BEBTEH Trainees

Current Pre-doctoral Trainees

Nancy Carmona, DEOHS

     Nancy Carmona is a doctoral student in the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences. Her research interests include community-engaged research, environmental health education, environmental justice, air pollution modeling and environmental epidemiology. Before starting at the University of Washington, Nancy received BS in Environmental Toxicology from the University of California, Davis, and an MPH in Community Health Education from San Francisco State University. During her time at UW, Nancy has worked on a wide range of research projects. Nancy is working with Dr. Lianne Sheppard investigating if there is an association between fine particulate matter exposure and cognition in older adults. Nancy is also working with Dr. Elena Austin on the Healthy Air, Healthy Schools project, a study measuring and identifying sources of ultra-fine particles in schools and the impacts of portable air cleaners on improving indoor air quality. Nancy has also worked with Dr. Vanessa Galaviz to develop the Community Air Monitoring Study in Puget Sound (CAMPS) a community-engaged air monitoring project in Puget Sound where we monitored air pollution throughout communities impacted by traffic related air pollution. Outside of her research, Nancy enjoys being a coordinator for the DEOHS "coders group" where she has the opportunity to hosts weekly meetings on coding and data analysis topics and train new DEOHS students on R.

Annie Doubleday, DEOHS

     Annie Doubleday is a second-year doctoral student in DEOHS. Her research interests include novel methods of exposure assessment of ambient air pollution, environmental epidemiology, and health impacts from wildfire smoke events. Her prior research during her master’s degree focused on health impacts associated with wildfire smoke exposure in Washington State in addition to research on health impacts of extreme events. She enjoys collaborating with non-academic partners with the hope of helping to inform messaging and resource allocation.

Anand Hemmady, Biostatistics

     I am a second year PhD student in the Department of Biostatistics, advised by Marco Carone. I am interested in causal inference in semiparametric and nonparametric problems and am currently thinking about how to do causal inference in the context of continuous exposures with measurement error. This problem was inspired by challenges arising during air pollution studies. Prior to starting at the University of Washington, I received a BA in mathematics from Williams College in 2017. After graduating, I worked as a Research Data Analyst at UCSF’s Global Health Sciences and then as a math and physics teacher at a high school.

Michael Hussey, Epidemiology

     Michael Hussey is a third year PhD student in the Epidemiology department at UW.  A graduate of Emory University, Michael earned his MSPH in Epidemiology and Environmental Health in spring 2018 and spent the following year working as an ORISE Fellow for the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) in Atlanta, GA, prior to beginning study at UW.  Before joining BEBTEH in winter 2020, Michael began work with the ECHO PATHWAYS research group, a multicenter collaboration between UW, Seattle Children’s Hospital and researchers at other US universities focusing on prenatal exposures, omics and early life child health outcomes.   Presently, he is has begun work on his dissertation, which focuses on the relationship between maternal exposures and health, placental transcriptomics and epigenomics, and how these prenatal factors impact birth weight.  This work involves two cohorts out of ECHO PATHWAYS as well as the Fetal Growth Studies cohort maintained by NICHD.

Amber Khan, DEOHS

     Amber Kahn is a third year PhD student in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, and her primary advisor is Dr. Nicole Errett. Using mixed methods, her dissertation research focuses on disaster policy implementation among Public Housing Authorities to ultimately improve health and well-being outcomes among low-income housing residents. Her other research interests include climate adaptation among coastal and urban communities, hospital disaster security, and community-oriented housing solutions for long-term recovery. She earned her MPH from the University of California, Berkeley in environmental epidemiology focusing on environmental justice issues, such as refinery pollution in the Bay Area, and climate and health co-benefits. 

Victoria Knutson, Biostatistics

     I am a second year PhD student in the Department of Biostatistics at the University of Washington. I grew up in Minnesota and received my BA from St. Olaf College, where I studied mathematics and statistics. I am open to many research areas but am currently interested in spatial statistics and methodologies with applications in air pollution, and environmental health in general. I work as a research assistant within Dr. Joel Kaufman’s research group, working with air pollution related data and national spatiotemporal modeling. I am also interested in population health metrics and modeling with various patterns of missing data and incorporating proper uncertainty from different sources of data. Interest in these areas have been sparked by my current work in COVID excess mortality estimation.

Claire Leiser, Epidemiology

     I am a third year PhD student in the Epidemiology Department. Prior to coming to the UW, I completed my MS at the University of Utah and spent time as a Research Analyst at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City, UT. My work has focused on understanding how environmental influences affect health throughout the life course. Areas of research include:

  1. The effects of air pollutants on health in utero and health outcomes later in life.
  2. Investigating the spatial and temporal patterns of multi-site cancer risk at the neighborhood level.
  3. Understanding the contributions of the environment to genetic influences on disease.

Sarah Philo, DEOHS

     Sarah Philo is a fourth year PhD student in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences. She is working with Dr. Scott Meschke in the Environmental and Occupational Health Microbiology Lab. Her dissertation research to this point has focused on method development and optimization for SARS-CoV-2 wastewater surveillance in the Seattle-area. Current and future dissertation research will take the skills learned with SARS-CoV-2 surveillance to study antimicrobial resistance in the Seattle and Lisbon, Portugal waste waters. She is completing her research in Lisbon in AY 2021-22 as the recipient of a US Fulbright Student Research award.

Ashley Tseng, Epidemiology

     Ashley Tseng is a second-year PhD Student in the Department of Epidemiology interested in infectious disease epidemiology and epidemic preparedness from a One Health approach utilizing biostatistics and bioinformatics applications. Working with Dr. Peter Rabinowitz, she is characterizing the diversity of Escherichia coli isolates from animal and environmental sources and the co-occurrence of heavy metal resistance genes and antibiotic resistance genes in the Salish Sea region. Prior to UW, Ashley studied Health Geography and Economics at McGill University and completed a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology and Applied Biostatistics at Columbia University. Outside of classes and research, she enjoys experimenting with new recipes and outdoor activities including running and tennis.

Hiwot Zewdie, Epidemiology

     Hiwot Zewdie is a first-year doctoral student in the department of Epidemiology. Her current research interests include exploring social and built environment determinants to chronic disease outcomes, particularly in urban contexts globally. Hiwot is currently working with Dr. Anjum Hajat, examining the role of racial residential segregation and neighborhood socioeconomic status on the air-pollution-CVD pathway, and Dr. Stephen Mooney, to derive nationally representative neighborhood typologies for the US. Prior to coming to UW, she received an MSc in Global Health and a certificate in Geospatial Analysis from Duke University. Her master's thesis examined satellite-derived greenspace exposure and depression symptomology among young adults in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. For fun, Hiwot enjoys baking, puzzling, and getting lost.

Current Post-Doctoral Trainees

Savannah D’Evelyn, DEOHS

     Savannah D'Evelyn began as a BEBTEH trainee in the summer of 2020 after she completed her PhD in Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology at the University of California, Davis. Her dissertation work, a Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) project on climate-driven air pollution toxicology, motivated a shift in her interests from focusing on the molecular mechanism of disease, to translating research to practice and understanding how the environment affects communities as a whole. Understanding the impact of environmental change on human health has been a theme throughout her educational and research career. At the UW, this work has centered on the health impacts of wildfire smoke, which is an increasingly problematic, though poorly understood, climate change impact affecting Western North America. Savannah’s main postdoctoral work is a collaborative project that aims to work across the disciplines of forestry, climate, air quality and health to address the climate crisis of increasingly frequent and severe wildfires. This project evaluated the health implications of smoke from both wild and prescribed fires and also described the health implications of specific policies and practices related to forest and fire management. During her postdoc, Savannah also wrote and received two pilot grants aimed at understanding the impacts of smoke on underserved communities. One of these grants is working in collaboration with the UW School of Environmental and Forest Sciences to describe risk communication around smoke exposure from both wildfire and prescribed fire in rural and tribal communities. The other grant is a CBPR project funded by the Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center, working to understand how wildfire season and the pressure of balancing work, childcare and worries about children’s exposure to smoke impact farmworker parent’s wellbeing in Okanogan and Wenatchee. The compilation of Savannah’s research experience has shaped her work into the interdisciplinary research themes of youth-focused CBPR, air pollution exposure, and climate adaptation.  

 John Flunker, DEOHS

     Dr. Flunker completed his PhD in environmental and occupational epidemiology at the University of Kentucky in 2021. He specializes in occupational and residential exposure assessment, exposure-outcome modeling, and promoting the health of vulnerable populations. Working in a multi-disciplinary and stakeholder-engaged context, Dr. Flunker has examined factors related to adverse health outcomes and implemented evidence-based workplace interventions among Latino thoroughbred horse farm workers, elucidated the relationship between resource extraction particulate exposures and respiratory health experienced by residents of rural Appalachia Kentucky, and co-led a Maryland casino worker occupational safety research feasibility study designed to explore under-reported industry hazards. His past research support includes two studies funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (CDC-NIOSH) where Dr. Flunker served the role of co-investigator. He was also the principal investigator of two pilot studies funded by the University of Kentucky CDC-NIOSH Educational Research Center and the Southeast Center for Agricultural Health and Injury Prevention. As a BEBTEH post-doctoral fellow Dr. Flunker continues his research in occupational and environmental epidemiology, focusing primarily on agricultural worker heat and particulate exposures, yet broadens his research diversity, expertise, and impact via academic and industry stakeholder collaborations, policy-informing research, and small-scale region-specific occupational epidemiology studies. Dr. Flunker serves as a mentor for the Supporting Undergraduate Research Experiences in Environmental Health (SURE-EH) program and collaborates with the Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center.

Marnie Hazlehurst, DEOHS

     I completed my PhD in Epidemiology at the University of Washington in June 2021. My research interests include the effects of air pollution and green space on pediatric health, as well as methods to examine exposure mixtures. My doctoral dissertation examined associations between green space and behavioral and mental health in early childhood. As a BEBTEH postdoctoral scholar, I will be working on the ECHO-PATHWAYS study, a multi-site consortium across six US cities focused on prenatal and early life environmental exposures and child health. Within this context, I will investigate relationships between pre- and postnatal air pollution exposures and child airway health outcomes.

Sindana Ilango, Epidemiology

     Sindana Ilango is interested in studying the effects of climate and the neighborhood environment on health among older adults. Her doctoral dissertation examined different methodological challenges in studies of air pollution and dementia and cognitive function. Her research priorities for her postdoctoral fellowship include understanding social and biological pathways through which air pollution may impact cognitive outcomes and examining the impact of extreme weather events on aging-related outcomes. To address these research topics, she will leverage publicly available data to measure social factors and methods for causal inference in observational studies.

     Sindana received her PhD in Epidemiology jointly from San Diego State University and University of California San Diego, MPH in Epidemiology from the University of California Los Angeles, and BA from the University of California Berkeley.