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The reason I chose to come to YSPH for my PhD is due to the interdisciplinary nature of the school itself. We work very closely with the School of Medicine… Getting those varied perspectives can really make your research more holistic.

Emily Davidson
PhD Candidate

PhD in Environmental Health Sciences

PhD candidates
Lingzhi Chu, Emily Davidson, Huang Huang, Jiajun Luo

PHD environmental health students will contribute new knowledge in understanding the impact of environmental stressors - physical, chemical, and biological - on human health and comfort. Students are skilled in research, assessment, and evaluation of the impact of environmental stressors; they identify potentially adverse environmental agents, assess their exposures, determine their impact on health, and estimate the consequent risk. Students can develop expertise and conduct independent research in a variety of environmental health-related areas including epidemiology, toxicology, occupational health, respiratory physiology, thermal physiology, exposure assessment, psychophysics, air quality, and risk assessment. Programs of study are planned on an individual basis to provide students with the specialized knowledge required for their selected research area as well as to provide breadth in related areas of epidemiology and public health. Courses are chosen from those available in the department and elsewhere in the University. Students entering the doctoral program typically have a strong background in undergraduate science and frequently have a master's degree in public health. (A master’s degree is not required to apply for this program.)

This program does not accept General GRE test scores.


Cassie Clark
Collecting GPS data


Two research rotations during the first academic year in EHS laboratories able to accommodate students are required for each student, one in the fall term and one in the second term. In consultation with the student’s advisor, an additional rotation may be offered during the summer between the first and second years. Research rotations will be available for both “dry” (i.e., statistical analysis) and “wet” (i.e., bench) laboratory research groups. The student will meet with the EHS graduate faculty member at the beginning of the rotation for an explanation of the goals and expectations of a student in the laboratory. The student will become familiar with the research models, approaches, and methods utilized by the research group through interactions with other laboratory/research personnel and from laboratory manuscripts. The student is expected to spend at least fifteen hours per week working in the laboratory or research group and to present a rotation seminar at the end of the rotation period.

Research projects in this department cover a broad range of environmental health research in areas of epidemiology, toxicology, occupational health, respiratory physiology, thermal physiology, exposure assessment, psychophysics, air quality and risk assessment.

Recent Dissertation Projects

  • Evaluating Exposure to Unconventional Oil and Gas Development and Childhood Leukemia Risk
  • The Effect of Phenols on Reproductive Function and the Urinary Metabolome
  • Identifying the Role of Glutathione Biosynthesis in Pancreatic β Cell Function
  • Interplay Between Oxidative Stress and Pax6 in the Development of Microphthalmia
  • Ambient Temperature, Humidity, Air Pollution and Renal Disease Risk
  • Molecular Mechanisms of Colon Cancer: Interaction Between Aldehyde Dehydrogenase 1B1 and the Wnt Pathway
  • Characterization of the Chemical Exposome using Fresh Air Samplers
  • Ambient Air Pollution, Gestational Weight Gain and Fetal Growth Trajectories: A Longitudinal Birth Cohort Study
Rev. 7/3/2023