Leveraging Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to Advance Environmental Health Research and Decisions
June 6-7, 2019
Keck Center, Room 100
500 5th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001
This workshop explored uses of artificial intelligence and machine learning to characterize sources of pollution, predict chemical toxicity, and estimate human exposure to contaminants, among emerging applications. Speakers and participants engaged in hands-on learning about key steps and considerations for running machine learning algorithms. Participants also discussed implications of AI and machine learning in terms of public trust, transparency, replicability of results, and other important factors that influence how science can inform decisions about environmental health policy and regulations.
The National Academies’ Standing Committee on Use of Emerging Science for Environmental Health Decisions (ESEHD) examines and discusses issues on the use of new science, tools, and research methodologies for environmental health decisions. Workshops convened by the ESEHD committee provide a public venue for communication among government, industry, environmental groups, and the academic community about scientific discoveries and advances in methods and approaches that can be used in the identification, quantification, and control of environmental impacts on human health. The ESEHD committee is organized under the auspices of Board on Life Sciences and the Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, and sponsored by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
- The Promise of Single Cell and Single Molecule Analysis Tools to Advance Environmental Health Research (March 7-8, 2019)
- Toward Understanding the Interplay of Environmental Stressors, Infectious Disease, and Human Health (January 15-16, 2019)
- Informing Environmental Health Decisions through Data Integration (February 20-21, 2018)
- The Promise of Genome Editing Tools to Advance Environmental Health Research (January 10-11, 2018)
- Understanding Pathways to a Paradigm Shift in Toxicity Testing and Decision Making (November 20-21, 2017)
- Causal Understanding & Risk-Based Decision Making (March 6-7, 2017)
- Personal Environmental Exposure Measurements (November 16-17, 2016)
- Interindividual Variability & Decision Making (September 30-October 1, 2015)
- Microbiome II (January 14 – 15, 2016)
- Metabolomics & the Exposome (May 28 – 29, 2015)
- Modeling the Health Risks of Climate Change (November 3-4, 2014)
- Tissue Chips (July 21-22, 2014)
- Integrating Environmental Health Data (January 10-11, 2013)
- Genomic Plasticity (October 4-5, 2012)
- Systems Biology-Informed Risk Assessment (June 14-15, 2012)
- Individual Variability (April 18-19, 2012)
- Individual Exposomes (December 8-9, 2011)
- Green Chemistry (September 20-21, 2011)
- Mixtures & Cumulative Risk Assessment (July 27-28, 2011)
- The Microbiome (April 27-28, 2011)
- Early Indicators of Disease (October 14-15, 2010)
- Stem Cells (June 3-4, 2010)
- The Exposome (February 25-26, 2010)
- Computational Toxicology (September 21-22, 2009)
- Epigenetics (July 30-31, 2009)
Proceedings & Summaries
- Informing Environmental Health Decisions through Data Integration (2018)
- The Promise of Genome Editing Tools to Advance Environmental Health Research (2018)
- Understanding Pathways to a Paradigm Shift in Toxicity Testing and Decision Making (2017)
- Advances in Causal Understanding for Human Health Risk-Based Decision-Making (2017)
- Personal Environmental Exposure Measurements (2017)
- Interindividual Variability & Decision Making (2016)
- Microbiome II (2016)
- Metabolomics & the Exposome (2016)
- Modeling the Health Risks of Climate Change (2015)
- Tissue Chips (2014)
- Systems Biology-Informed Risk Assessment (2012)
- Individual Variability (2012)
- Individual Exposomes (2012)
- Green Chemistry (2011)
- Mixtures and Cumulative Risk Assessment (2011)
- The Microbiome (2011)
- Early Indicators of Disease (2010)
- Stem Cells (2010)
- The Exposome (2010)
- Computational Toxicology (2009)
- Epigenetics (2009)
Melissa Perry (Co-chair)
The George Washington University
Melissa Perry, ScD, MHS, (Co-chair) is Professor and Chair of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health in the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University (GWU). Before joining GWU, she spent 13 years on the Harvard School of Public Health’s Department of Environmental Health faculty. As an environmental and occupational epidemiologist, Dr. Perry’s research focuses on the health impacts of environmental chemicals with particular focus on reproduction, and on the prevention of occupational injuries and disease. Her lab at GW examines environmental impacts on sperm and male fertility. She is the Chair of the Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Center for Environmental Health/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; co-chair of the National Academies’ Committee on Emerging Science for Environmental Decisions; a Fellow of the Collegium Ramazzini; and a member of the Technical Advisory Board for the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR). She has served as President of the American College of Epidemiology and as a standing member of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health study section. She is currently an associate editor of Environmental Health Perspectives and an editorial board member of Environmental Health. She received her B.A. from the University of Vermont, and her M.H.S. and Sc.D. from The Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health.
Kim Boekelheide (Co-chair)
Kim Boekelheide, MD, PhD, (Co-chair) is Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Brown University School of Medicine. He received his B.A. from Harvard University, and M.D. and Ph.D. from Duke University. His research examines fundamental molecular mechanisms by which environmental and occupational toxicants induce cellular injury and male reproductive effects. Current projects include the development of novel in vitro approaches to safety assessment, use of xenotransplantation approaches for human-relevant toxicity testing, and the discovery of sperm molecular biomarkers that reflect testicular injury. He is Associate Director of the Brown University Superfund Research Program and Director of the Brown University Center to Advance Predictive Biology. His research has been continuously funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences since 1985, and he has received several awards including a Burroughs Wellcome Toxicology Scholar Award (1994-1999) and the Lifetime Achievement Award (2015) from the Reproductive and Developmental Toxicology Specialty Section of the Society of Toxicology.
Lesa L. Aylward
Summit Toxicology, LLP
Lesa L. Aylward, PhD, is a Principal at Summit Toxicology, LLP, located in Falls Church, Virginia, and is an Honorary Associate Professor at the University of Queensland, Australia, Queensland Alliance for Environmental Health Sciences. She has more than 30 years of experience in chemical risk assessment and hazard communication. Dr. Aylward specializes in applying pharmacokinetic modeling and data in the assessment of toxicology, exposure, and risk, including the interpretation of biomonitoring data for assessing human health risks from a variety of chemicals. She and her colleagues at Summit Toxicology have published on the development of tools for screening-level evaluation of population biomonitoring data for a wide range of chemical compounds in a risk assessment context. Dr. Aylward is an active member of the International Society of Exposure Sciences, the Society of Toxicology (Biological Modeling and Risk Assessment Specialty Sections), and the Society for Risk Analysis. Prior to her position at Summit Toxicology, Dr. Aylward provided consulting services at Exponent, Inc.; BBL, Inc.; and Karch & Associates. She received her B.S. and M.S. in Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her Ph.D. in Toxicology from Utrecht University, in Utrecht, the Netherlands.
Texas A&M University
Weihsueh Chiu, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences at the Texas A&M University. His research focuses on the development of quantitative, data-driven approaches for understanding and predicting the human health effects of environmental chemicals. Specifically, his research applies computational and statistical methods to transform data into knowledge used to protect public health. He also has an interest in approaches to estimate the variability in individual susceptibility to environmental exposures, so as to better protect sensitive subpopulations.
Michigan State University
Kevin C. Elliott, PhD, is Associate Professor at Michigan State University with joint appointments in Lyman Briggs College, the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, and the Department of Philosophy. He received his Ph.D. in History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Notre Dame in 2004, his M.A. in History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Notre Dame in 2002, and his B.S. in Chemistry and Philosophy from Wheaton College in 1997. His research lies at the intersection of the philosophy of science and practical ethics, with an emphasis on critically examining the ways in which ethical and social values influence science and technology. Much of his work has focused on issues related to environmental pollution. He has served on the NIEHS National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council, and he recently served as Program Chair for the 2018 Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association. He is the author of “Is a Little Pollution Good for You? Incorporating Societal Values in Environmental Research” (2011) and “A Tapestry of Values: An Introduction to Values in Science” (2017) and co-editor (with Ted Richards) of “Exploring Inductive Risk: Case Studies of Values in Science” (2017), all published by Oxford University Press.
New York State Department of Health
Gary Ginsberg, PhD, is Director of the Center for Environmental Health New York State Department of Health and a lecturer at the Yale School of Public Health. Prior to this, he was a toxicologist for the Connecticut Department of Public Health. He serves on a number of national committees including U.S. EPA’s Science Advisory Board (2008-present) and the National Academies’ Biomonitoring committee (2004-2006), U.S. EPA’s Risk Methods committee which produced Science and Decisions (2006-2008), and Inorganic Arsenic Risk Assessment committee (2012-2015). He also served on U.S. EPA’s Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee (2004-2009) and has been an external reviewer on a number of U.S. EPA IRIS documents. Dr. Ginsberg has been called on by other federal agencies to provide reviews including OSHA (silica workplace standard), CPSC (cadmium in children’s jewelry) and FDA (dental amalgam). His risk assessments on fish contaminants, synthetic turf fields, acrylamide, cadmium, and assessments pertaining to risks in children and those with genetic polymorphisms have been published in peer reviewed journals. Dr. Ginsberg co-authored a book for the lay public called “What’s Toxic, What’s Not” (Berkeley Books, 2006).
Norbert E. Kaminski
Michigan State University
Norbert E. Kaminski, Ph.D., is the Director of the Michigan State University Institute for Integrative Toxicology and a Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. Dr. Kaminski is a member of the Society of Toxicology (SOT) and Immunotoxicology Specialty Section, the American Association of Immunologists and the International Cannabinoid Research Society. He served as President of the SOT from 2014-2015. Dr. Kaminski currently serves on the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council, and is on the External Advisory Committee of the Oregon State University Superfund Center Grant. Dr. Kaminski was an Associate Editor for the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics and was also on the editorial board for Toxicological Sciences, International Immunopharmacology, and Nonlinearity in Biology-Toxicology-Medicine. He has served on various scientific advisory committees including the National Academy of Sciences Committee to Review the Health Effects in Vietnam Veterans of Exposure to Herbicides, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board for the Dioxin Reassessment Review, the Health Effects Task Group for NSF International, and the National Academy of Sciences Committee to review EPA’s Exposure and Human Health Reassessment of TCDD and Related Compounds. Dr. Kaminski served on the Board of Trustees for the International Life Sciences Institute-Health and Environmental Sciences Institute from 2003 to 2012. Dr. Kaminski is a faculty trainer for the NIEHS training grant.
Margaret R. Karagas
Margaret R. Karagas, Ph.D., is Professor and Department Chair of Epidemiology at the Dartmouth College Geisel School of Medicine, and Director of the Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Center and Center of Molecular Epidemiology at Dartmouth. She also currently leads a project in the Dartmouth Superfund Program. Dr. Karagas’ research encompasses interdisciplinary studies to illuminate the etiology of human cancers, along with adverse pregnancy and children’s health outcomes. Her work seeks to identify emerging environmental exposures, host factors and mechanisms that impact health from infancy to adult life, and to apply novel methods and technologies to understand disease pathogenesis. Among her current investigations are population-based studies of the temporal increases in the incidence rates keratinocyte cancers in the US and the contribution of widespread exposures such as indoor tanning, as well as drinking water contaminants. More recently, she established a cohort of pregnant women and their offspring in New Hampshire to assess the sources and potential health impacts of arsenic and other factors, i.e., on childhood infection, allergy/atopy, growth and neurodevelopment through the Children’s Center. The cohort entails multiple collaborative studies of exposure biomarkers, individual susceptibility, and biological response to environmental agents including the developing microbiome and immune response. Dr. Karagas received her Ph.D. from the University of Washington.
Patrick McMullen, Ph.D., is Director of Computational Toxicology at ScitoVation. He has a keen interest in leveraging high-content biological experiments (gene expression studies, high-throughput screens, imaging, and other sources) into a mechanistic understanding of the underlying biology. His background in molecular biology, engineering and programming has been instrumental in interpreting and communicating complex data problems in diverse applications. Dr. McMullen manages a diverse computational biology team that uses modeling and high-content data to deepen our understanding of how chemicals interact with biological systems. His group combines expertise and tools from different disciplines to develop innovative strategies for using large-scale data to solve problems related to chemical and drug safety and efficacy. Dr. McMullen earned his Ph.D. in Chemical and Biological Engineering from Northwestern University in 2010.
Gary Miller, Ph.D., is Professor of Environmental Health Sciences in the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. He completed his doctoral training in Pharmacology and Toxicology and postdoctoral training in Molecular Neuroscience. His research has focused on environmental factors involved in the development of neurodegenerative conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease. His laboratory uses a variety of methods including transgenic mouse production, immunohistochemistry, neurotransmitter transport assays, high-resolution metabolomics, electrochemistry, and behavioral assays. Dr. Miller previously served as Director of the Emory HERCULES center, an NIEHS-funded center focused on the exposome, the environmental analogue to the genome. He also served as Director of Emory’s NIEHS-funded T32 Training Grant in Environmental Health Sciences and Toxicology. Dr. Miller is a Georgia Research Alliance Distinguished Investigator and received the Acheivement Award from the Society of Toxicology. He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of Toxicological Sciences, the official journal of the Society of Toxicology.
Kristi Pullen Fedinick
Natural Resources Defense Council
Kristi Pullen Fedinick, Ph.D., is a staff scientist in the Health Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. Kristi Pullen’s decades-long research career includes experience in molecular, structural, and computational biology; biochemistry; and population health. Prior to joining the Health program, she worked as a scientist for the Environmental Law and Policy Center, where she focused on air and drinking-water quality, science communications, and environmental justice. For NRDC, Pullen has worked primarily on high-throughput technologies, predictive toxicology, and chemical-risk assessments. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and a Ph.D. in molecular and cell biology from the University of California, Berkeley. She was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholar at the Harvard School of Public Health. She is based in Washington, D.C.
Reza J. Rasoulpour
Reza J. Rasoulpour, Ph.D., is the Leader of Global Regulatory for the Crop Protection Business Platform, within Research & Development, for Corteva Agriscience, The Agriculture Division of Dow-DuPont, as a heritage Dow AgroSciences (DAS) employee. Dr. Rasoulpour currently serves on the Presidential Progression (2018-2022) of the Reproductive and Developmental Toxicity Specialty Section for the Society of Toxicology (SOT), as an appointed member on the National Academies’ Emerging Science for Environmental Health Decisions standing committee (2016 to present) and the Board of Environmental Studies and Toxicology (2017 to present), on the editorial board of the Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis journal (2017 to present), was nominated to the SOT Membership Committee (2016 to present), and served as Jr/Sr Councilor of the Reproductive and Developmental Toxicology Specialty Section for SOT (2014-2015). To date, he has authored/coauthored 39 peer-reviewed publications to the scientific literature, as well as authored a book chapter on the topic of male reproductive biology. Dr. Rasoulpour earned a B.S. from the University of Connecticut, where he received the title of University Scholar, the university’s highest academic honor. He then embarked on researching reproductive toxicology in the laboratory of Kim Boekelheide and was awarded his Ph.D. from Brown University.
Gina M. Solomon
University of California, San Francisco
Gina M. Solomon, M.D., M.P.H., is a Clinical Professor of Medicine in the Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). She is also a Principal Investigator at the Public Health Institute. From 2012-2017 she was appointed by Governor Brown as the Deputy Secretary for Science and Health at the California Environmental Protection Agency. Dr. Solomon served as the director of the occupational and environmental medicine residency program at UCSF from 2008-2012, the associate director of the UCSF Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit from 2003-2009, and as a Senior Scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) from 1996-2012. She serves on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Board of Scientific Counselors and on the National Academy of Science (NAS) Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology and the NAS Committee on Emerging Science for Environmental Health Decisions. Dr. Solomon’s work has encompassed cumulative impacts and environmental justice, new tools in toxicology, the health effects of diesel exhaust, endocrine disrupting chemicals, pesticides, environmental contaminants in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, the health implications of the 2010 Gulf oil spill, refinery safety, and the health effects of climate change. Dr. Solomon received her bachelor’s degree from Brown University, a doctorate of medicine from the Yale University School of Medicine, and a master’s degree in public health from the Harvard School of Public Health.
Jessica De Mouy
Senior Program Assistant