Channing Research into Environmental Risk Factors for Chronic Disease
Environmental exposures, such as air pollution, water pollution, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, persistent organic pollutants, metals, ultraviolet radiation, and exposures to nature have been shown to influence mortality and the incidence and severity of many chronic diseases.
Investigators at the Channing Division of Network Medicine (CDNM) have a comprehensive research strategy to:
Measure or model environmental exposures across the life course
Study the epidemiology of these exposures on multiple chronic diseases
Identify biological mechanisms and behaviors influencing disease risk
Explore the role of gene-environment interactions
Impacts of indoor and outdoor air pollution
CDNM has published some of the seminal studies on the associations of indoor and outdoor air pollution with health. These studies have shown that increasing exposures to ambient air pollution are associated with increased mortality, cardiopulmonary disease, and lung cancer, to name a few. Indoor exposures to allergens in dust have been associated with numerous adverse asthma outcomes in children and young adults.
Current research explores the interaction of multiple pollutants with other environmental exposures (e.g., temperature), personal characteristics (e.g., age, sex), and lifestyle factors (e.g., physical activity, diet).
Impacts of persistent chemicals and metals
CDNM researchers are investigating the impacts of numerous persistent chemicals (e.g., polychlorinated biphenyls, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) and metals (e.g., lead, mercury) on metabolic diseases, cancer, and hypertension in adults and neuro-cognitive behavior and development in children and young adults.
Impacts of natural vegetation (greenness)
CDNM researchers are leaders in the growing field of the impacts of the natural environment on health. This research includes assessments of the impacts of greenness (objectively measured quantity of natural vegetation) on physical activity, obesity, mental health, cardiopulmonary disease, cancer, and mortality. We are also examining how natural vegetation reduces or enhances impacts of other environmental exposures.