Focus Area Lead

Lina Mu.

Lina Mu

Director, Office of Global Health Initiatives, Associate Professor

Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health

Grand Challenge

“Characterizing and Mitigating the Health Effects of Environmental and Occupational Exposures Across the Lifespan”

The grand challenge will address the important, unmet need to understand the impact of a life-time of environmental stressors (chemical, biological, physical) and genomes on health outcomes across multiple generations.

There is interest in the following activities:

  • Develop and Utilize New approaches to assess exposures across the life span (pollutants in air, water, soil, food)
  • Collect and model historical data on air pollution, waste sites and other industrial and municipal discharges  in WNY
  • Utilize geographic information system (GIS) analysis, senor technology, chemical analysis, and modelling approaches to estimate past and current exposures.
  • Collect and bank human bio-specimens (urine, blood, saliva, etc) which can be used to provide sensitive and specific Human Biomarkers of Exposure, Effect and Susceptibility to chemicals of interest [such as, Pesticides, Persistent Organic Pollutants (PCBs, PBDEs, Dioxins, Furans, etc.), metals (arsenic, manganese), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), benzene]. 
  • Future efforts in exposure science will expand to include the emerging field of the exposome. The exposome encompasses the totality of human environmental (i.e. non-genetic) exposures from conception onwards, complementing the genome  Wild (2005, 2012) described three overlapping domains within the exposome: 1) a general external environment including the urban environment, climate factors, social capital, stress, 2) a specific external environment with specific contaminants, diet, physical activity, tobacco, infections, etc., and 3) an internal environment to include internal biological factors such as metabolic factors, gut microflora, inflammation, oxidative stress.
  • To determine the impact of environmental stressors on the human genome and microbiome and together, their impact on health outcomes. 
  • To mitigating the health effects of environmental and occupational exposures.