Department of Environmental and Occupational Health

Activities & Service Awards & Grants Curriculum Vitae Publications Research

Felicia Wu - Research

My research applies mathematical modeling and social science tools to environmental health problems.  In particular, I am interested in food safety and indoor environmental quality, and the economics of regulating these.  Here are some of my ongoing research areas:

  1. Indoor environmental quality :  Though we spend upward of 90% of our time indoors, indoor environments have received far less regulatory and public health attention than outdoor environments.  What impediments exist to developing regulatory policies to improve indoor environments, and how can we overcome those impediments?  My research goals are to: establish the link among mold and moisture prevalence in homes, children's asthma, and socioeconomic factors; examine the cost-effectiveness of interventions to reduce indoor mold and to improve indoor air quality in general; develop effective communication instruments to inform homeowners on how to improve and maintain their home environmental quality; and to develop recommendations for national and local policy to improve indoor air for better public health.

  2. Mycotoxins :  Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites of fungi that colonize crops, which can be toxic or carcinogenic to humans and animals.  In this area, I have developed models to estimate the economic impacts of mycotoxins in several areas: animal health, human health, benefits of genetically modified Bt corn in lowering mycotoxins, and regulations particularly the strict mycotoxin regulations imposed by the European Union.  My newest area concerns estimating the economic impact on livestock health of mycotoxins in corn-based ethanol co-products, which are fed to animals.

  3. Genetically modified crops : The majority of the corn, cotton, and soybean fields we plant today in the U.S. are genetically modified, in most cases for herbicide tolerance and/or pest protection.  GM crops have a variety of benefits for growers and secondarily for animals and humans (for example, through mycotoxin reduction), but it is important to fully understand and reduce any potential environmental and food safety risks.  My work in this area concerns quantitative benefit-risk assessment of environmental and health impacts of GM crops, and application to improving policy.  I have particularly looked at issues of pesticide and mycotoxin reduction.  For this work, I have spoken at the United Nations Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety 4th Meeting of the Parties, on mycotoxin reduction in Bt corn and its health and economic benefits.

I am always happy to discuss these topics more at length with those who are interested.  Feel free to send me an email at few8 AT pitt DOT edu.

Invited Lectures and Session Chairs

  1. Summer Academy in Global Food Law & Policy, Granada, Spain, 2013

  2. International Society of Mycotoxicology-MycoRed International Conference (Opening Lecture), Martina Franca, Italy, 2013

  3. Institute on Science for Global Policy: Food Safety, Security, and Defense, Verona, Italy, 2013

  4. 4th MoniQA International Conference (Keynote Lecture), Budapest, Hungary, 2013

  5. The Role of Academic Medical Centers in Addressing Health Disparities Conference (Spotlight Lecture), Pittsburgh, 2012

  6. World Nutrition Forum (Keynote Lecture), Singapore, 2012

  7. MycoRed North America Conference (Keynote Lecture), Ottawa, Canada, 2012

  8. Fifth Berkeley Bioeconomy Conference, University of California-Berkeley, 2012

  9. Conference on Food Security, Purdue University, 2012

  10. Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE) Award Lecture, Yixing, China, 2011

  11. MycoRed Conference, Cape Town, South Africa, 2011

  12. International Workshop on Socio-Economic Impacts of Genetically Modified Crops, Seville, Spain, 2011

  13. Nutrition Seminar Series, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2011

  14. Infectious Diseases Series, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, 2011

  15. Society of Toxicology, 2011

  16. World Health Organization (WHO) Foodborne Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group and Stakeholders Meeting, Geneva, Switzerland, 2010

  17. Michigan State University, Distinguished Scholars in Toxicology Lecture Series, 2010

  18. World Health Organization (WHO) Foodborne Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group, Tunis, Tunisia, 2010

  19. Science 2010, University of Pittsburgh, 2010

  20. Global Health Research Development Seminar, University of Pittsburgh, 2010

  21. International Mycotoxin Conference (Keynote Lecture), Penang, Malaysia, 2010

  22. World Nutrition Forum (Keynote Lecture), Salzburg, Austria, 2010

  23. Gordon Research Conference on Mycotoxins and Phycotoxins, 2009, 2007, 2005, 2003

  24. Kenya Stakeholders’ Inception Workshop on Aflatoxin Reduction, Nairobi, Kenya, 2009

  25. International Society for Mycotoxicology Conference, Vienna, Austria, 2009

  26. Food for Thought Distinguished Lecture Series, Oregon State University, 2009

  27. Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecture – Environmental and Health Impacts of Transgenic Crops, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 2009

  28. Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecture – Aflatoxin: Reducing Health Risks Through Public Health Interventions, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2009

  29. Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecture – Ethanol and the Environment, Iowa State University, 2008

  30. Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecture – Ethanol and the Environment, University of Nebraska, 2008

  31. World Mycotoxin Forum (Plenary Lecture), 2008, 2006, 2005

  32. United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity 4th Meeting of the Parties (MOP4), 2008

  33. Senior Vice Chancellor’s Research Seminar, University of Pittsburgh, 2008

  34. National Fusarium Head Blight Forum (Plenary Lecture), 2007

  35. USDA Aflatoxin Elimination Workshop, 2007, 2006

  36. Monsanto Company, 2007

  37. Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., 2007

  38. Department of Energy, Energy Codes 2007

  39. U.S./EU Trans-Atlantic Conference: REACH, 2007

  40. USDA / North American Millers Association, Corn Dry Milling Conference, 2007

  41. USDA APHIS Biotechnology Regulatory Services Seminar, 2007

  42. Biosafety Institute for Genetically Modified Agricultural Products (BIGMAP) Symposium, 2007

  43. Engineering Sustainability: Mascaro Sustainability Initiative, University of Pittsburgh, 2007

  44. Research in Sustainable Community Development, University of Pittsburgh, 2007

  45. Canadian Institute of Food Science & Technology Conference (Plenary Lecture), 2006

  46. Audubon Society, GMO Food Safety & the Environment, 2006

  47. University of Pittsburgh Board of Trustees Meeting, 2006

  48. Dutch Ministry of Housing Seminar, 2005

  49. 4th Canadian Fusarium Head Blight Workshop, 2005

  50. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation Seminar, 2005

  51. Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics Seminar, Rutgers University, 2005

  52. Agricultural and Resource Economics Seminar, University of California / Berkeley, 2005

  53. Plant Sciences Seminar, University of California / Davis, 2005

  54. International Workshop on Health Implications of Fungi in Indoor Environments, 2005

  55. USDA Economics of Agricultural Biotechnology Regulation Workshop, 2005

  56. Harvard Workshop on Agricultural Biotechnology for Human Development, 2005

  57. XI International Union of Pure & Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) Symposium on Mycotoxins and Phycotoxins (Plenary Lecture), 2004