Participating Faculty

Quantitative Mentor Life Sciences Mentor Quantitative Mentor Life Sciences Mentor
Edwards: Epi Eaton: EOHS Heagerty: Biostat Checkoway: EOHS
Kerr: Biostat   Kronmal: Biostat Faustman: EOHS
Ruzzo: Comp Sci Gallagher: EOHS Sampson: Stat Goss: Medicine
Weir: Biostat Kavanagh: EOHS Sheppard: Biostat Kaufman: EOHS
Thornton: Biostat King: Medicine Szpiro: Biostat Vedal: EOHS
Wakefield: Biostat Nickerson: Genome Wakefield: Biostat Psaty: Epi
  Rosenfeld: EOHS   Van Hee: EOHS
  Xia: EOHS    
  Zhang: Pathology    
  Faustman: EOHS    

Faculty Information:

Lianne Sheppard, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Biostatistics with a joint appointment in EOHS. Her research interests focus on statistical methods for environmental and occupational epidemiology and include study design and estimation of environmental exposure effects. She actively collaborates on EHS projects, including Kaufman’s DISCOVER Center, Vedal’s NIEHS-funded study of air pollution sources and health, and Goss’s NIEHS-funded cystic fibrosis and air pollution study. By her research funding, she has mentored 12 biostatistics students as they became engaged in environmental health applications. She has served as advisor or committee member for 11 PhD students in six departments, including Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Environmental Health, mentored 3 post docs, and advised many additional masters students. Dr. Sheppard is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and a member of two Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee Special Panels (Ozone, and NOx & Sox). She is co-author on a 2007 New England Journal of Medicine paper estimating the risk in post-menopausal women of long-term air pollution exposure on cardiovascular disease incidence and has over 40 peer-reviewed publications in EHS areas. Dr. Sheppard will have 5% dedicated departmental funding to administer this Training Program.

Bruce Weir, Ph.D., assumed the position of Professor and Chair in the Department of Biostatistics and Adjunct Professor in Genome Sciences on January 1, 2006. Prior to that he was the William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor of Statistics and Genetics at North Carolina State University. He acted as Director of the Bioinformatics Research Center and as Coordinator of the Bioinformatics Graduate Program at NC State. In the latter capacity he worked with a program of 55 graduate students and 30 faculty spread over five colleges and 12 departments. He directed a NIEHS T32 for graduate training in bioinformatics that was renewed in 2005. He has directed the thesis research of over 20 PhD students and has mentored 15 post-doctoral students. He served a four-year term on the NIGMS panel that reviewed T32 applications, and he recently completed a term on the scientific advisory panel for the National Toxicology Program of NIEHS. He has R01 funding from NIGMS to support his research in statistical genetics. Recently he has been involved with the analysis of very large SNP datasets. He is the author of the textbook “Genetic Data Analysis” and over 160 publications in statistical genetics.

Harvey Checkoway is Professor with joint appointments in the Departments of EOHS (primary) and Epidemiology. Dr. Checkoway’s research and teaching interests focus on environmental and occupational epidemiology. His research has spanned a wide array of topics, including environmental and occupational risk factors for cancer, non-malignant respiratory diseases, and neurological disorders. He teaches the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology course (ENVH/EPI 570) annually. He has been Program Director of the EME training grant since its inception in 1990 and is PI on the NIEHS-funded Superfund Basic Research Program Project since 1998, and PI on a NIEHS R01 on gene/environment interactions in Parkinson’s disease. He has belonged to the scientific advisory panel for the National Toxicology Program of NIEHS.

David Eaton is Professor of EOHS and Public Health Genetics, adjunct Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, and Associate Vice Provost for Research at the University of Washington. A UW faculty member since 1979, Dr. Eaton has provided major leadership in the development of EHS research and training at the UW (see Section A.4.1.). His interests focus on gene-environment interactions, particularly diet and cancer. This includes a 17-year NIEHS R01 grant to investigate the molecular basis for species differences in susceptibility to the potent human hepatocarcinogen, aflatoxin B1. His research program has focused on understanding the importance of genetic variation in both phase I and phase II biotransformation of carcinogens in humans, and how natural and synthetic chemicals in the diet can modify carcinogen disposition. His current research program is focused on the molecular mechanisms by which certain naturally occurring phytochemicals alter expression of genes involved in drug and carcinogen metabolism. He is Director of the NIEHS Core Center, Co-PI of the NIEHS-funded FHCRC/UW Toxicogenomics Research Consortium, and PI on a 7-year NIEHS K-12 Education grant. He also serves as an Associate Director of the NCI-funded Comprehensive Cancer Center Research Consortium between the UW and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (PI, Lee Hartwell). He has over 100 peer-reviewed publications, and over 40 reviews and book chapters in EHS.

Karen L. Edwards, Ph.D., is Associate Professor in Epidemiology and Public Health Genetics (IPHG). She is a genetic epidemiologist whose primary research focuses on the use of multivariate approaches to define phenotypes for complex diseases. Dr. Edwards has extensive expertise in the design, collection, and statistical analyses of family data and has participated in two large family studies of CVD and Diabetes in Japanese American families. She is currently funded by NIEHS for Etiology of Balkan Endemic Nephropathy, is PI of an American Diabetes Association (ADA) study, and has directed the CDC funded UW Center for Genomics and Public Health (UWCGPH) since 2001. Dr. Edwards has chaired ten Masters and four doctoral committees, and has mentored two post-doctoral fellows.

Elaine M. Faustman, Ph.D., is Professor of EOHS, and Director, NIEHS/EPA Center for Child Environmental Health and the NIEHS/NSF Pacific Northwest Center for Human Health and Ocean Sciences. Dr. Faustman is a toxicologist with substantial expertise in mechanisms of reproductive and developmental toxicology. In addition to her laboratory-based research, Dr. Faustman has been one of the leaders in the development of risk assessment methods for developmental hazards. She is widely recognized nationally and internationally as leader in environmental health sciences, and currently serves on the National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council and numerous other national and international advisory boards.

Evan Gallagher, Ph.D., is currently the Sheldon D. Murphy Professor of Environmental Health Sciences in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences. He also serves as the Deputy Director of the NIEHS-sponsored University of Washington Superfund Basic Sciences Research program. His scope of work is directed toward an understanding of the role of genetics and biochemistry of oxidative defense and biotransformation enzyme expression in individual, developmental, and species differences in susceptibility to environmental chemicals. His current research program includes NIEHS-funded studies targeting the mechanisms of environmental chemical-mediated olfactory injury in Pacific salmon, and includes comparative genomic studies in Pacific salmon and zebrafish. He also holds an NOAA-external oceans and human health grant for studies using human primary fetal hematopoietic cstem cells and zebrafish to understand the mechanisms of polybrominated diphenyl ether developmental toxicity. He serves on the editorial boards of Toxicological Sciences and Environmental Research and has 56 peer-reviewed publications, 6 book chapters and 115 research presentations. Dr. Gallagher has served as academic adviser for 8 graduate students, 6 postdoctoral researchers, and has served on the graduate committee of over 20 graduate students.

Christopher H. Goss, M.D., M.Sc., is Associate Professor of Medicine. He is a pulmonary and critical care physician and an epidemiologist. His research focus has been on the impact of ambient air pollution and its effect on lung health in patients with cystic fibrosis. He is funded by both the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the NIEHS to assess the impact of ambient air pollution on longitudinal lung function and pulmonary exacerbation rate in children with cystic fibrosis in the United States. This research will provide the basis for modeling longitudinal lung function data in children with cystic fibrosis. The health effects of ambient air pollutant will then be assessed using this model. Dr. Goss has worked extensively in the field of cystic fibrosis epidemiology. He currently chairs the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Patient Registry and is co-director of the clinical research training tract in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. He has over 40 publications in the field of clinical epidemiology and cystic fibrosis.

Patrick Heagerty, Ph.D., is Professor and Associate Chair of Biostatistics. He is an expert in statistical methods for longitudinal and correlated data. His current research interests include semi-parametric regression and estimating equations, marginal models, and random effects models for longitudinal data, dependence modeling for categorical time series, and hierarchical models for categorical spatial data. His recently funded research (competitive renewal pending) included EHS applications to demonstrate new statistical methodology. Dr. Heagerty is co-author of an influential textbook on longitudinal data and is Fellow of the American Statistical Association.

Joel Kaufman, M.D., M.P.H., is Professor of EOHS, Professor of Medicine, and Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology. His research is on environmental risk factors for cardiovascular disease. He is Principal Investigator of the NIEHS DISCOVER Center and the MESA Air Pollution Study. He is head of the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Program in the EOHS and the Department of Medicine. He directs a state-of-the-art diesel exhaust controlled exposure facility, which serves as the basis for NIEHS and EPA funded projects on air pollution and cardiovascular diseases, including Dr. Rosenfeld's Diesel Exhaust and Atherosclerotic Plaque Stability and his Effect of Diesel Exhaust Exposures on Endothelial Function in Humans. His is the recipient of an NIEHS Mid-Career Investigator Award on Environmental Factors in Cardiovascular Disease, which emphasizes mentoring junior investigators in patient-oriented research. He is also an attending physician at the UW General Internal Medicine Center and the Harborview Medical Center Occupational and Environmental Medicine Clinic.

Terrance Kavanagh, Ph.D., is Professor of EOHS and Associate Director of the NIEHS CEEH where he also heads the Analytical Cytology Core. His research involves in vitro toxicology, analytical cytology, and transgenic cell and mouse techniques with emphasis on free radical biology, immunotoxicology, and genetic toxicology. He is PI of the NIEHS-funded Effects-Related Biomarkers of Toxic Exposure: Glutathione perturbations with toxic exposures to study the effects of chemicals on glutathione biosynthesis, with the ultimate goal utilizing glutathione biosynthesis as an integrative, effects-related biomarker of toxic chemical exposure.

Kathleen Kerr, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Biostatistics and Director of the NIEHS-funded CEEH Bioinformatics and Biostatistics Facility Core. She is also an investigator with the Toxicogenomics Research Consortium and the UW NHLBI-funded Center for Gene Expression Analysis in Mammalian Cell Biology. The focus of her research is in statistical genetics, in particular the design and analysis of gene expression microarray experiments. Dr. Kerr has been the first or senior author on a dozen methodological publications related to microarrays, as well as several book chapters. She has established a national reputation for her contributions to the field.

Mary-Claire King, Ph.D., is Professor of Genome Sciences and Medicine (Medical Genetics). Dr. King’s lab uses experimental and bioinformatics genomics tools to study complex human conditions. Her primary areas of interest are inherited breast and ovarian cancer, inherited deafness, and complex neurological diseases including autism and schizophrenia. Her goals are to identify and characterize critical genes in informative families and populations. She is interested in disentangling heterogeneous genetic influences and understanding the interaction between genetic and environmental influences on these traits. Her lab also applies genomic sequencing to the identification of victims of human rights abuses. She is PI of a NIEHS-funded grant.

Richard Kronmal, Ph.D., is Professor of Biostatistics and Statistics and Director of the Collaborative Health Studies Coordinating Center. He has been deeply involved in both cardiovascular research and the training of pre-doctoral and post-doctoral graduate students for almost 30 years. He is the PI for several coordinating centers funded by NIH, including several that have funded ancillary studies with an EHS focus. This includes the MESA Coordinating Center, the parent study for the MESA Air study. He is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, has served as an expert consultant to the FDA, and is a sought-after expert on the administration and conduct of multi-center clinical trials and cohort studies.

Deborah A. Nickerson, Ph.D., is Professor of Genome Sciences. Dr. Nickerson’s research is focused on the development and application of technologies to identify and genotype single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the human genome and she is PI of the NIEHS SNP Discovery grant. Her group has performed association studies on human quantitative traits and studied approaches to selection of SNPs for genotyping across the human genome. Current projects include the identification and application of genetic variation in mapping human complex traits and disease susceptibility related to cancer, cardiovascular disease, and inflammation.

Bruce Psaty, M.D., is Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology, and Health Services. He co-directs the Cardiovascular Health Research Unit which collaborates on epidemiologic studies, many of which have environmental relevance or have funded EHS ancillary studies. His research interests include pharmacoepidemiology and pharmacogenetics in the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease. He is involved in genome-wide association studies including the GENEVA study of gene-environment interactions. He has been awarded the University of Washington Outstanding Public Service award for work on drug safety.

Michael E. Rosenfeld, Ph.D., is Professor of EOHS, Pathology, and Interim Director of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Nutritional Sciences. Dr. Rosenfeld conducts research on the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis, the primary cause of most forms of cardiovascular disease. His focus is on the role of inflammatory mechanisms in the disease process. Recently his work has incorporated the contribution of the environment, in the form of diet, hormones, drugs, respiratory infection and air pollution, on the advanced, clinically relevant stages of atherosclerosis in transgenic animal models. He is a member of the NIEHS-funded CEEH and has funding from the NIEHS to investigate the effects of diesel exhaust on atherosclerosis.

Walter L. (Larry) Ruzzo, Ph.D., is Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, Adjunct Professor of Genome Sciences, and member of the NIEHS-funded CEEH. His research is focused on development of computational methods and tools applicable to practical problems in molecular biology such as the analysis of gene expression array data. His group has been investigating clustering algorithms, techniques for validating clustering results, and inference of tissue classification and other biological information from expression data. Sequence analysis problems such as computational gene prediction are also areas of active interest. Recent work has focused on methods for finding non-coding RNA (ncRNA) genes. His group has developed new techniques for inference of and sequence searching with covariance models, a leading approach for modeling ncRNA gene families. The inferred models show high sensitivity and specificity and the search tools typically accelerate searches by 100 fold or more with (probably) no loss in accuracy. Application of these tools to genome-scale analysis and discovery of new ncRNA families are both underway. Students have been deeply involved in and critical to the success of all stages of all of these projects.

Paul D. Sampson, Ph.D., is Research Professor of Statistics, Director of the Statistical Consulting Program in the Department of Statistics, and Senior Statistician for projects at the Fetal Alcohol and Drug Unit of the UW. His primary research is on spatio-temporal and multivariate modeling for environmental processes. He has also developed and applied multivariate methods in the context of studies of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. As a co-investigator on EPA-funded MESA Air study, the HEI-funded NPACT study, and the NIEHS-funded DISCOVER Center, he is developing a spatio-temporal model for air pollution concentration based on a combination of sparse spatial data with rich temporal data and a relatively rich sampling of spatial locations with few time points.

Adam Szpiro, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biostatistics. His primary research interest is statistical methods in environmental epidemiology, with a particular focus on air pollution cohort studies. Three interrelated components of his methodology research in this area are: (a) spatio-temporal modeling to predict air pollution concentrations based on irregularly sampled monitoring data, including incorporating the output of physics-based deterministic pollution models and optimizing the implementation to make the model readily applicable to real-world datasets; (b) characterizing the consequences for health effect inference of using predicted air pollution exposures from a spatial or spatio-temporal model in place of the unknown true exposure and developing bootstrap-based measurement error correction methods to ensure valid health effect inference (i.e., correct coverage of confidence intervals); and (c) novel approaches to analyzing acute environmental effects, drawing on ideas in the time-series literature about adjusting for seasonal confounding, but taking advantage of the fact that in a cohort study, short time-scale exposure data tend to be more rich and less variable than the corresponding outcome data. His methodology work is tightly coupled with collaboration on MESA Air, the DISCOVER Center, and other NIH and EPA funded projects. He also work closely with colleagues in Environmental Health and Epidemiology in translating novel statistical methodology into practice and actively consults on a number of projects to assist students, post-doctoral fellows, and junior investigators in applying appropriate statistical techniques for experimental design and data analysis.

Timothy Thornton, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biostatistics. His current research focus is on developing statistical methods to seek genetic loci contributing to complex genetic traits. In particular, he has been involved with creating novel methods for genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for samples with pedigree and/or population structure, where some or all of this structure may be unknown. He also teaches a course in the applications of statistical methods to human genetics at the University of Washington. This course is offered in the Departments of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, as well as in the Institute for Public Health Genetics. He has also been a co-instructor for the module entitled “Population Genetics: Theory and Methods” for the Summer Institute in Statistical Genetics in 2009 and 2010 held at the University of Washington.

Victor Van Hee, M.D., Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences, internist, occupational and environmental medicine physician, and an epidemiologist. His primary research interests are the health effects of air pollution, cardiovascular disease, and gene-environment interactions. He is the principal investigator of a NIEHS grant (2010-2015) in which he is investigating the effect of traffic-related air pollution on cardiac structure and function in two large epidemiologic cohorts (the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis and the Cardiovascular Health Study). This project takes advantage of recent large-scale genotyping efforts to explore the mechanisms by which air pollution may impact these cardiovascular outcomes. He is also Director of the Occupational Medicine component of the UW NIOSH-funded ERC and the UW Occupational and Environmental Medicine Fellowship training program. He is also an attending physician in the Harborview Medical Center Occupational and Environmental Medicine Clinic.

Sverre Vedal is Professor in the Department of EOHS. He is a pulmonary physician and an epidemiologist. His primary research interests are health effects of air pollution and occupational lung disease. He has an NIEHS grant (2004-2009) in which he is investigating the sources of short-term exposure to particulate matter (PM) that affect mortality, hospitalizations, and asthma control. He also has a large grant (2007-2011) from HEI to investigate long-term exposure effects of specific PM component and sources on cardiovascular disease, and is PI of one of the NIEHS DISCOVER Center projects to investigate gene-environment interactions of PM components and atherosclerosis. All projects put emphasis on improving measurement and estimation of individual exposure for use in population studies. Dr. Vedal continues to serve on NIH study sections and has been a member of the EPA Science Advisory Board’s (SAB) Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) and still serves on CASAC panels. He is also an attending physician in the Harborview Medical Center Occupational and Environmental Medicine Clinic.

Jonathan Wakefield, Ph.D., is Professor and Acting Chair of Statistics and Professor of Biostatistics. Dr. Wakefield’s current research and NIH funding focus upon methods for spatial epidemiology. Many important applications of these methods are in environmental epidemiology. He is particularly interested in ecological studies, and specifically in characterizing ecological bias. Dr. Wakefield has been developing a hybrid study design in which case-control and ecological data are combined. He has also worked on models for disease mapping of incidence/mortality data and has recently published in the field of statistical genetics. He is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association.

Jing Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., is Professor of Pathology and the Shaw Endowed Chair in Neuropathology. Dr. Zhang works on neurodegenerative diseases. His NIEHS R01 grant Proteomic studies in Parkinson's Disease (PD) centers on proteomic identification of novel proteins interacting with -synuclein, thereby modulating the physiological as well as pathological functions of -synuclein. This protein is contained within Lewy bodies that are found in the neurons of PD patients. The work considers the effects of novel proteins on oxidative stress, mitochondrial and proteasomal function, as these processes are implicated in PD pathogenesis.