Director: Nancy Fiedler, Ph.D.
The Exposure Science Division conducts research to characterize the theoretical and scientific bases for the emerging field of Exposure Science. The Division was founded in 1986 and was the first academically based program that focused specifically on exposure issues in the context of rick assessment, epidemiology and source to effects modeling. The work undertaken by the faculty is nationally and internationally recognized within the general field of the environmental health sciences and environmental sciences. Further, our affiliation with the Joint Graduate Program in Exposure Science has supported graduate research of the >50 students that have graduated from the program over the past 20+ years.
The Division’s activities continue to focus on the development of tools for measuring and modeling exposure to toxicants in air, water, soil or food to help minimize or prevent human exposures. We accomplish these goals by means of laboratory and field studies on the dynamics of human contact with toxicants, modeling individual and population exposure to/dose received for toxicants found in single or multiple routes of entry in to the body. The results have been applied to characterize human exposure, health effects, and risk. The Division’s research is supported by grants and contracts obtained from Federal (EPA, NIH, DOD, DOE, FAA etc.), State (NJ and others), foundations, and private companies.
Examples of Current and Recent Work
- Aircraft cabin exposures within the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
- Discoveries and approaches for the use of computational biology within risk assessment and taking these results backward to identify the routes of human exposure within the the Computational Chemodynamics Laboratory and the NIEHS Center for Environmental Exposures and Disease (CEED).Controlled Exposure Studies in the EOHSI Controlled Exposure Facility.
- Exposure modeling and monitoring research activities as part of the New Jersey Risk (NJrisk) project.
- Air toxics and populations at risk in urban neighborhoods within New Jersey and other parts of the World (Italy and China).
- Robotic sampler development to mimic behaviors of children in the home.
- Characterization of risks associated with the use of a variety of products such as synthetic turf on athletic fields.
- Nanoparticle exposures and pharmacokinetics within the Risk Assessment for Manufactured Nanoparticles used in Consumer Products (RAMNUC) and Respiratory Effects of Silver and Carbon Nanomaterials (RESAC) Centers that are collaborations with Duke University and other Universities in the US and the United Kingdom.
- Homeland security research within The University Center for Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Response (UCDPER) and the Command, Control and Interoperability Center for Advanced Data Analysis (CCICADA).
- Hazardous wastes in NJ and NY, with a specific emphasis on chromium in Jersey City, and other sites in NJ.
- Controlled Exposure Studies in the EOHSI Controlled Exposure Facility.
- Artificial turf research
- Hazardous wastes at superfund sites
- Biological markers of internal exposure in New Jersey populations (general and site specific)
- The lung microbiome
- Commuter traffic exposure
- Healthy buildings
Some of the major national and international field studies we have participated in:
- National Human Exposure Assessment Survey (NHEXAS)
- National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)
- Total Human Environmental Exposure Study (THEES)
- Total Exposure Assessment Methodology (TEAM)
- Air Pollution and Health Effects in four Chinese Cities
- The Aftermath of the Attack on the World Trade Center (WTC)
- Relationships of Indoor, Outdoor, and Personal Air (RIOPA)
The Division, through the work of the Computational Chemodynamics Laboratory (CCL) has developed a theoretical framework for understanding exposure, which is applied to specific issues associated with the source-to-dose continuum. It is an innovative system called MENTOR (Modeling Environment for TOtal Risk) and is described in a 2006 article by Georgopoulos and Lioy. MENTOR has expanded in scope and activities to include pharmacokinetic modeling as well as individual exposure modeling.
The Exposure Science Division has been a partner within the FAA Center of Excellence on Airliner Cabin Environment Research (ACER). The Center’s goal has been to conduct scientific research to support FAA’s and the flight industry’s mandates to promote a healthy and safe environment for the flying public and crew within commercial airline cabins. The partner universities have conducted research on ozone and ozone chemistry, pesticides, cabin pressure, causes of incidents, development of sensors, disinsection, contaminant transport, and disease transmission within aircrafts. We have conducted projects on exposure to ozone and its byproducts, pesticides, and flame retardants within the aircraft cabin and have developed risk assessment paradigms that can be applied to chemical or biological agents within an aircraft through a combination of measurement and modeling techniques.