About UPEH

Duke University’s University Program in Environmental Health (formerly known as ITEHP) is a predoctoral training program which prepares students for research careers in environmental health and toxicology. Interdepartmental, and multidisciplinary, PhD degrees are awarded jointly by the Department and the Program. Additionally, a certificate option is available to graduate students who are affiliated with other participating Departments and who wish to pursue the additional coursework leading to certification.

(1) Classroom instruction in core areas (Essentials of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Drug Discovery; Environmental Health), and quantitative approaches appropriate for student research including Statistics.

(2) Seminars and symposia that include literature analysis and presentation of primary research.

(3) Introductory and ongoing instruction in Responsible Conduct of Research,

(4) Laboratory research. Research strengths in Environmental Health and Toxicology at Duke University include:

  •  Human environmental health and disease with specific strengths in cardiopulmonary health and disease, development and children’s health, neurological health and disease, cancer and the environment, and environmental health policy;
  • Exposure science with a focus on endocrine disrupters, pharmaceuticals, hydrocarbons and flame retardants, nanomaterials and inorganic pollutants including trace metals and metalloids, and
  • Environmental toxicology, focused on elucidating molecular mechanisms of action for toxins and other environmental influences on human.

The outstanding research environment provided by Duke’s Medical Center, the Nicholas School of the Environment, Pratt School of Engineering, and Trinity College of Arts and Sciences provides the core educational environment with laboratories and shared facilities which supply training in leading-edge approaches to the students’ research.

There are approximately 40 core Duke faculty members in the Program serving as primary advisors for predoctoral students. The Program is further enriched by adjunct faculty from Research Triangle Park-based institutions such as NIEHS, US EPA, and Hamner Institute for Health Research, and other triangle universities (North Carolina Central University, NC State University, and UNC Chapel Hill). These faculty members provide seminars, lectures, serve on student committees, and provide technical expertise, research facilities and career guidance.

UPEH Requirements

Required courses for the completion of the UPEH Certificate are: Pharm 533 – Essentials of Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Drug Discovery Students must take either Pharm 554 (Mammalian Toxicology) OR  ENV 501 (Environmental Toxicology). Pharm 847-S (fall) and 848-S (spring) or ENV 847- S (fall) and ENV 848-S (spring) – Seminar in Toxicology (cross listed) Pharm …

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Research Themes

Research areas of UPEH faculty are encompassed by three broad, intersecting themes: Human Environmental Health and Disease. This theme focuses on the impact of environmental influences on human health. Core focal areas include: (a) Cardio-pulmonary health and disease, (b) Development and children’s health, (c) Neurological health and disease, (d) Cancer and the environment, and (e) Global …

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Program Resources

Office of Research Support: For funding opportunities, Human subjects research, export controls, workshops and training, etc. BioCore: The Duke Biosciences Collaborative for Research Engagement (BioCoRE) is a new institutional program centered on building an inclusive community of research scholars in the biomedical, biological and behavioral sciences. BioCoRE is supported by Duke University and by an …

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Current Students

  Jessica Brandt (Richard Di Giulio, Ph.D.; Emily Bernhardt, Ph.D. – Fifth Year): Jessica’s dissertation research focuses on the biogeochemical cycling and impacts of coal ash waste streams in freshwater lakes and selenium toxicity in the context of fish bioenergetic processes. In her work, she considers ecological influences on element distribution between abiotic and biotic environmental compartments, the use …

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Recent Alumni

Mariah Arnold (Richard Di Giulio, PhD) 2014 Consultant with Stantec Inc. Contact: mariah.c.arnold@duke.edu   Audrey Bone (Richard Di Giulio, PhD) 2015 Postdoctoral Associate at US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Contact: audrey.bone@duke.edu   Andrew Arrant (Cynthia Kuhn) 2013 – Research focused on the serotonergic contribution to adolescent risk taking. Postdoctoral Fellow at The University of Alabama at Birmingham   Autumn …

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Contact us

For general program inquiries, please use the following contact information: Mail: Duke University Program in Environmental Health PO Box 90328, Duke University Durham, NC 27708-0328 Phone: 919.613.8078 EMAIL:  toxicology@duke.edu To contact Program Administrators directly: Richard T. Di Giulio, PhD, Co-Program Director (richd@duke.edu) Steve Patierno, PhD, Co-Program Director (steven.patierno@duke.edu) Cynthia Kuhn, PhD, Director of Graduate Studies (ckuhn@duke.edu) …

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