Research

Research

 Karl T. Kelsey 

Dr. Karl Kelsey, MD, MOH, is interested in the application of laboratory-based biomarkers in environmental disease, with experience in chronic disease epidemiology and tumor biology. The goals include a mechanistic understanding of individual susceptibility to exposure-related cancers. In addition, his laboratory is interested in tumor biology, investigating somatic alterations in tumor tissue. This work involves using an epidemiologic approach to characterize epigenetic and genetic alteration of genes in the causal pathway for malignancy. We have also developed a method to use archived blood DNA to assess leukocyte profiles and are applying this in epidemiologic studies of immune altered states. 

Gregory Wellenius 

Professor Wellenius focuses on the environmental determinants of cardiovascular disease.  Using tools from the fields of epidemiology and toxicology to: 1) evaluate the association between environmental exposures and disease, 2) identify subgroups of the population that may be particularly susceptible, and 3) elucidate the physiologic mechanisms for the observed effects. His recent work has looked at the health effects of ambient air pollution, indoor air pollution, and perfluorinated compounds. 

 Joseph Braun 

Dr. Braun is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology in the Program in Public Health. He was formerly a school nurse in Milwaukee, WI before going on to receive his MSPH and PhD in Epidemiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 
 Dr. Braun is interested in studying whether early life environmental chemical exposures impact children's health, with a special interest in studying obesity and neurodevelopmental disorders like ADHD and autism. He is also interested in identifying modifiable sources of environmental chemical exposures in pregnant women and children. 

Tonzhang Zheng 

Dr. Tongzhang Zheng is Professor of Epidemiology at Brown School of Public Health. He is Director of the Brown-China Center for Environmental Health Sciences at the Environmental Health Section in the Department of Epidemiology.  Before coming to Brown in February, 2015, Dr. Zheng was Susan Dwight Bliss Professor of Epidemiology and the Chairman for the Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Yale School of Public Health.  He received his Master’s degree in epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health in 1986, and the Doctor of Science degree in Epidemiology from Harvard School of Public Health in 1990.  He received a medical degree from Tongji Medical School, China, in 1978.    

Dr. Zheng’s research has been in the area of environmental epidemiology, particularly cancer etiology related to environmental exposures and genetic polymorphisms, such as female breast cancer, testis cancer, and cancers of the blood and lymph system.  Dr. Zheng’s recent work in scientific research includes an interest in environmental exposures, fetal and early childhood growth and children’s health.  This research interest comes from the recognition that study of the risk factors for fetal and childhood growth trajectories will help to understand the mechanisms for many diseases in adult life such as breast cancer and testis cancer that have been consistently associated with prenatal and early childhood exposures. Both breast cancer and testis cancer that Dr. Zheng is interested are considered to originate in utero.  Dr. Zheng is the Principal Investigator (PI) for two NIH Fogarty training grants in China by collaborating with China’s National Cancer Center to establish critical mass for China’s cancer prevention and control activities; and Research Training for Study of Air Pollution Control in China by collaborating with China’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (China NIEHS) to build critical mass for confronting ever increase in environmental pollution in contemporary China. Through partial support from these two NIH Fogarty grants, Dr. Zheng is collaborating with Chinese scientists building three prospective cohort studies in China: 1) a prenatal cohort study in Wuhan; 2) a prospective cohort study of metal exposure and human health; and 3) a prospective cohort study of coal miners in China.  The critical mass being built in China will be a great platform for studying the impact of environmental exposures and human health.