Current Faculty

Below is the current listing of faculty involved in the Duke University Integrated Toxicology & Environmental Health Program (ITEHP).  These individuals provide a variety of resources to our program, including course delivery, scientific expertise, and laboratory opportunities for doctoral training.  Direct-admit ITEHP students will rotate with three (3) different labs during their first year to gain exposure to a variety of laboratory settings and determine their training track; affiliation with a specific laboratory occurs at the end of the first year.

Note that not every faculty member listed is currently accepting PhD students as trainees.  It is the responsibility of program applicants to reach out to their faculty of interest and confirm whether they are accepting new trainees in their laboratories.  We do maintain an internal list of ITEHP faculty availability for students, updated annually; please contact DGSA, Alexis Sharp, if you would like to view the current listing.

Selecting your graduate advisor is just as important as deciding on your research project.  We suggest you read this article to get some insight into this important process.  To learn more about the mentoring style of a specific faculty member, we suggest you reach out to students who have worked in their labs.  If you would like to know which students have experience in a particular lab, please contact DGSA, Alexis Sharp.


Michael H Bergin, PhD

Pratt School of Engineering: Civil & Environmental Engineering

Investigates the influence of air pollution (particularly PM2.5) on human health, and develops novel air sensors.

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Health & Disease: Global Health
  • Exposure Science

Profile: https://cee.duke.edu/faculty/michael-bergin

Staci Bilbo, PhD

Haley Family Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience

Professor of Neurobiology

School of Medicine: Dept. of Psychology & Neuroscience, Dept. of Neurobiology

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Dr. Staci Bilbo is a Professor of Psychology and Neurosciences at Duke University whose research is broadly focused on the mechanisms by which the immune and endocrine systems interact with the brain to impact health and behavior, particularly during critical development windows.  Her research program is primarily aimed at exploring the mechanisms by which innate central nervous system immune cells, microglia, and signaling molecules such as cytokines and chemokines, influence both normal and abnormal brain development, and the implications for (mal)adaptive behavioral outcomes later in life, including a focus on neurodevelopmental disorders including autism spectrum disorder.  Dr. Bilbo received her B.A. in Psychology and Biology from the University of Texas at Austin and her PhD in Neuroendocrinology at Johns Hopkins University.  She was on the faculty at Duke University from 2007-2016 before she joined the faculty at Harvard in 2016, where she served as the Lurie Family Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Neuroscience at Harvard Medical School and as the Director of Research for the Lurie Center for Autism at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children.  She returned to Duke in 2019 as the Haley Family Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, and maintains an appointment at Harvard to continue her research collaborations in Boston and beyond.

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Health & Disease: Development & Children’s Health
  • Environmental Health & Disease: Neurological

Profile: https://psychandneuro.duke.edu/people/staci-d-bilbo-0

Lab Website: https://bilbolab.com/

Mark E Borsuk, PhD

Pratt School of Engineering: Civil & Environmental Engineering

Examines environmental and human health regulation and decision making, to which he regularly applies his expertise in Bayesian network modeling.

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Health & Disease: Global Health
  • Exposure Science

Profile: https://cee.duke.edu/faculty/mark-borsuk

David Carlson, PhD

Pratt School of Engineering: Civil & Environmental Engineering

Develops and applies machine learning algorithms to “Big Data” in the areas of population and environmental health, with recent research focusing in particular on brain development and signaling.

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Health & Disease: Neurological
  • Environmental Health & Disease: Global Health

Profile: https://cee.duke.edu/faculty/david-carlson

Website: http://carlson.pratt.duke.edu/

Christopher M. Counter, PhD

School of Medicine

We study how environmental carcinogens induce very specific cancers using carcinogen models, genetically engineered mice, and ultra-sensitive sequencing platforms, as well as targeted proteomic analysis and CRISPR/Cas9 loss-of-function screens.

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Health & Disease: Cancer & the Environment

Profile: https://scholars.duke.edu/person/count004

Lab Website: https://counter.labs.duke.edu/

Gayathri Devi, PhD

School of Medicine: Pathology

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Studies dysregulation of the cell death pathway in anti-cancer therapy, and how environmental toxicants influence anti-cancer drug therapy.

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Health & Disease: Cancer & the Environment

Profile: https://surgery.duke.edu/faculty/gayathri-r-devi-phd

Lab Website: https://surgery.duke.edu/divisions/surgical-sciences/research/research-laboratories/cell-death-laboratory

Richard Di Giulio, PhD

Nicholas School of the Environment

Studies mechanisms by which environmental contaminants, particularly PAHs, and other stressors affect vertebrate development using fish models.  He also studies mechanisms by which free-living fish populations adapt to these stressors and alter evolution, including fitness costs.

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Health & Disease: Cardio-pulmonary
  • Environmental Health & Disease: Development & Children’s Health
  • Environmental Toxicology

Profile: https://sites.nicholas.duke.edu/ecotoxicologylab/people/rich-di-giulio/

David B Dunson, PhD

Statistical Science

Methodologic research on nonparametric Bayes, latent structure learning, big data, scalable Bayesian inferences, machine learning, and high-dimensional low sample size problems. Applications in epidemiology, environmental health, neurosciences, genetics, and fertility.

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Health & Disease: Neurological
  • Environmental Health & Disease: Cancer & the Environment

Profile: https://stat.duke.edu/people/david-b-dunson

Liping Feng, MD

School of Medicine: Obstetrics & Gynecology / Reproductive Science

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Dr. Feng’s laboratory has focused on understanding the mechanisms of placenta-originated pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia and preterm birth, which are important causes of perinatal and neonates’ mortality and morbidity.  Currently, she has three lines of investigation focused on the roles of inflammation / infection, PGRMC1/2, and environmental exposure in placental development and subsequent pregnancy complications.

In addition, Dr. Feng has established an international collaboration in Global Women’s Health.  She has affiliated with the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI) and participates in DGHI research.  She has an interest in DGHI education and service or policy initiatives, including mentoring and teaching graduate and professional students on fieldwork and research.

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Health & Disease: Development & Children’s Health
  • Environmental Health & Disease: Global Health

Profile:

P Lee Ferguson, PhD

Pratt School of Engineering: Civil & Environmental Engineering

Nicholas School of the Environment

Development of technologies for the trace detection of carbon-based nanomaterials and hydrophilic organic contaminants in environmental samples, and mechanisms of xenoestrogen toxicity.

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Health & Disease: Development & Children’s Health
  • Exposure Science

Profile: https://cee.duke.edu/faculty/lee-ferguson

Katherine J. Franz, PhD

Trinity College of Arts & Sciences: Department of Chemistry

Elucidating the structural and functional consequences of metal ion coordination in biological systems with particular interest in understanding the coordination chemistry utilized by biology to manage essential yet toxic species like copper and iron.  Understanding these principles further guides our development of new chemical tools to manipulate biological metal ion location, speciation, and reactivity for potential therapeutic or environmental benefit.

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Health & Disease: Global Health
  • Exposure Science
  • Environmental Toxicology

Profile: https://chem.duke.edu/faculty/katherine-j-franz

Lab Website: https://sites.duke.edu/franzlab/

Geoffrey S Ginsburg, MD, PhD

School of Medicine: Pathology

As Director of the Center for Applied Genomics and Precision Medicine, Dr. Ginsburg provides an environment for translational activities for investigators who are interested in the genomic approaches to both environmental exposures as well as for evaluating health and disease.

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Health & Disease: Cardio-pulmonary
  • Environmental Health & Disease: Cancer & the Environment

Profile: https://precisionmedicine.duke.edu/about/faculty/geoffrey-steven-ginsburg

Claudia Gunsch, PhD

Pratt School of Engineering: Civil & Environmental Engineering

Conducts research to improve the use of microorganisms in environmental engineering applications, such as water decontamination, and bioaugmentation

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Health & Disease: Global Health
  • Exposure Science

Profile: https://cee.duke.edu/faculty/claudia-gunsch

Elizabeth Hauser, PhD

School of Medicine: Biostatistics & Bioinformatics

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Develops statistical methods for genetic and genomic models and software for the application of those statistical methods to gene discovery in complex human traits contributing to cardiovascular disease and aging, including gene x environment interactions.  Dr. Hauser also has a joint appointment with the VA Cooperative Studies Program Epidemiology Center in Durham, where she works on gene-environment interactions with military exposures and analysis of large genetic datasets in the Million Veteran Program for conditions affecting Veterans, including Gulf War Illness.

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Health & Disease: Cancer & the Environment
  • Environmental Health & Disease: Cardio-pulmonary
  • Environmental Health & Disease: Neurological

Profile: https://dmpi.duke.edu/faculty/elizabeth-hauser-phd

Amy Herring, PhD

Global Health Institute: Statistical Science

Works to develop and apply statistical methodology for longitudinal or clustered data and applications of statistics in population health and medicine; particular focus global health issues, air pollution, cardiovascular, and neurological health.

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Health & Disease: Development & Children’s Health
  • Environmental Health & Disease: Neurological
  • Exposure Science

Profile: https://globalhealth.duke.edu/people/faculty/herring-amy

David E Hinton, PhD

Nicholas School of the Environment

Uses fish models to study the effect of environmental toxicants upon early life stage development in vertebrates, and chemical carcinogenesis.

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Health & Disease: Development & Children’s Health
  • Environmental Health & Disease: Cancer & the Environment
  • Environmental Toxicology

Profile: https://cee.duke.edu/faculty/david-hinton

Matthew Hirschey, PhD

School of Medicine: Medicine

School of Medicine: Pharmacology & Cancer Biology

Pronouns: He / Him / His

Focuses on mitochondrial metabolism, with a particular interest in how cells use metabolites and chemical modifications to sense metabolism.

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Health & Disease: Neurological
  • Environmental Health & Disease: Cancer & the Environment
  • Environmental Toxicology

Profile: https://medicine.duke.edu/faculty/matthew-hirschey-phd

Lab Website: https://www.hirscheylab.org/

Heileen (Helen) Hsu-Kim, PhD

Pratt School of Engineering: Civil & Environmental Engineering

Studies the environmental transformations and exposure risks of trace element contaminants and develops technologies to enable their detection and mitigation.

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Exposure Science
  • Environmental Health & Disease: Global Health

Profile: https://cee.duke.edu/faculty/heileen-hsu-kim

Dana Hunt, PhD

Nicholas School of the Environment

Located at the Duke University Marine Lab

Investigates functional dynamics of microbes in response to changing environments.

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Toxicology

Profile: https://sites.nicholas.duke.edu/hunt/

Terry Hyslop, PhD

Duke Cancer Institute

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Member of the Duke Cancer Institute and Professor of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Dr. Hyslop works on observational studies and clinical trials in cancer (currently lung, prostate, and thyroid) cancer, analyzing the complex relationship between social determinants, built environment, exposures, and biology in cancer.

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Health & Disease: Cancer & the Environment

Profile: https://sites.duke.edu/hyslop/bio-cv/

Nishad Jayasundara, PhD

Assistant Professor of Environmental Toxicology & Health

Nicholas School of the Environment

Pronouns: He / Him / His

The nexus of our research program is formed by the One Health framework and is aimed at uncovering ecological and human health implications of chemical pollution and climate change. For this research we use different fish species as sentinels and examine biochemical and physiological consequences of exposure to chemical and physical stressors.

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Toxicology
  • Environmental Health & Disease: Global Health
  • Environmental Health & Disease: Development & Children’s Health

Lab Website: https://environhealthlab.org/

Sven-Eric Jordt, PhD

School of Medicine: Anesthesiology, Pharmacology & Cancer Biology

Pronouns: He / Him / His

Focuses on the mechanisms that enable humans and animals to sense toxic environmental exposures.  Investigates the role of chemosensory neurons and their receptor systems in inhalation injury, asthma, smoking, and electronic cigarette exposures.

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Health & Disease: Cardio-pulmonary
  • Environmental Health & Disease: Development & Children’s Health
  • Environmental Health & Disease: Neurological
  • Exposure Science

Profile: https://anesthesiology.duke.edu/?page_id=828280

Cynthia Kuhn, PhD

School of Medicine: Pharmacology & Cancer Biology

Studies monoamine-system neurotoxins including those which kill dopamine neurons, and recently gonadal steroid modulation of neuroinflammatory damage of DA neurons.

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Health & Disease: Development & Children’s Health
  • Environmental Health & Disease: Neurological

Profile: https://medschool.duke.edu/about-us/our-faculty/cynthia-moreton-kuhn

Edward D Levin, PhD

School of Medicine: Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Addiction

Nicholas School of the Environment

Studies toxicological influences on learning and memory, utilizing both rodent and zebrafish models to study toxicant exposures, including insecticides, PAHs and heavy metals.

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Health & Disease: Development & Children’s Health
  • Environmental Health & Disease: Neurological
  • Environmental Toxicology

Profile: http://dukecancerinstitute.org/member/levin-edward

H Kim Lyerly, MD

Duke Cancer Institute

School of Medicine: Pathology

Investigates the response of human tissue and organs to external stress, including inflammation and therapeutic agents, and applies insights to create biomarker and imaging strategies for human stress responses, including environmental stressors.

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Health & Disease: Cancer & the Environment

Profile: https://surgery.duke.edu/faculty/herbert-kim-lyerly-md

Goldis Malek, PhD

School of Medicine: Opthalmology & Pathology

Studies the impact of genetic and environmental factors on ocular cell function and biology as a function of age, with a particular focus on identifying therapeutic targets for blinding diseases.

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Health & Disease: Neurological
  • Exposure Science

Profile: https://medschool.duke.edu/about-us/our-faculty/goldis-malek and https://dukeeyecenter.duke.edu/about/faculty/goldis-malek-phd

Lab Website: https://dukeeyecenter.duke.edu/research/faculty-labs/malek-lab

Donald P McDonnell, PhD

School of Medicine: Pharmacology & Cancer Biology

Studies molecular mechanisms through which both therapeutic agents and endocrine disrupters modulate cell function.

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Health & Disease: Cancer & the Environment

Profile: https://medicine.duke.edu/faculty/donald-patrick-mcdonnell-phd

Joel N Meyer, PhD

Nicholas School of the Environment

Pronouns: He / Him / His

Studies the toxicity and genotoxicity of environmental contaminants including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and nanomaterials, with a particular focus on toxicants affecting mitochondria and gene-environment interactions.

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Health & Disease: Development & Children’s Health
  • Environmental Health & Disease: Neurological
  • Environmental Health & Disease: Cancer & the Environment
  • Environmental Health & Disease: Global Health
  • Environmental Toxicology

Profile: https://nicholas.duke.edu/people/faculty/meyer

Lab Website: https://sites.nicholas.duke.edu/meyer/

Susan K Murphy, PhD

School of Medicine: Obstetrics & Gynecology

Nicholas School of the Environment

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Analyzes epigenetic changes that occur as a result of environmental exposures in utero as well as those that predispose to malignancy in humans.

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Health & Disease: Cancer & the Environment
  • Environmental Health & Disease: Development & Children’s Health
  • Environmental Health & Disease: Neurological
  • Exposure Science

Profile: https://nicholas.duke.edu/people/faculty/murphy

Lab Website: http://www.murphylab.com/

Project-Specific Sites:

  • CIPHERS Project: Cannabis-Induced Potential Heritability of Epigenetic Revisions in Sperm
  • NiCHES: The Center for Study of Neurodevelopment and Improving Children’s Health following Environmental tobacco Smoke exposure

William Pan, DrPH

Global Health Institute

Nicholas School of the Environment

Within the Global Health Institute, focuses on the interface between human activities and the environment, especially the demographic, health, and environmental outcomes of these interactions.

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Health & Disease: Cardio-pulmonary
  • Environmental Health & Disease: Development & Children’s Health
  • Environmental Health & Disease: Neurological
  • Environmental Health & Disease: Global Health
  • Exposure Science

Profile: https://globalhealth.duke.edu/people/faculty/pan-william

Lab Website: https://sites.globalhealth.duke.edu/panlab/

Steven Patierno, PhD

Duke Cancer Institute

School of Medicine: Pharmacology & Cancer Biology

Studies mechanisms of respiratory toxicity and carcinogenesis by toxic metals.

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Health & Disease: Cancer & the Environment
  • Environmental Toxicology

Profile: https://medicine.duke.edu/faculty/steven-patierno-phd

Christine K Payne, PhD

Pratt School of Engineering: Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science

Investigates the cellular response to nanoparticles present in the environment and manufacturing settings.

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Health & Disease: Cardio-pulmonary
  • Exposure Science
  • Environmental Toxicology

Profile: https://mems.duke.edu/faculty/christine-payne

Lab Website: http://payne.pratt.duke.edu/

John Rawls, PhD

School of Medicine: Molecular Genetics & Microbiology and Medicine

Pronouns: He / Him / His

Investigates how the intestinal microbiome contributes to vertebrate physiology and disease.

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Health & Disease: Development & Children’s Health
  • Environmental Health & Disease: Cancer & the Environment
  • Environmental Toxicology

Profile: https://mgm.duke.edu/faculty-and-research/primary-faculty/john-rawls-phd/

Lab Website: https://sites.duke.edu/rawlslab/

Daniel Richter, PhD

Nicholas School of the Environment

Studies soils, ecosystems, and the wider environment. Studies how humanity is transforming Earth’s soils from natural to human-natural systems, specifically how land-uses alter soil processes and properties on different time scales.

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Toxicology

Profile: https://nicholas.duke.edu/people/faculty/richter

Daniel Rittschof, PhD

N.L. Christensen Professor of the Environment

Nicholas School of the Environment

Pronouns: He / Him / His

Located at the Duke University Marine Lab

Dr. Rittschof uses marine animals to study plastics as platforms for delivery and removal of flavors, as well as organic and metal toxins.

Focus Areas:

  • Exposure Science
  • Environmental Toxicology

Profile: https://nicholas.duke.edu/people/faculty/rittschof

Laurie H Sanders, PhD

School of Medicine: Department of Neurology

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Investigates environmental influences on mitochondrial DNA damage and its role in neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Health & Disease: Neurological

Profile: https://neurology.duke.edu/research/lab-and-translational-research/laurie-sanders-phd

Theodore Slotkin, PhD

School of Medicine: Pharmacology & Cancer Biology

Studies the effects of environmental toxicants including insecticides and nanoparticles on brain development.

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Health & Disease: Development & Children’s Health
  • Environmental Health & Disease: Neurological
  • Environmental Toxicology

Profile: https://www.neuro.duke.edu/people/faculty/theodore-slotkin

Heather M Stapleton, PhD

Nicholas School of the Environment

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Investigates the sources, fate, and metabolism of organic contaminants, with an emphasis on flame retardant chemicals.  Research also focuses on human exposure to contaminants in indoor environments, with an emphasis on children’s exposures; also investigates mechanisms by which contaminants impact thyroid hormone regulation, particularly in the placenta.

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Health & Disease: Development & Children’s Health
  • Environmental Health & Disease: Cancer & the Environment
  • Exposure Science
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Toxicology

Profile: https://nicholas.duke.edu/people/faculty/stapleton

Lab Website: https://sites.nicholas.duke.edu/stapletonlab/

Robert Tighe, MD

School of Medicine: Pulmonary, Allergy, & Critical Care Medicine

Pronouns: He / Him / His

Works to identify susceptibility factors and candidate pathways relevant to host biological responses to environmental pollutants.

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Health & Disease: Cardio-pulmonary
  • Exposure Science

Profile: https://medicine.duke.edu/faculty/robert-matthew-tighe-md

Mark Wiesner, PhD

Pratt School of Engineering: Civil & Environmental Engineering

Studies mechanisms controlling the transport and fate of nanomaterials in the environment, and approaches for quantifying the health risks associated with these materials.

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Health & Disease: Global Health
  • Exposure Science

Profile: https://cee.duke.edu/faculty/mark-wiesner

Junfeng (Jim) Zhang, PhD

Global Health Institute

Nicholas School of the Environment

Pronouns: He / Him / His

Develops new biomarkers of exposure and adverse effects related to exposure to air pollution; investigates intervention techniques to alleviate respiratory distress from air pollution.

Focus Areas:

  • Environmental Health & Disease: Cancer & the Environment
  • Environmental Health & Disease: Cardio-pulmonary
  • Environmental Health & Disease: Development & Children’s Health
  • Environmental Health & Disease: Global Health
  • Exposure Science
  • Environmental Toxicology

Profile: https://nicholas.duke.edu/people/faculty/zhang

Lab Website: https://sites.globalhealth.duke.edu/ebclab/