Meet the Faculty
Kirsten Almberg, PhD ’16, MS ’12, is the assistant director of research and evaluation at the UIC Mining and Education Research Center. She is responsible for managing and executing epidemiologic studies of occupational lung diseases both nationally and internationally. Her work includes analyses of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, progressive massive fibrosis and other coal mine dust lung diseases among coal miners regionally, nationally and internationally. Specifically, her focus has been on linking state and national databases that contain health information on U.S. coal miners to more fully understand the development and progression of disease, including factors most associated with developing disease.
Maria Argos, PhD, conducts research focused on the health effects of arsenic and other metals among children and adults in Bangladesh, the population of which has been severely affected by decades of elevated exposure to arsenic through consumption of naturally contaminated groundwater. Dr. Argos’ research has shown dose-response associations of arsenic with chronic disease outcomes (mortality and skin lesions), pregnancy outcomes, and early cardiometabolic impacts on children. Her work has also identified epigenetic mechanisms that may underlie these observed associations.
Samuel Dorevitch, MD, focuses on waterborne bacteria, viruses, and parasites in water. Over the past decade, dozens of graduate students have worked in his laboratory and field studies. Students that he has mentored for their MS and PhD research have published their water research findings in leading journals, and have taken positions in government and in the private sector. Ongoing research funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, focuses on sustainable, decentralized approaches to making clean water available in resource-poor parts of the world. Other recent projects have addressed lead in drinking water and the Flint, Michigan water crisis.
Lee Friedman, PhD, principally covers three areas: injury prevention at work, violence across the lifespan and the role of conflicts of interest in public health research. He specializes in analyses of large population based datasets, longitudinal cohorts, surveillance systems, data linkage and multi-center projects. His injury prevention work focuses on identifying and integrating risk factors across realms that are traditionally evaluated separately: the environment, home/community and workplace. Individuals experiencing violence at home or in their communities will have their work lives impacted, as will those discriminated against and working in unsafe environments will have their families and communities adversely affected.
Victoria Persky, PhD, co-leads the Community Outreach and Engagement Core within the NIEHS-funded Chicago Center for Health and Environment, a partnership between UIC and the University of Chicago. In that role, she engages with underserved minority communities in Chicago to identify and address potential environmental hazards of concern. Her research has exposed wide racial disparities in the incidence and severity of asthma in Chicago, the effects of persistent organic pollutants on the endocrine system and environmental health concerns facing residents of the southeast side of Chicago.
Leslie Stayner, PhD, has more than 30 years of experience conducting research in the field of occupational and environmental epidemiology. Previously, he worked for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and as a visiting scientist with the International Agency for Research on Cancer. His research current research focuses on the effects of exposures to nitrates and other agricultural chemicals in drinking water and the risk of childhood cancer and adverse reproductive and developmental outcomes. Previous research has centered on areas of occupational cancer, quantitative risk assessment and epidemiologic methods.
Mary Turyk, PhD, engages in research and training in environmental epidemiology. Her primary research program focuses on the cardiometabolic, endocrine and reproductive health effects of chronic exposure to contaminant mixtures. Recent work in this area explores the complex relationships among fish consumption, contaminant exposures, cardiovascular disease, blood glucose, inflammation, insulin resistance, and endogenous hormones. She has extended this work to translational projects, such as a clinical trial of an intervention to promote healthy fish consumption in Asian American women of reproductive age.