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Ellen Silbergeld, PhD

  • Professor

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Center & Institute Affiliations

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615 N. Wolfe Street, E6644
Baltimore, Maryland 21205


Fogarty Mongolia Training Program in Environmental and Occupational Health

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PhD, Johns Hopkins University, 1972


Trained at Hopkins in geography and environmental engineering (PhD '72) and postdoctoral fellow in Environmental Health Sciences ('72-75). NIH staff fellowship followed by senior scientist position at Environmental Defense and professorship at University of Maryland Medical School. Served as scientific advisor to NTP-NIH, CDC, EPA, DOE, OSHA, states of Maryland and New York, World Bank, ILO, UNEP, and PAHO.

My research and professional activities bridge science and public policy, with a focus on the incorporation of mechanistic toxicology into environmental and occupational health policy. Areas of current focus include: cardiovascular risks of arsenic, lead, and cadmium; immunotoxicity of mercury compounds; health and environmental impacts of industrial food animal production. These projects include epidemiological studies and mechanistic research on gene:environment interactions and movement of pathogens in the environment. Some of this research is conducted internationally (mercury studies in the Amazon; lead/cadmium/arsenic studies in Mexico; mining and development in Mongolia; zoonotic diseases in Thailand and the Netherlands). 

I also direct a Fogarty Training Program in NonCommunicable Diseases, which is a collaboration between Hopkins and the School of Public Health of Mongolia.

Honors and Awards

Fellowships from Fulbright, Kennedy, Rockefeller, Danforth, Woodrow Wilson Foundations. Phi Beta Kappa, Vassar College. Barsky Award, Amer Public Health Assn. MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Fellow. Lifetime Achievement Award, Society of Toxicology Metals Section. Editor in Chief: Environmental Research. Member, scientific advisory councils for EPA, PAHO, CDC, Department of Energy, NIH-NIEHS. Consultant, World Bank, WHO, UNEP, OSHA, and ILO.





SPECIAL NEWS:  In Setpember 2014 my book, AIMING FOR THE HEART will be published by JHU Press.  This tells how I got involved with studying antimicrobial resistance in agriculture, contests with government and industry, new discoveries in the lab and field, and proposes solutions to the way we feed ourselves in the 21st century

  • industrial farming
  • molecular devices for pathogen detection
  • disease modeling
  • antibiotic-resistant bacteria
  • heavy metals
  • environmental and occupational health
  • Papers about industrial food animal production and antibiotic resistance
    • Davis MF, Kamel F, Hoppin JA, Alavanja MC, Freeman LB, Gray GC, Nelson K, Silbergeld E. Neurologic symptoms associated with raising poultry and swine among participants in the Agricultural Health Study. J Occup Environ Med. 2011: 190-195. 
    • Graham J, Boland J, and Silbergeld EK.  Growth promoting antibiotics in food animal production: an economic analysis.  Public Health Rep 122(1):79-87, 2007.
    • Silbergeld EK, Davis M, Leibler JH, and Peterson AE.  One reservoir:  Redefining the community origins of antimicrobial-resstant infections.  Med. Clin. N Am 92:1391-1407, 2008.
    • Feingold BJ, Silbergeld EK, Curriero F, van Cleef BA, Heck ME, and Kluytmans JA. Livestock density as a risk factor for LA-MRSA exposure in the Netherlands: A reanalysis. Emerg Infect Dis, 2012 Nov;18(11):1841-9.
    • Castillo Neyra R, Frisancho JA, Rinsky JL, Resnick C, Carroll KC, Rule, AM, Ross T, You, T, Price, LB, Silbergeld EK.  Multidrug-Resistant and Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in Hog Processing Plant Workers and Their Community in North Carolina (USA) Environ Health Persp, 122: 741-477,  2014.
    • KYEREMATENG-AMOAH E, NOWELL J, lUTTY A, LEES PSJ. AND SILBERGELD EK.  Laceration injuries and infections among workers in the poultry processing and pork meatpacking industries.  Amer J Indust Med 57: 669-682. 2014

    • Silva IA, Nyland JF, Gorman A, Perisse A, Ventura AM, Santos EC, Souza JM, Burek CL, Rose NR, Silbergeld EK. Mercury exposure, malaria, and serum antinuclear/antinucleolar antibodies in amazon populations in Brazil: a cross-sectional study.  Environ Health  3(1):3-11, 2004.
    • Gardner R, Nyland JF, Crainescu C, and Silbergeld EK.  Mercury induces an unopposed inflammatory response in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells in vitro.  Environ Health Persp 117:1932-1938, 2009.
    • Motts JA, Shirley DL, Silbergeld EK, Nyland JF.  Novel biomarkers of mercury-induced autoimmune dysfunction: A cross-sectional study in Amazonian Brazil.  Environ Res. 2014 132:12-18
    • Arias-Salvatierra D, Silbergeld EK, Acosta-Saavedra LC, Calderon-Aranda ES.  Role of nitric oxide produced by iNOS through NFκB pathway in migration of cerebellar granule neurons induced by lipopolysaccharide.  Cell Signal 23(2):425-435, 2011.
    • Maull EA, Ahsan H, Edwards J, Longnecker MP, Navas-Acien A, Pi J, Silbergeld EK, Styblo M, Tseng CH, Thayer KA, Loomis D. Evaluation of the Association between Arsenic and Diabetes: A National Toxicology Program Workshop Review.  Environ Health Perspect 120: 539-543, 2012.

    Nyland JF, Fairweather D, Shirley DL, Davis SE, Rose NR, and Silbergeld EK.  Low dose inorganic mercury increases severity and frequency of chronic coxsackievirus-induced autoimmune myocarditis in mice.Toxicol Sci. Jan; 125(1):134-143, 2012.

    •  Wells EM, Navas-Acien A, Herbstman JG, Apelberg BJ, Silbergeld EK, Caldwell KL, Jones RL, Halden RU, Witter FR, and Goldman LR.  Low-level lead exposure and elevation in blood pressure during pregnancy.  Environ Health Persp 119(5):664-669, 2011.
    • Tellez-Plaza M, Guallar E, Howard BV, Umans JG, Francesconi KA, Goessler W, Silbergeld EK, Devereux RB, and Navas-Acien A.  Cadmium exposure and incident cardiovascular disease.  Epidemiology, 2013 May;24(3):421-9.
    • Tellez-Plaza M, Gribble MO, Voruganti VS, Francesconi KA, Goessler W, Umans JG, Silbergeld EK, Guallar E, Franceschini N, North KE, Kao WH, MacCluer JW, Cole SA, Navas-Acien A. Heritability and preliminary genome-wide linkage analysis of arsenic metabolites in urine.  Environ Health Perspect 2013 Mar;121(3):345-351
    • Nyland JF, Fairweather D, Shirley DL, Davis SE, Rose NR, and Silbergeld EK.  Low dose inorganic mercury increases severity and frequency of chronic coxsackievirus-induced autoimmune myocarditis in mice.Toxicol Sci. Jan; 125(1):134-143, 2012.

    • Vegosen L, Peterson AE, Leibler J, Davis MG, Feingold B, and Silbergeld EK.  Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Environment: In: Henao S, Carvalan C, and Finkelman J (eds): The Environment and Sustainable Development (update). Washington: Pan American Health Organization, 2012.
    • Silbergeld EK. Antimicrobials as Growth Promoters. In: G David (ed): Late Lessons from Early    Warnings: Science, Precaution, Innovation.Copenhagen, European Environment Agency Report 1/2013, pp. 731-734.