I am an environmental epidemiologist interested in how the environment affects our health, with particular focus on how to characterize the relevant exposure. I joined the faculty of NC State in August 2013 as part of the Chancellor’s Faculty of Excellence Program hires in Environmental Health Sciences. In February 2019, I was named a University Faculty Scholar. Before coming to NC State, I was a researcher at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences for almost 15 years involved in the Agricultural Health Study, a prospective cohort study of ~60,000 farmers and 32,000 spouses from Iowa and North Carolina. I’m studying how pesticides influence respiratory and allergic disease in the ISA study in Costa Rica I am working with Dr. Berna van Wendel de Joode of the Universidad Nacional in Heredia, Costa Rica, on a study of women and children living in the banana growing region of Costa Rica where pesticide exposure is common. We are looking at respiratory and allergic impacts of pesticides as well as neurobehavioral and development outcomes in children. We recently received a grant to follow these women and children for another five years.
I am principal investigator of the GenX Exposure Study . We’re responding to community questions about GenX in drinking water and the impact of GenX and related per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) on human health. We started the study in November 2017 in Wilmington, NC. In February 2020, we received new funding through the NC State Superfund Center to expand the study to include over 1000 people from the Cape Fear River Basin. We’ve enrolled people in the Wilmington/Leland area, Fayetteville area, and Pittsboro NC and will be following them to understand how PFAS influence thyroid function and response to COVID 19 and COVID 19 vaccines. In 2022, I received the James E. Holshosuer Award for Excellence in public service from the UNC Board of Governors
At NC State, I am the director of the Center for Human Health and the Environment. I have adjunct appointments at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in the Department of Epidemiology and at the East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine.
I received my BS in Environmental Toxicology from the University of California, Davis and my masters and doctorate from the Harvard School of Public Health in Environmental Health and Epidemiology. After a brief post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard, I joined the faculty of the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University before coming to NIEHS in 1999.
Among my professional activities, I am a member of the International Society of Environmental Epidemiology and International Society of Exposure Science.