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This new program funds research on climate change and precision public health

  • Health and Wellness
  • Innovation and Research
  • School of Medicine
  • School of Public Health

Five projects with co-investigators from Pitt’s School of Public Health and School of Medicine have been awarded $45,000 each from the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) as part of the Public Health Trans-Disciplinary Collaboration Pilot Awards.

The collaborative pilot investigations are focused on addressing public health under the threat of climate change through precision public health, an emerging field that employs data science to develop targeted interventions by person, place and time.

“The awardees proposed innovative and impactful approaches to studying important topics such as Alzheimer’s disease and genomic epidemiology that will have meaningful impact in numerous areas of medicine and public health,” said Steven E. Reis, CTSI director and associate senior vice chancellor for clinical and translational research in the health sciences.

Each project has a primary investigator from public health and from medicine. The winners are:

  • Ying Ding, Department of Biostatistics, and Erick Forno, Department of Pediatrics, who are analyzing electronic health records to deliver better precision care to childhood asthma patients.
  • Mark Roberts, Department of Policy and Management, and Anna Wang-Erickson, Department of Pediatrics, who are developing the first large-scale population-based genomic epidemiologic study of human metapneumovirus, a major cause of acute respiratory disease worldwide and the second-most common cause of lower respiratory infection in U.S. children.
  • Alison Sanders, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, and Jacqueline Ho, Departments of Pediatrics, who are disentangling complex environmental risk factors, including climate change-related heat stress experienced in communities with endemic chronic kidney disease of unknown origin.
  • Jiebiao Wang, Department of Biostatistics, and Victor Talisa, Department of Critical Care Medicine, who seek to simultaneously predict levels of three pathological markers for Alzheimer’s disease, which are currently only measured post-mortem, and characterize the gold-standard criteria for the disease’s diagnosis.
  • Christina Mair, Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, and Kristina Rudd, Department of Critical Care Medicine, who will investigate relationships between structural determinants and neighborhood risks and protective factors that may affect sepsis risk, for which certain subgroups are at higher risk.

“Climate change and precision public health are exemplary challenges we face which can only be solved by innovative transdisciplinary approaches,” said Maureen Lichtveld, dean of the School of Public Health. “The diversity of the projects funded is not only illustrative of this innovation, but also represents new teams of investigators within the Schools of Public Health and Medicine who have not collaborated previously. This is the beginning of a transformative change in research at Pitt.”


— Micaela Corn