Institute at Brown for Environment and SocietyIBES

Environmental Health

Faculty, staff, and students working in Environmental Health seek to understand how exposure to our chemical and physical environments affects human health. Using tools from epidemiology, biostatistics, toxicology, and epigenetics, environmental health researchers seek to understand which exposures are associated with increased risk of disease, identify those at greatest risk, and elucidate the underlying physiologic mechanisms. Environmental health researchers at Brown study the impacts of a range of exposures including air pollution, climate change, chemicals in consumer products, and metals on cardiovascular disease, cancer, childhood neurodevelopment, and perinatal outcomes. 

Featured Faculty Research

Evaluating Potential Health Effects of Climate Change
Gregory Wellenius

Heating up: The number of very hot and extremely hot days has risen in Rhode Island over the last several decades. Melissa Eliot/Brown UniversityHeating up: The number of very hot and extremely hot days has risen in Rhode Island over the last several decades. Melissa Eliot/Brown University2015 was the hottest summer ever recorded. Rhode Island residents felt it too, with more than 85 days where the heat index was above 80 deg F. That is two and a half weeks of more superhot days than in the 50s and 60s. Researchers at IBES, the Brown University School of Public Health, and the RI Department of Health are investigating the human health impacts of excess heat in Rhode Island, New England, and beyond. Specifically, ongoing projects are: 1) quantifying the association of excess heat with daily deaths and visits to the emergency department, 2) identifying those individuals that might be at greatest risk of these effects, 3) evaluating the effectiveness of current heat-warning systems and government responses to prevent these effects, and 4) projecting the impact future climate change will have on heat-related morbidity and mortality.


Joseph Braun

Assistant Professor of Epidemiology

Children's environmental health, Endocrine disrupting chemicals, Neurodevelopment, Obesity

Agnes Kane

Professor of Medical Science

Environmental and human health impacts of nanoparticles, Environmental exposures and lung disease, Models for assessing toxicity of environmental pollutants

Karl Kelsey

Professor of Epidemiology
Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Director of Center for Environmental Health and Technology

Molecular epidemiology, Biomarkers, Epigenetics

David Savitz

Professor of Epidemiology
Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Environmental influences on pregnancy, Children's environmental health, Health effects of nonionizing radiation

Gregory Wellenius

Associate Professor of Epidemiology

Air pollution, Climate change, Epidemiology, Public health

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