducted a cohort study in which 21 healthy subjects in China were administered one dose of the YF-17D vaccine; PBMCs were collected at 0 h and then at 4 h and days 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 14, 28, 84, and 168 postvaccination, and analyzed by transcriptional profiling and immunological assays. At 4 h postvaccination, genes associated with innate cell differentiation and cytokine pathways were dramatically downregulated, whereas receptor genes were upregulated, compared with their baseline levels at 0 h. Immune response pathways were primarily upregulated on days 5 and 7, accompanied by the upregulation of the transcriptional factors JUP, STAT1, and EIF2AK2. We also observed robust activation of innate immunity within 2 d postvaccination and a durable adaptive response, as assessed by transcriptional profiling. Coexpression network analysis indicated that lysosome activity and lymphocyte proliferation were associated with dendritic cell (DC) and CD4+ T cell responses; FGL2, NFAM1, CCR1, and TNFSF13B were involved in these associations. Moreover, individuals who were baseline-seropositive for Abs against another flavivirus exhibited significantly impaired DC, NK cell, and T cell function in response to YF-17D vaccination. Overall, our findings indicate that YF-17D vaccination induces a prompt innate immune response and DC activation, a robust Ag-specific T cell response, and a persistent B cell/memory B cell response
Fri
9/21
EOH Seminar Series
Synthetic Peptide Antibiotics to Overcome Multidrug Resistance - Berthony Deslouches EOH Seminar Series
Synthetic Peptide Antibiotics to Overcome Multidrug Resistance - Berthony Deslouches
Fri 9/21 1:00PM - 2:00PM
A719 Public Health

Thu
9/27
EOH Journal Club
EOH Journal Club Seminar - Fall 2018 EOH Journal Club
EOH Journal Club Seminar - Fall 2018
Thu 9/27 11:00AM - 12:00PM
4140 Public Health, Young Seminar Room

Presenter: Pattra Chun-on

Paper: Predictors of Asthma/COPD Overlap in FDNY Firefighters With World Trade Center Dust Exposure

Authors:
Ankura Singh, MPH; Charles Liu, MD; Barbara Putman, MD; Rachel Zeig-Owens, DrPH, MPH; Charles B. Hall, PhD; Theresa Schwartz, MS; Mayris P. Webber, DrPH, MPH; Hillel W. Cohen, DrPH, MPH; Kenneth I. Berger, MD; Anna Nolan, MD; David J. Prezant, MD; and Michael D. Weiden, MD


Abstract:
BACKGROUND: Previously healthy firefighters with World Trade Center (WTC) dust exposure developed airway disease. Risk factors for irritant-associated asthma/COPD overlap are poorly defined.

METHODS: This study included 2,137 WTC-exposed firefighters who underwent a clinically indicated bronchodilator pulmonary function test (BD-PFT) between 9/11/2001 and 9/10/2017.Apost-BD FEV1 increase of>12% and 200 mL from baseline defined asthma, and a post-BD FEV1/FVC ratio < 0.7 identified COPD cases. Participants who met both criteria had asthma/COPD overlap. Eosinophil levels were measured on screening blood tests performed shortly after 9/11/2001 and prior to BD-PFT; a subgroup of participants also had serum IgE and 21 cytokines measured (n ¼215). Marginal Cox regression models formultiple events assessed the associations of eosinophil levels or serum biomarkers with subsequent diagnosis, with age, race, smoking,WTCexposure, first post-9/11 FEV1/FVC ratio, and BMI included as covariates.

RESULTS: BD-PFT diagnosed asthma/COPD overlap in 99 subjects (4.6%), isolated-asthma in 202 (9.5%), and isolated-COPD in 215 (10.1%). Eosinophil concentration $ 300 cells/mL was associated with increased risk of asthma/COPD overlap (hazard ratio [HR], 1.85; 95% CI,1.16-2.95) but not with isolated-asthma or isolated-COPD. Serum IL-4 also predicted asthma/COPD overlap (HR, 1.51 per doubling of cytokine concentration; 95% CI, 1.17-1.95). Greater IL-21 concentration was associated with both isolated-asthma and isolated-COPD (HRs of 1.73 [95% CI, 1.27-2.35] and 2.06 [95% CI, 1.31-3.23], respectively).

CONCLUSIONS: In WTC-exposed firefighters, elevated blood eosinophil and IL-4 levels are associated with subsequent asthma/COPD overlap. Disease-specific T-helper cell type 2 biomarkers present years before diagnosis suggest patient-intrinsic predisposition to irritantassociated asthma/COPD overlap.

KEY WORDS: asthma; airway obstruction; biomarkers; COPD; eosinophils
© 2018 by University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

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