Environmental Health Sciences

The Department of Environmental Health Sciences (EHS) identifies and explores common biological and environmental pathways that contribute to a broad range of diseases in an effort to develop applicable prevention and intervention strategies. Our graduate level EHS programs prepare students for professional roles in which they will apply the highest quality performance of mechanism-based and evidence-based research to help detect, prevent and control adverse influences of the environment on human health, while communicating the complex interactions between genetic variation and environmental stressors.

The EHS department advocates for research-led teaching, so students are able to get the most up-to-date information as we share our passion for the field. Our interdisciplinary faculty of physicians, chemists, toxicologists, cancer scientists, molecular biologists, environmental/water resource scientists and other public health scientists give great breadth to our teaching and research, which also provides students with an excellent opportunity to help reduce risk and improve public health at the local and global level upon graduation.

Note: Environmental Health Sciences was formerly known as the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health (EOH). A name change went into effect at the end of 2017.

Master's Level Overview (MPH)

MPH, Concentration in Environmental Health Sciences

With the target of launcing in the fall of 2018, we revamped the Master of Public Health (MPH) degree with a concentration in Environmental Health Sciences to provide a broad overview of the field of EHS. The concentration will cover topics such as environmental toxicology, risk assessment, health and safety and environmental disasters, while allowing students to tailor studies to meet specific needs/interests through a wide range of electives delivered by faculty in cutting-edge scientific settings.

MPH, Concentration in Brain, Behavior and the Environment

With the target of launching in the fall of 2018, we revamped the Master of Public Health (MPH) degree with a concentration in Brain, Behavior and the Environment. The concentration is a branch of Environmental Health Sciences that incorporates neurotoxicology, neuroscience, imaging, psychology and psychiatry, alongside environmental exposures. This focus is officially recognized by FIU as an Emerging Preeminent Program and will be taught by top researchers from Stempel College’s faculty roster.

Practicum

PHC 6945 (Practicum in Public Health) and PHC 6930C (Integrative Seminar in Public Health/culminating experience) are both required for all MPH students.

The practicum may be taken after completing a minimum of 30 hours, including all core courses. The practicum may be waived if the student has at least three years of relevant practice experience working in a public health setting. The waiver request is prepared and submitted by the student through their faculty advisor and department chair. If the practicum requirement is waived, the student will need to substitute three additional approved hours so that the total curriculum hour requirement of 45 is met. MPH students are expected to complete PHC 6930C Integrative Seminar in Public Health during their last semester in the program.

Doctoral Level Overview (Ph.D.)

Our department’s areas of research interests include cancer, cardiopulmonary disease, neurodegenerative disease, cognition and behavior, along with the emerging area of environmental health impacts, which encompasses new health threats caused by climate change. Doctoral projects are encouraged in these areas.

Ph.D. in Public Health, Concentration in Environmental Toxicology

With the target of launcing in the fall of 2018, we revamped the Ph.D. degree in public health with a concentration in Environmental Toxicology to offer advanced and highly specialized training of doctoral students who focus on research.

Ph.D. in Public Health, Concentration in Brain, Behavior and the Environment

With the target of launching in the fall of 2018, we revamped the Ph.D. degree in public health with a concentration in Brain, Behavior and the Environment that incorporates neurotoxicology, neuroscience, imaging, psychology and psychiatry, as well as environmental exposures. This focus is officially recognized by FIU as an Emerging Preeminent Program and will be taught by top researchers from Stempel College’s faculty roster.

Funding your education

At Stempel College, we understand that academic success can be affected by financial aid and funding opportunities. Our students have access to myriad funding options by degree level (bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral) and by academic discipline (Public Health, Dietetics & Nutrition, Social Work). It’s important to understand the basics of applying for financial aid and the additional resources available to you as a Stempel College student. For more, please visit Funding Your Education in our website’s “Student Life” section.

Everything you need to know about applying for your preferred degree level or certificate in our various academic programs can be located by using the “Apply Now!” search tool below. For example, you can select your preferred degree level and unit/concentration in the drop-down fields. Alternatively, you can leave the search term field blank to conduct a search of the college’s entire academic repertoire.

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Course Catalogs

Laboratories

Oxidative Stress Group

Name of Lab:

Oxidative Stress Group

Department:

Environmental Health Sciences

Subject area description:

The lab focuses on oxidative stress and genomic instability, from basic mechanisms to translational application of validated biomarkers. It concentrates on the formation and repair of damage to nuclear/mitochondrial DNA, the nucleotide precursor pools and DNA adductomics such as: (i) the totality of adducts in cellular DNA and urine; and (ii) the genome-wide mapping of damage.

Lab Illustration

Environmental agents can cause DNA damage that is linked to major human diseases.

Exposure to stressors in the environment and normal processes in our bodies can lead to the formation of reactive chemicals such as reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS). These chemicals can damage cellular molecules, such as DNA and RNA and affect cell function. They are implicated in neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases, cancer and aging. Protecting the cell are antioxidant defenses and DNA repair, which either intercept ROS or repair the DNA damage after it is formed.

Techniques/assays:

In vitro

  • Nuclear DNA base excision repair
  • Nuclear DNA nucleotide excision repair
  • Formation and repair of nuclear DNA Inter-strand crosslinks
  • Cellular antioxidant capacity
  • Mitochondrial DNA damage and repair
  • Nuclear and mitochondrial DNA adductomics for the genome-wide mapping of damage and repair

In/ex vivo

  • Nuclear DNA damage in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (pin prick of blood)
  • Biomarkers of oxidative stress in extracellular matrices e.g. urine, serum or plasma:
    • 8-oxo-7,8-dihydroguanosine – derived from RNA/GTP pool
    • 8-oxo-7,8-dihydro-2’-deoxyguanosine – derived from DNA/dGTP pool

Publications:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/myncbi/1VgOxZHwqORki/bibliography/47226589/public/?sort=date&direction=ascending

Principal Investigator:

Dr. Marcus S. Cooke

Members:

Dr. Mahsa Karbaschi, postdoctoral fellow

Hadi Abdulwahed, doctoral candidate

Yunhee Ji, doctoral candidate

Yenny Diaz, doctoral candidate

Jesenia Perez, MARC U-STAR student

Jessica Cobb, undergraduate student

Visiting Scientists:

Dr. Mu-Rong Chao (Chung Shan Medical University, Taiwan)

Dr. Chiung Hu (Chung Shan Medical University, Taiwan)

Dr. John Anetor (University of Ibadan, Nigeria)

Dr. Gloria Anetor (University of Ibadan, Nigeria)

Parkinson’s Disease Research Laboratory

Name of lab:

Parkinson’s Disease Research Laboratory

Department:

Environmental Health Sciences (EHS)

Subject area description:

The long-term goal of the laboratory is to study the pathogenic mechanisms induced by environmental toxicants, genetic mutations and gene-environment interactions in Parkinson’s disease (PD) with the ultimate goal of developing disease-modifying therapeutics for this brain disorder.

Overall, the research projected in this laboratory addresses the following fundamental questions:

  1. Gene-environment interactions: Do mutations linked to PD render dopamine neurons more susceptible to environmental toxicants?
  2. Glia-neuron interactions: How do glial cells contribute to the vulnerability of dopamine neurons in PD?
  3. Excessive mitochondrial fission has been demonstrated in genetic and toxicant-induced models of PD. Can mitochondrial fission and fusion be targeted for PD treatment?

To address these questions, the laboratory rigorously utilizes a wide range of chemical and genetic tools, high standard techniques, innovative experimental models and transdisciplinary approach.

Principal Investigator:

Dr. Kim Tieu

Members:

Dr. Martin Helley, postdoctoral fellow

Carolina Sportelli, research associate

Zhangqiuzi Fan, research associate

Brain, Behavior and the Environment

Name of lab:

Brain, Behavior and the Environment Laboratory

Department:

Environmental Health Sciences (EHS)

Publications:

Principal Investigator:

Dr. Tomás R. Guilarte

Members:

Jennifer McGlothan Dziedzic,
research associate and lab manger

Dr. Kalynda Gonzales,
postdoctoral associate

Dr. Damaris Albores Garcia,
postdoctoral associate

Dr. Vanessa Nunes de Paiva,
postdoctoral associate

Meredith Loth,
research specialist

Deborah Brooks,
research technician