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June 5, 2006

Center for a Livable Future Names Predoctoral Fellows for 2006-2007

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for a Livable Future (CLF) has awarded predoctoral fellowships to five students. The awards, in amounts up to $50,000, are given to Johns Hopkins University predoctoral students committed to the discovery and the application of knowledge related to the environmental, economic, social and health impacts of industrial animal production and practices in the United States and abroad. Students may use the grants for tuition, living and research expenses. The CLF Predoctoral Fellowship Program is now in its fourth year. The year-long fellowships will begin in July 2006.

Carmen Arriola is a veterinarian with a degree from San Marcos Major National University in Lima, Peru. She is concerned about the vulnerability of human populations to the health and economic impacts of zoonotic (animal to human) diseases. Arriola plans to conduct the first systematic study of the environmental and public health impact of the pork industry in Peru. In addition, she will assess the stress level of hogs raised in facilities of different sizes in Peru. Arriola hopes her research findings will have practical uses, especially for underserved populations around the world. Her doctoral advisor is Lawrence Moulton, PhD, a professor in the Bloomberg School’s Department of International Health.

Kristen Gibson has worked for the past three years as a senior laboratory technician with Kellogg Schwab, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Environmental Health Science, and her doctoral advisor. Gibson says that studying the environmental impacts of industrial animal production has affirmed the value research can play in protecting the public’s health. In addition, it has motivated her to pursue her own research on the environmental consequences of industrial animal production. Gibson plans to develop new methods to investigate emerging human and animal pathogens and their persistence in and transport through both surface water and groundwater. Gibson earned her Bachelor of Science degree in microbiology and molecular biology from the University of Central Florida.

Autumn Girouard is interested in preventing those human infectious diseases that are facilitated by industrial agricultural practices, global warming and other environment factors. Her research involves using Cryptosporidium parvum, a water-borne intestinal parasite, to investigate how industrial animal production contributes to contamination of surface water and shellfish, especially oysters, in the Chesapeake Bay. Girouard’s research relies on a combination of direct sampling and remote-sensing satellite imagery to study the spatial and temporal variations of contaminants in a portion of the Chesapeake Bay. Genetic fingerprinting is also used to determine the source of the contamination. Girouard earned a BS in biology and biotechnology from George Mason University. Her doctoral advisor is Thaddeus Graczyk, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences.

Jay Graham, a returning CLF fellow, is studying different methods for handling poultry waste disposal and the potential for human exposure to drug-resistant bacteria and resistance genes. Graham began studying animal waste management because of the volume of waste generated by industrial animal production facilities and the lack of policies to address health concerns. Graham said he hopes his research to will have an impact on public policy both here and in developing nations, where these production systems are increasingly being adopted. Graham earned his BS degree in biology from the University of Arkansas, and MBA and MPH degrees from the University of Texas. His doctoral advisor is Ellen K. Silbergeld, PhD, a professor in Environmental Health Sciences.

Sharon Nappier, also a second-year CLF Fellow, is interested in assessing the microbes that thrive in untreated waste that winds up in surface water. Some of these pathogens can contaminate shellfish in the Chesapeake Bay. Nappier is studying how these pathogens accumulate and are cleared by both native (Chesapeake Bay) and non-native oyster species. The research will help inform Maryland officials and the commercial oyster industry of the potential impact to human health from the introduction of non-native oysters to the Chesapeake. Nappier earned her BS in biology and environmental studies from George Washington University and an MSPH from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is advised by professors Schwab and Graczyk.

Public Affairs media contacts for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Tim Parsons or Kenna Lowe at 410-955-6878 or paffairs@jhsph.edu.