Air pollution and public health

Research has demonstrated that exposure to particulate matter air pollution is associated with morbidity and mortality.  In this line of work, I have explored mechanisms by which this may occur by looking at various biological markers, including genetic and epigenetic marks, and their relationship to particulate matter exposure and cardiovascular disease.  See select publications here.

I am increasingly interested in how particulate matter air pollution may contribute to metabolic disorders such as diabetes and obesity, either directly, by acting as an environmental obesogen, or indirectly by interacting with other characteristics of the built environment that inhibit physical activity.  I am currently developing two studies to investigate these questions.

Weather and mortality

Climate change is expected to increase the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, including heat waves and storms.  In the US, heat is responsible for more fatal events, on average, than all other weather events combined. My research has examined individual and neighborhood characteristics that contribute to vulnerability to heat-related mortality.  See select publications here.

The next logical step in this work is to better characterize and quantify attributes that lead to individual and community-level resiliency.  Ongoing work is examining characteristics and policies that contribute to community resiliency in the face of climate and other disasters.

Climate change and public health risk communication

Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges of our time; however, motivating support for mitigation policy has consistently posed challenges.  This research examines how framing, a decision-making phenomenon whereby the language used to describe options greatly influences the decision maker’s choice, can be used to motivate climate mitigation.  Ongoing work is also examining how local weather and environment affect one’s perceived climate risk.  See select publications here.

A related and developing area of research examines how health literacy contributes to medical decision-making and health outcomes.

A copy of my current CV can be found here.