Michael Yost named new Chair of the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences

Michael Yost named new Chair of the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences

Dean Howard Frumkin named Professor Michael Yost the new Chair of the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences (DEOHS), effective August 18, 2014. Professor Yost will succeed Professor David Kalman, who has been Chair of DEOHS for 16 years. As Chair, Yost will be responsible for the department's educational, administrative, and financial affairs.

"He brings vision for the field of environmental health, a deep commitment to the department and to our school, clear ideas of how to bring people together to move the department forward, and a great sense of humor. He will be a wonderful Chair," said Dean Frumkin.

A member of the DEOHS faculty since 1993, Yost progressed from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor and, since 2003, Professor. From 1997-2012, he directed DEOHS's Exposure Science Program. Since 2012, he has served as Associate Chair of the department. He was named outstanding graduate mentor by DEOHS students in 2010 and 2013.

Yost received his PhD in Environmental Health Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley. His research focuses on developing novel tools for environmental and occupational exposure assessment. He holds eight patents on products and processes.

His Optical Remote Sensing (ORS) Laboratory invents sampling techniques using electromagnetic radiation such as ultraviolet, visible, and infrared light, or lasers, to identify and measure environmental pollution directly in the environment. The technology has been applied to monitor pollution from car, train, and marine traffic, to measure pesticide drift, and also to detect hazardous and concealed materials. His interests, however, extend beyond exposure assessment. He has made important contributions in such areas as impacts of climate change and nanotechnology on human health.

"This is an exciting time in environmental health research," said Yost. "We have moved beyond addressing individual hazards to take a more systems-level approach. This approach provides a more integrated view of how environmental agents impact human health and gives us a greater array of solutions. It allows us to combine fundamental research, exposure science, and translational science to prevent adverse health consequences from environmental exposures. I believe DEOHS—with its multidisciplinary faculty—is well positioned to develop effective educational and policy tools to address some of the bigger challenges, such as environmental change, workplace illness and injuries, global workplace health disparities, the aging workforce, obesity and nutrition, and improving our built environment."

Says outgoing Chair David Kalman, "I am personally, as well as on behalf of our department, very gratified by this outcome to our highly competitive national search. Some of the outstanding leaders in our field were considered as candidates, and Mike Yost clearly belongs in that group. Mike has shown outstanding creativity and sustained accomplishment in a variety of project areas. He is truly a renaissance man in working across the range of topics and approaches within environmental health."

Kalman, who will resume his faculty role in DEOHS, adds, "His leadership, both scientific and organizational, has been outstanding. Mike chaired the School's Faculty Council during a transitional period and has a strong record of collegiality and innovation. I look forward to DEOHS achieving even greater success in the coming years under his leadership."