Signature Research Programs


The Mission of the EHSP is to perform basic and translational research on regionally-relevant environmental public health issues that address the overall health needs of unique Southwestern communities and to contribute to our understanding of global environmental health issues.


  • To increase scholarship and the RO1 (NIEHS and other NIH institutes) and other research support for basic and translational research in environmental health
  • To build the infrastructure for increasing the competitiveness for program project grants, center grants, and training grants; identify and increase institutional support for environmental health sciences
  • Identify research opportunities, create synergy, and facilitate communication across thematic areas.
  • To build collaborations and partnerships between UNM colleges, departments, and non-UNM partners (National Labs, Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, communities, etc)
  • To facilitate translation of research findings through multi-directional communications amongst researchers, health providers, communities, and policy/decision makers.
  • To support mentoring and training of graduate, professional, and post graduate students.

Environmental Toxicology (Leaders: Hudson/Liu)
Abstract - It is widely believed that many non-infectious disease states such as asthma, diabetes, and cancers are environmentally induced or triggered. The Environmental Toxicology Thematic Area investigates molecular mechanisms of environmentally-induced diseases. Environmental stimuli are broadly defined to include an array of physical and chemical challenges to human beings resulting in toxicity and responses which may adversely affect human health.

Members: Laurie Hudson, PhD, Jim Liu, PhD, Scott W. Burchiel, PhD, Jim Feng, PhD, Todd Thompson, PhD

Secondary Members: Andrea Allan, PhD (Neuro), Marianne Berwick, PhD (Cancer), Nancy Kanagy, PhD (CV), Mary Walker, PhD (CV), Dan Savage, PhD (Neuro)

Associate Members: Matt Campen, PhD (LRRI), Amie Lund, PhD (LRRI)

Environmental Exposure and Epidemiology (Leaders: Gonzales/Rowland)
Abstract - The focus of Epidemiology and Exposure thematic area is the recognition, evaluation and control of environmental hazards in relation to human health. Thematic area members represent a wide range of specialties in environmental health sciences which intersect in the areas of exposure assessment for toxic substances and environmental epidemiology. Specific expertise includes exposure measurement and modeling, mechanisms of exposure, perinatal epidemiology, pediatric epidemiology, development of molecular biomarkers, population and laboratory studies of gene-environment interaction, quantitative exposure-response relationships and interactions, biostatistical methods for complex environmental mixtures; and geospatial analysis of exposures and health outcomes.

Members: Melissa Gonzales, PhD, Andrew Rowland, PhD, Ludmilla Bakhireva, PhD, Alexis Handal, PhD, Orrin Myers, PhD, Chris Stidely, PhD, Kristine Tollestrup, PhD

Secondary Members: Ed Bedrick, PhD (Cancer), Marianne Berwick, PhD (Cancer), Eszter Erdei, MD, PhD (Cancer), Kristina Flores, PhD (Cancer), Linda Cook, PhD, Rob Annette, PhD

Environmental Geography and Global Health (Leaders: Lewis/Perkins)
The Geographic and Global Community Environmental Health Cluster is a multidisciplinary cluster that is focused on developing novel methods for approaching environmental health problems common to specific demographic or geographic regions. The Cluster combines research expertise in community-based participatory research, outreach, remote sensing, geographic information systems, infectious disease, global and tribal health, and Bayesian and spatial modeling. The researchers believe that commonalities that exist among geographically isolated communities in the US and in remote global regions serve to inform both recognition of risk factors, identification of emerging diseases, and appropriate intervention strategies to mitigate adverse health impacts of changing climates, and to inform effective communication strategies based in active partnerships among researchers, health care providers, community members, and policy makers.

Examples of areas of interest include using remote sensing to predict changes in regional climates that increase the risk of vectors for infectious disease, allowing us to utilize strategies effective in South American communities to inform early detection and intervention strategies in the Southwestern United States. At a different level, methodologies developed to allow us to separate the relative risk of demographic, environmental, and health risk factors in the etiology of disease can be applied to allow similar evaluation of relative risks in similar communities in global at-risk communities. Finally, the strategies developed for effectively engaging community members, providers, researchers and policy makers in addressing environmental health concerns in tribal and rural communities in the Southwest can inform similar efforts with our global partners.

Members: Johnnye Lewis, PhD, DJ Perkins, PhD, Ravi Durvasula, MD, Stefani Hines, MA, MS, Alexis Kaminsky, PhD

Associate Members: Karl Benedict, PhD (EDAC), Michele Guindani, PhD (Math/Stats), Gabriel Huerta, PhD (Math/Stats)

Environmental Medicine (Leaders: Sood/Moseley)
The proposed research interests and goals of this cluster is to perform clinical translational research in the field of environmental health. This includes the effect of occupational and environmental exposures on various organ systems such as lung, kidney, and gastrointestinal tract. This also includes the study of host susceptibility factors for chronic diseases such as genetics, obesity, and physical inactivity.

Members: Akshay Sood, MD, Pope Moseley, MD, Denece Kesler, MD, Henry Lin, MD, Dominic Raj, MD, Mark Schuyler, MD

Associate Members: Yohannes Tesfaigzi, PhD (LRRI), Ted Barrett, PhD (LRRI), Suzanne Schneider, PhD (Exercise Sports Science)