Speakers – Exposome Symposium

Keynote Speaker: Richard Woychik, PhD

Dr. Rick Woychik was named Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program on June 7, 2020, after serving as Deputy Director since 2011. He is a molecular geneticist with a Ph.D. in molecular biology from Case Western Reserve University and postdoctoral training with Dr. Philip Leder at Harvard Medical School. He spent almost 10 years at Oak Ridge National Laboratory rising in the ranks to become head of the Mammalian Genetics Section and then director of the Office of Functional Genomics. In August 1997, he assumed the role of vice chairman for research and professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University. In 1998, he moved to the San Francisco Bay area, first as the head of the Parke-Davis Laboratory for Molecular Genetics and then as chief scientific officer at Lynx Therapeutics. He returned to academics as the president and CEO of The Jackson Laboratory in August 2002 and served in that role until January 2011.

Robert O. Wright, MD, MPH

Dr. Robert Wright is a pediatrician, medical toxicologist, and environmental epidemiologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He is the Ethel H. Wise Chair of the Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health, Co-Director of the Institute for Exposomic Research, and Principal Investigator of an ongoing longitudinal birth cohort in Mexico City (Programming Research in Obesity, Growth, Environment and Social Stress–PROGRESS) in collaboration with the National Institute of Public Health, Mexico. He also founded the MATCH (Metals Assessment Targeting Community Health) study in Tar Creek, Oklahoma.

Dr. Wright studies chemical mixtures, epigenetics and the role social stressors as modifiers of chemical toxicity. He is an international advocate for research on exposomics—the measure of all health relevant environmental exposures throughout the lifespan. He established the Mount Sinai P30 Core Center grant program that provides support to grow Mount Sinai’s environmental research (in 2022 the Center was renamed the Center on Health and Environment Across the LifeSpan (HEALS).

He has published over 350 research studies and has served on numerous international and national committees and advisory boards. Dr. Wright founded the Senator Frank Lautenberg Laboratory of Environmental Health Sciences at Mount Sinai in 2014 and in 2022 launched the “Exposomic in Precision Medicine” program as part of Mount Sinai’s CTSA. The program is designed to make environment an integral part of precision medicine initiatives with the goal of bringing it into clinical training as a tool for optimally determining treatment options and variable individual response to treatment.

He is a graduate of the University of Michigan Medical School and completed residency in Pediatrics at Northwestern University, as well as the following fellowships: Emergency Medicine (Brown University), Medical Toxicology (Harvard University), Environmental Epidemiology (Harvard University) and Genetic Epidemiology (Harvard University).

David Balshaw, PhD

Dr. David Balshaw is Acting Director, Division of Extramural Research and Training at National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Dr. Balshaw provides central leadership to a staff of 80 who provide the extramural face of the NIEHS in a shared vision of science and stewardship.  This group oversees a nearly $500 million scientific portfolio encompassing all areas of the environmental health research landscape.

Dr. Balshaw received training in pharmacology and biophysics from the University of Cincinnati and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His interdisciplinary training has enabled him to effectively bridge disparate communities including engineering, mechanistic toxicology, and both clinical and public health application. These successes have led to recognition of his leadership as an expert translational scientist at the NIH and leadership roles in numerous governmental and international efforts.

Robin Ortiz, MD, MS, FAAP

Dr. Robin Ortiz is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Population Health and a faculty member in the Institute for Excellence in Health Equity at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine and NYU Langone Health. Dr. Ortiz is a double-board certified physician in internal medicine and pediatrics who currently practices at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. She received training at the National Institutes of Health in the Medical Research Scholars Program during medical school at Loyola University in Chicago where she ultimately graduated with honors in research and bioethics. She went on to complete residency at the Johns Hopkins Hospital followed by a research fellowship through the National Clinician Scholars Program at the University of Pennsylvania, where she received her Master of Science in Health Policy Research, and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Dr. Ortiz studies the bidirectional relationship between, and mechanisms of, childhood experiences and adult health, particularly focusing on intergenerational ideal cardiovascular and metabolic health. Her work spans from studies of stress (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal) axis involvement in cardiometabolic pathophysiology to community and national level policy and programming aimed at attaining lifecourse health equity. Some journals where her work has been published include Journal of the American College of Cardiology, JAMA Pediatrics, JAMA Network Open, Health Affairs, Psychoneuroendocrinology, and Clinical Epigenetics.

Darryl B. Hood, PhD

Darryl B. Hood, PhD, is Professor and Environmental Public Health Neuroscientist in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences in the College of Public Health at The Ohio State University. Prior to joining The Ohio State University at Meharry Medical College, Dr. Hood led what has come to be known as the most successful Minority S11 NIEHS-sponsored initiative referred to as the “Advanced Research Cooperation in Environmental Health (ARCH) Program (2006-2011). The research conducted under this consortium ultimately contributed to the scientific database that the U.S. EPA used to reassess the levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon emissions from smokestacks. Such re-assessments have resulted in public policy changes that will serve to decrease the adverse health effects associated with environmental exposures. At the Ohio State University, Dr. Hood has continued his innovation in discovery as the co-architect of the novel Public Health Exposome framework and analytics with an environmental justice lens.  His work is focused on the high risk and vulnerable underrepresented minority census tracts of Columbus, OH. Dr. Hood received a BS degree in Biology and Chemistry from Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, NC, and a PhD in Biomedical Science-Biochemistry from the Quillen-Dishner College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University and completed a 4-year postdoctoral fellowship at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in the Center for Molecular Toxicology.

Rosalind J. Wright, MD, MPH

Dr. Rosalind Wright is Co-Director at the Mount Sinai Institute for Exposomic Research, Dean for Translational Biomedical Sciences, and the Horace W. Goldsmith Professor in Life Course Health Research in the Departments of Pediatrics and Environmental Medicine and Public Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Wright is an internationally recognized clinician scientist and life course epidemiologist with transdisciplinary training in molecular biology, environmental health, social determinants, and stress mechanisms. Her background includes transdisciplinary training and expertise in environmental exposure assessment as well as genetics, epigenetics, and psychosocial stress measurement applied to environmental health studies across the life course.

At Mount Sinai, Dr. Wright also is Program Director and Principal Investigator of Conduits, the Institute for Translational Sciences (the NCATs-funded CTSA), and Director of the Physiological Assessment of Children’s Environmental Risk (PACER) Laboratory. The PACER Laboratory has established and validated protocols that can be implemented to assess functioning of key regulatory systems susceptible to environmental influences from early development through childhood to adolescence. Dr. Wright and her team provide expert consultation on environmental and physiological stress measures to promote a better understanding of social context as a modifier of chemical toxicants.

Dr. Wright obtained her medical degree from the University of Michigan Medical School and completed an internship in Internal Medicine at the Beth Israel Hospital, Harvard Medical School. She completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Northwestern University and fellowship training in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Harvard Medical School.  As part of her training, she obtained a Master’s degree in Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health.  Before joining Mount Sinai in 2012, she was a member of the clinical faculty at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the research faculty at the Channing Laboratory, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health.

Jeanette Stingone, PhD

Dr. Jeanette Stingone is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. She also leads the Data Science Translation and Engagement Group within the HHEAR Data Center, housed at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. As an epidemiologist cross-trained in data science, Dr. Stingone conducts research that seeks to uncover how combinations of environmental exposures, broadly defined, contribute to adverse health outcomes. Her work also aims to advance the reuse of existing data through novel data linkages and promote data sharing and interoperability through the use of ontologies, common data elements and semantic science.

Paul Juarez, PhD

Dr. Paul Juarez is Professor and Director at the Health Disparities Research Center of Excellence at Meharry Medical College. Dr. Juarez is nationally recognized for his research in health disparities, particularly in the area of injury prevention, and for using community-based participatory research methods. Dr. Juarez has been at the forefront nationally in using the exposome paradigm to identify the mechanisms and pathways through which environmental exposures ‘get under the skin.’ He has led a transdisciplinary team that has pioneered efforts that look at the effects of the natural, built, and social environments on health and health disparities at critical developmental periods across the lifespan and in applying big data computational methods and analytics to population health. Dr. Juarez has published widely on topics of the exposome, youth violence, health equity, and community engagement.

Muhammed Y. Idris, PhD

Muhammed Y. Idris. Ph.D. is an early-stage investigator in the Department of Medicine at Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM). His research interests combines community-based research and computational methods to enhance technology-enabled interventions for chronic disease self-management in underserved communities, including understanding and addressing barriers to the use of mhealth technologies for cardiovascular health. Dr. Idris is committed to helping develop more inclusive, accessible, and adaptive behavioral intervention technologies (BITs) to help older adults in underserved communities retain independence and age comfortably in place. His postdoctoral work focused on building mobile health applications and building statistical software for harmonizing and modeling circadian rhythms in heart rate variability, physical activity, and sleep data taken from various wearable devices. Prior to joining MSM, Dr. Idris led interdisciplinary teams building, deploying, and maintaining machine learning solutions for industry clients, including Garmin and a large hospital system in Kansas. In addition, Dr. Idris is a Resident at TED Conferences, where his work with the United Nation Refugee Agency applying machine learning to streamline and scale refugee resettlement and improve social services delivery was featured as an editor’s choice on TED.com (check it out @ https://go.ted.com/muhammedidris)

Robyn L. Tanguay, PhD

Dr. Robyn Leigh Tanguay is a University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology and the Director of the Superfund Research Program at Oregon State University. She received her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of California-Riverside and postdoctoral training from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Robyn has pioneered the use of zebrafish as a systems toxicology model. She has authored more than 300 manuscripts and book chapters across numerous disciplines. She serves on numerous federal and commercial advisory boards and as an editor for several scientific journals. She uses phenotypic anchoring coupled with the inherent molecular and genetic advantages of zebrafish to define the mechanisms by which chemicals, drugs and nanoparticles interact with and adversely affect vertebrate development and function. These tools are also now routinely used to assist in the development of inherently safer chemicals and nanoparticles.   

Douglas I. Walker, PhD

Dr. Douglas Walker is Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. His research focuses on continued development and application of advanced analytical strategies for measuring the occurrence, distribution and magnitude of previously unidentified environmental exposures and assist in delineating the mechanisms underlying environment-related diseases in humans.

Through application of high-resolution mass spectrometry platforms, Dr. Walker has shown it is possible to provide measures of 10,000-100,000 chemical signals in a cost-effective manner using a single human blood sample, providing a key advance for nutritional assessment, precision medicine and exposome research. Dr. Walker received his BS in 2009 from the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth and completed his PhD in 2017 from Tufts University in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering. During his postdoctoral fellowship at Emory University, he acted as Director of Exposome Research for the Clinical Biomarkers Laboratory and was a member of the HERCULES Exposome Research Center.

Manish Arora, BDS, MPH, PhD, FICD

Manish Arora, BDS, MPH, PhD, an environmental epidemiologist and exposure biologist, is the Edith J. Baerwald Professor and Vice Chairman of the Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. A founding member of the Mount Sinai Institute for Exposomic Research, Dr. Arora serves as director of its environmental exposure and precision environmental medicine laboratories, leading a team of over 50 scientists who are advancing research in a vast array of diseases that are national health priorities, including autism, Lou Gehrig’s, cancers, and gastrointestinal disorders.

Dr. Arora’s research focuses on the effects of prenatal and early life chemical exposures on life-long health trajectories. In 2020, he and colleagues proposed the “Biodynamic Interface Theory,” a novel theoretical framework that explains how the environment interacts with physiology in a dynamic way over time. This theory has the potential to shift the paradigm of environmental health research from a static to a more nuanced dynamic view of health throughout the life course. In Dr. Arora’s own research, environmental dynamic principles paved the way for his groundbreaking work on the tooth and hair biomarker to reconstruct the timing of exposure to various harmful chemicals and essential nutrients during pregnancy, and the biological response to those environmental factors. In November 2021, Mount Sinai Innovation Partners announced that the exposome sequencing technology platform developed by Dr. Arora and his team was licensed to a new spin-off company, for which he serves as founder and CSO.  Dr. Arora led this technology to an FDA Breakthrough Designation for an autism biomarker that can be applied at birth.

Dr. Arora is currently the Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator of eight research projects funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), including the Human Health Exposure Analysis Resource (HHEAR) Untargeted Center grant, and the R35/RIVER grant. He has received multiple honors throughout his career, including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) awarded by the office of President Barack Obama in 2015 and the National Institutes of Health Director’s New Innovator Award in 2014.

Dr. Arora is the author of the book Environmental Biodynamics: A New Science of How the Environment Interacts with Human Health, published by Oxford University Press in December 2021.

Matthew C. Cave, MD

Professor of Medicine; Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics; Pharmacology & Toxicology, Distinguished University Scholar, University of Louisville School of Medicine; Director, IHSFC, Center for Integrated Environmental Health Sciences; Director, Animal Model and Biorepository Core, Hepatobiology and Toxicology Center; Director, NAFLD-ViCTER Environmental Health Research Consortium; Staff Gastroenterologist, Robley Rex VAMC; Hepatologist, Trager Liver Transplant Center at UofL Health Jewish Hospital.

Dr. Cave is a physician-scientist and transplant hepatologist. His laboratory conducts translational research in a variety of liver diseases, and it has been continuously funded for nearly fifteen years. Dr. Cave received a B.A. in Biochemistry and B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Rice University and his M.D. from the University of Kentucky. He completed residency training at Washington University in St. Louis, and clinical fellowship at the University of Louisville. His greatest contribution to science was the discovery of the new liver disease, toxicant-associated steatohepatitis. Occupational and environmental liver disease research is the central focus of his laboratory. Dr. Cave currently holds NIEHS RIVER and ViCTER awards and is an active member of UofL’s NIEHS-supported P30 and P42 environmental health centers. He has published eighty manuscripts and five book chapters.