Focus Area Lead

Lina Mu.

Lina Mu

Director, Office of Global Health Initiatives, Associate Professor

Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health

Professor Mu's Biography

Dr. Lina Mu joined the department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health in June 2008 as an Assistant Professor, and was named Associate Professor in August 2013. Her areas of research include Environmental Epidemiology, Air Pollution, Water Pollution, Cancer Molecular Epidemiology (primarily lung cancer, breast cancer, and upper-GI cancers,) Gene-Environment Interaction, and Cancer Survival.

Dr. Mu received an MD from Shanxi Medical University in 1995, and her PhD in Epidemiology and Health Statistics from Fudan University in 2002. She is a member of the American Association for Cancer Research, the International Epidemiologic Association, the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology, and the Molecular Epidemiology Working Group.

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.

Why UB?

A RENEW Focus in Environmental Exposures, Genomes, and Health Environmental Health requires collaborative multidisciplinary approaches to address key research questions.

A number of UB faculty have actively participated in developing a strategic plan for this renew focus area.  A total of 43 faculty from 14 Departments, representing the Schools of Public Health a Health Professions, Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Nursing, Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Applied Sciences, Architecture  and Planning and Social Work have expressed an interest in the RENEW Focus in Environmental Exposures, Genomes, and Health. Faculty with backgrounds in epidemiology and environmental health, toxicology, chemistry, engineering, geography, biology, public health, medicine, nursing, urban planning, and communications are part of this focus area. 

UB has additional unique strengths with centers and communities of excellence which directly support Environmental Health research and education, including: 

  • National Center for Geographic Information Analysis (NCGIA)
  • Buffalo Institute for Genomics and Data Analytics   (BIG)
  • Community of Excellence (COE)   in the Genome, the Environment, and the Microbiome (GEM)
  • Community of Excellence (COE)   in Global Health Equity (GHE)
  • Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences
  • Institute of Healthcare Informatics
  • Atlantic Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Training Center
  • Environmental Analytical Chemistry Supporting Human Exposure Assessment (North Campus: Analytical Environmental Chemistry; and South Campus: Toxicology Research Center Analytical Facility)
  • Epidemiology and Environmental Health
  • Pharmacology and Toxicology
  • Biological Sciences

·         Civil and Environmental Engineering

  • Nursing
  • Community Health and Health Behavior


The combination of 1) geographic location with numerous environmental concerns, 2) a strong interdisciplinary faculty, and 3) specialized research centers and communities of excellence sets UB apart from other Institutions with Environmental Health Centers.


Environmental Health at UB is poised to become a leader in the areas of Exposure Science and Gene-Environment Interactions by focusing our efforts to better understand the impacts of a life-time of environmental stressors (chemical, biological, physical) and genomes on health outcomes across multiple generations.

View Focus Area Presentation at RENEW Roll-Out Meeting on May 25th, 2016