Environmental Exposure and Biomarker Lab

Molly Kile, ScD

As an environmental epidemiologist, my research focuses on understanding how people are exposed to chemicals from environmental sources and whether those exposures affect human health.

My studies are frequently multidisciplinary collaborations because I am interested in how chemicals interact with host factors (e.g. behavior, diet, microbiota, genetic and epigenetic) to modify susceptibility to disease. This research is important because it provides evidence for primary prevention, which is the essence of public health, as human health risk assessments that are the basis for evidence-based environmental policies.

I have considerable experience conducting environmental health studies in communities that are disproportionately impacted by environmental contaminants. Specifically, I have conducted several population based studies in arsenic-affected communities in Bangladesh for the last 11 years to investigate the health effects associated with chronic arsenic exposure. I also lead the Community Engagement Core: Tribal-University Partnership of Oregon State University’s Superfund Basic Research Program which works in collaboration with Native American Tribes in the Pacific Northwest to investigate their environmental health concerns.

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Current students

Past students

Barbara Hudson-Hanley, PhD, MPH

I am interested in relating chemical policy to human diseases and population-level health effects. This focus builds on my professional experience as a Master Technologist at Hewlett-Packard and lead the Global Regulatory Affairs & Chemical Compliance Team. In this role, I have evaluate materials used in printing products and guide printing supply companies on regulatory and chemical compliance matters. I have also been able to incorporate environmental and human health criteria into technical specifications to complement traditional performance, cost, safety and reliability requirements in material selection.

Sharia Ahmed, PhD

After graduation Sharia continued advancing her expertise in infectious disease epidemiology as a postdoc at the University of Utah School of Medicine.

Sharia is passionate about understanding and thereby preventing waterborne diseases. This interest has taken her from ICDDR,B (a cholera research facility in Bangladesh) to the viral gastroenteritis group at CDC. As part of her PhD in Public Health epidemiology at OSU, she explored the relationship between early-life (conception to age 5) arsenic exposure and infectious disease symptoms in early childhood, using casual inference and longitudinal methods.

Faye Andrews, PhD

After graduation Faye became a research scientists at the California Department of Public Health Biomonitoring Division.

With a background in risk assessment, local public health, and immunotoxicological research, Faye utilized her skillset to study environmental epidemiology at OSU. Her focus was on understanding the exposure pathways of environmental contaminants and how those exposures can lead to changes in human health, particularly for children. She researched how mixtures of exposures (both chemical and social) might influence the growing immune system of younger populations. She received her BS in Biology from St. Lawrence University and her MPH degree in Environmental Health from Boston University School of Public Health.

Barrett Welch, PhD, MPH

After graduation Barrett did a postdoc at NIEHS and is now an Assistant Professor at University Nevada, Reno.

Barrett's focus in graduate school was environmental health. He was interested in studying how environmental exposures occur and later influence human health, particularly in vulnerable populations within developing countries. He gained experience conducting environmental toxicology research within the lab and in the field in Bangladesh. During his time with Dr. Kile he worked to determine the degree to which arsenic exposures in early life cause changes to immunological capacities. Outside of graduate school he enjoyed all types of outdoor exercise. He grew up in the Sierra Nevada’s in Reno, Nevada, which helped him to develop a love for skiing, rock climbing, mountain biking, and mountaineering.

Andres Cardenas, PhD

After graduation Andres was a postdoc at Harvard School of Medicine and is now an Assistant Professor at UC Berkeley.

His dissertation research focused on understanding how in utero exposure to common environmental chemicals such as mercury and arsenic alters epigenetic programming in the developing fetus. He successfully defended his doctoral dissertation in 2015. He continued his training in environmental epigenetic epidemiology as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Andrew Willis, MPH in Public Health

I am interested in reducing environmental hazards at work and preventing occupational injuries. To further this interest, my internship was with Life Technologies in Eugene, OR. Life Technology is a global life science company that operates a very recognized environmental health and safety program that oversees the welfare of approximately 10,000 people around the world. I graduated in 2012 and now work in the private sector as an environmental health and safety specialist.

Robyn Espy, MPH in Public Health

I am interested in infectious diseases and conducted my internship at the Multnomah County Health Department where I evaluated their Hepatitis B screening program for refugees who have settled in Oregon. I graduated in 2013 and now works as a communicable disease epidemiologist in a public health department in Colorado.