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Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics


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Full-time Research StaffAdjunct FacultyAffiliate Faculty 
Olivia Carter-Pokras Olivia Carter-Pokras, Associate Professor

Epidemiology and Biostatistics

2234G SPH Bldg.


(301) 405-8037

Olivia Carter-Pokras, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in Epidemiology at the University of Maryland College Park School of Public Health (UMCP-SPH). A health disparities researcher for 3 decades in the Federal government and academia, Dr. Carter-Pokras has been recognized by the Governor of Maryland, Surgeon General, Assistant Secretary for Health, and Latino Caucus of the American Public Health Association for her career achievements to improve health care quality for Latinos, improve racial and ethnic data, and develop health policy to address health disparities. While at UMCP-SPH, she has focused her research, service and education efforts to support translation of epidemiologic research into policy and practice to improve Latino population health. Dr. Carter-Pokras is an elected fellow of the American College of Epidemiology and a member of the American Public Health Associations Education Board. She currently chairs the American College of Epidemiologys Policy Committee, and has served on the Institute of Medicines Advancing Pain Research, Care, and Education Committee. A long-time member of Montgomery Countys Latino Health Steering Committee, Dr. Carter-Pokras conducts health assessments of Latinos in Baltimore and Montgomery County in close partnership with local government and community based organizations, and has led NIH funded research projects to develop cultural competency and health literacy curricula, and address oral health of Latino and Ethiopian children and their mothers. She is the Evaluation Director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-funded Prevention Research Center at the University of Maryland. Dr. Carter-Pokras has published more than 56 peer-reviewed journal articles, and her research has played a critical role in national recognition of health disparities experienced by Latinos. Dr. Carter-Pokras lectures on chronic disease epidemiology, epidemiologic methods, cultural competency and health disparities to public health students and health professionals.


David Chae David Chae, Assistant Professor

Epidemiology and Biostatistics

2234B SPH Building


(301) 405-6425

Dr. David Chae is an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. His previous appointment was as an assistant professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. Dr. Chaes research focuses on how racism, discrimination/prejudice and dimensions of racial/ethnic identity impact health through psychological and biological processes. He received his Doctor of Science degree from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Shuo Chen Shuo Chen, Assistant Professor

Epidemiology and Biostatistics

2234M SPH Building


(301) 405-6421

Dr. Chen is an Assistant Professor of Biostatistics at School of Public Health, University of Maryland College Park. He received his Ph.D. degree in Biostatistics from Emory University in 2012, under the advising of Dr. DuBois Bowman.

His primary research interest focuses on developing statistical methods for the complex high-dimensional biomedical data including neuroimaging data and proteomics data by using tools of machine learning, Bayesian methods, and functional data analysis.

Raul Cruz-Cano Raul Cruz-Cano, Research Assistant Professor

Epidemiology and Biostatistics

2234FF SPH Building


(301) 405-0560

Dr. Cruz-Cano has a M.S. in Statistics and a Ph.D. in Computer Engineering from the University of Texas at El Paso. His research interests include Computational Statistics, Computational Intelligence and Bioinformatics.

Cher Dallal Cher Dallal, Assistant Professor

Epidemiology and Biostatistics

2234GG SPH Building


(301) 405-7065

Dr. Cher Dallal is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and comes to the School of Public Health from the National Cancer Institute where she was a Cancer Prevention Fellow. Dr. Dallals research focuses on the evaluation of lifestyle and hormonal factors as they relate to estrogen-mediated carcinogenesis of the breast, endometrium and ovary. Her research centers on the following key areas: endogenous sex steroids with an emphasis on estrogen metabolism; active and sedentary behavior, obesity, and obesity-derived hormones; and, interrelationships between hormones, obesity, physical activity, and cancer risk. In addition to exploring health behaviors, their interaction with biology and potential role in cancer prevention, Dr. Dallal is interested in understanding racial/ethnic disparities in cancer incidence and survival.

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Robert Gold Robert S. Gold, Founding SPH Dean, Professor and Chair

Epidemiology and Biostatistics

2234S SPH Bldg.


(301) 405-0271

Robert Gold is an accomplished researcher and nationally known expert in the application of technology in health education and health promotion. His publications include numerous research and evaluation articles, dozens of pieces of software for organizations such as the Addiction Research Foundation and the American Cancer Society, and commercially published software and textbooks. Dr. Gold was the founding dean of the School of Public Health, previously the chair of the Department of Behavioral and Community Health and has served as Vice President at ORC Macro.

Xin He Xin He, Assistant Professor

Epidemiology and Biostatistics

2234H SPH Building


(301) 405-2551

Xin He, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park.

Dr. He's current research focuses on longitudinal data analysis, survival analysis, nonparametric and semiparametric methods, as well as applications in clinical trials, epidemiology, and other public health related studies.

Mei-Ling Lee Mei-Ling Ting Lee, Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics; Affiliate in MIAEH

Epidemiology and Biostatistics | Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health

2234R SPH Bldg #255



Dr. Mei-Ling Ting Lee is Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and Director of the Biostatistics and Risk Assessment Center (BRAC) at the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Lee's current research is focused in the following areas: (a) Statistical Methods for Genomic and Proteomic Data; (b) Threshold Regression Models for Risk Assessments: with Applications in Cancer, Environmental Research and Occupational Exposure; (c) Rank-based Nonparametric Tests for Correlated Data: with Applications in Epidemiology and Genomics; (d) Statistical Applications in Microbiology and Pharmacokinetics;(e) Multivariate Distributional Theory and Applications.

Dr. Lee holds Fellowship status in several international statistical organizations, including the American Statistical Association, the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, and the Royal Statistical Society. She was named the Mosteller Statistician of the Year in 2005 by the American Statistical Association, Boston Chapter. Dr. Lee has published a book on "Analysis of Microarray Gene Expression Data" and co-edited two other books. Dr. Lee is the founding editor and editor-in-chief of the international journal Lifetime Data Analysis, the only international statistical journal that is specialized in modeling time-to-event data. The journal is currently publishing the nineteenth's volume.

Click here to Dr. Mei-Ling Ting Lee's research webpage

Sunmin Lee Sunmin Lee, Associate Professor

Epidemiology and Biostatistics

2234C SPH Bldg.


(301) 405-7251

Dr. Sunmin Lee is a social epidemiologist with a main research interest in social determinants of health. She has expertise in health disparities, quantitative and qualitative research methods, community-based participatory research (CBPR), and cancer prevention and survivorship among Asian Americans.

Currently, she has three research projects: (1) Behavioral Intervention to Reduce Breast Cancer Disparity among Underserved Koreans (NCI/NIH); (2) Understanding Colorectal Cancer Screening among Chinese and Korean Americans (CDC); and (3) Lay Health Worker Model to Reduce Liver Cancer Disparities (NCI/NIH).

Dr. Sunmin Lee's homepage

Hongjie Liu Hongjie Liu, Associate Professor

Epidemiology and Biostatistics

2234A SPH Building


(301) 405-3102

Dr. Liu is associate professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatisitcs, School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park. He graduated from UCLA School of Public Health in 2002, with a doctoral degree in Epidemiology.

His research focuses on social and behavioral aspects of HIV/AIDS and research methodology. In the past five years, his research projects mainly covered egocentric social and risk networks for HIV infection, sexual risks, non-injection and injection drug use, stigma, survey methodology (e.g., respondent-driven sampling), and advanced analytical techniques (structural equation modeling, actor-partner interdependent modeling, and psychometric analysis). Findings from his research have generated significant impacts as the identification of multi-faceted factors for HIV infection is highly likely to provide new targets for preventive interventions.

Dr. Liu has been actively and productively involved in research activities. Since 1997, he has participated, as a PI, Co-PI, or consultant, in 13 HIV-related studies in China and 6 studies in the United States. He has continuously received research funding from NIH (as PI on R03, R21, and R01 grants), the Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR), the International Society for Infectious Diseases (ISID), the UCLA AIDS Institute, and other agencies. So far, Dr. Liu has authored a total of 66 peer-reviewed papers, including 47 publications (h-index: 18) in English journals and 19 in Chinese journals.

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Donald Milton Donald Milton, Professor and Director (MIAEH) & Professor, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, & Affiliate Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics, and the Maryland Pathogen Research Institute

Epidemiology and Biostatistics | Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health

2234V -- SPH Bldg #255


(301) 405-0389

Dr. Milton earned a BS in Chemistry from the University of Maryland Baltimore County (Cum Laude), an MD from Johns Hopkins University and a DrPH (Environmental Health) from Harvard University. He trained in medicine at Emory and Boston Universities and Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Harvard. He previously served on the faculties of the Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health and the Department of Work Environment, University of Massachusetts Lowell School of Health and Environment. He is currently Professor and Director of the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health, University of Maryland School of Public Health, College Park, MD, Affiliate Professor of Medicine, University of Maryland, Adjunct Senior Lecturer on Occupational and Environmental Health at Harvard School of Public Health and Honorary Professor, Department of Community Medicine, University of Hong Kong. He is board certified in internal and occupational medicine and has 20 years of experience in occupational medicine referral practice. He teaches courses on environmental and occupational hygiene, aerobiology, toxicology, indoor air quality, respiratory epidemiology, physiology, pathology, pathophysiology. Dr. Milton is a past chair of the ACGIH Bioaerosols committee and a member of the committee since 1988. He a member of the editorial boards of Applied Environmental Microbiology, Indoor Air, and BMC Public Health. He is a recipient of the Lloyd Hyde Research Award of Emory University, the Harriet Hardy Award from the New England College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, and was elected a Fellow of the International Society for Indoor Air Quality and Climate in 2008.

Dr. Milton leads multidisciplinary investigations of the health effects of bioaerosols with three major themes: 1) the relationship of asthma onset and exacerbation to exposure to allergens and microbial products, 2) investigation and prevention of airborne infection transmission, and 3) exhaled breath analysis. His asthma research includes studies of occupational asthma and the impact of ambient bioaerosols on asthma exacerbation, especially the impact of low level, early life endotoxin exposure on the risk of childhood allergy and asthma. His research on mechanisms and prevention of airborne infection transmission includes productivity effects of rhinovirus colds in office workers and asthmatic children, mathematical models, and laboratory and epidemiological studies of control methods for influenza and agents of biological warfare and terrorism. Exhaled breath analysis is a unifying theme with ongoing work on exhaled gas and particle phase biomarkers for lung inflammation and studies of exhaled particles as the vehicle of airborne communicable disease transmission.

Click here to learn about the Got Flu? study and to join the 2012-13 influenza surveillance program.

Click here to see Dr. Milton's recent presentation on mechanisms of transmission of swine flu, given at the Institute of Medicine August 12, 2009.

Dr. Milton's Lab Webpage

Typhanye Penniman Dyer Typhanye Penniman Dyer, Research Assistant Professor

Epidemiology and Biostatistics

2234FF SPH Building


(301) 405-8547

Dr. Penniman Dyer's research is in HIV/AIDS disparities, women's health, and substance use with an emphasis in social, psychological, and cultural determinants of racial/ethnic and gender disparities among marginalized populations, as well as their families. Her research in HIV/AIDS also examines substance use, mental health and sexual risk among Black men who have sex with men and women (MSMW), and how sex and drug risk networks of MSMW translates into risk for their female partners. Additionally, Dr. Penniman Dyer's research involves the examination of risk for females with high risk male sex partners and partners who have been incarcerated.

Dr. Penniman Dyer's research takes an interdisciplinary approach involving social epidemiology, health services research and community based research and has positioned her to expound upon findings from her research, which indicate a need for larger scale, population based studies that examine large networks, and subsequently to the development of policy aimed at reducing the burden of HIV for women and disenfranchised populations.

Dr. Penniman Dyer received her B.A. in Psychology from UCLA, her MPH from California State University, Long Beach and her PhD from the UCLA School of Public Health in Community Health Sciences. During her graduate studies, her work integrated social epidemiology, health services research, and community-based research to contribute to policy, interventions, and evidence-based practice.

The second aspect of her research was developed as a post-doctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins and involves the social context of drug and sexual risk behaviors. These studies have included an examination of the influence of concurrent sex and substance use networks on women's risk for infectious disease. Currently, Dr. Penniman Dyer is working on three studies as an HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) Scholar, examining men who have sex with men (MSM) and men who have sex with men and women (MSMW) with respect to substance use, homophobia and mental health factors that increase risk.

This work will inform research, for which Dr. Penniman Dyer was recently awarded seed funding, that will explore risk perceptions and risk attributions for female partners of MSMW who have varied and often, concurrent sex and drug networks of unknown risk, which affects population health risks.

Currently, Dr. Penniman Dyer is on the research faculty within the department, working on several projects on mental health, and social and economic factors in HIV risk for Black men and women.

Robin Puett Robin Puett, Assistant Professor MIAEH and Assistant Professor Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Epidemiology and Biostatistics | Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health

2234EE -- SPH Bldg #255


(301) 405-5610

Dr. Robin Puett was awarded an MPH in Behavioral Sciences from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University and doctorates in Epidemiology and Environmental Health Sciences by the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina. She completed post-doctoral training with the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard School of Public Health and comes to MIAEH from the faculty of the University of South Carolina. Her research and teaching interests are in the areas of environmental and spatial exposure assessment and epidemiology. More specifically, much of her research has explored the relationship of ambient air pollution exposures with chronic disease (i.e. cardiovascular disease and diabetes) and mortality. Ongoing and future research in this area is targeted to examine additional health outcomes (e.g. cognitive impacts and breast cancer), the biological pathways involved, and important potential modifiers of these relationships, such as diet and physical activity. Her spatial exposure assessment, epidemiology and statistics work examines neighborhood contextual and built environment factors associated with physical activity, obesity, and chronic diseases. Health disparities is a cross-cutting issue addressed in her spatial and environmental research and teaching programs.

Brit Saksvig Brit I. Saksvig, Research Assistant Professor

Epidemiology and Biostatistics

2234N SPH Bldg.


(301) 405-2491

Brit I. Saksvig, Ph.D., M.H.S. is a Research Assistant Professor. Dr. Saksvig received her masters and doctorate degrees from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her research interests focus on dietary and physical activity behaviors and their association with the prevention of chronic disease. Dr. Saksvig's primary interest is in developing and evaluating school and community-based interventions for children and adolescents.

Dr. Saksvig is the MPH Internship Coordinator and Graduate Director for the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

Amir Sapkota Amir Sapkota, Assistant Professor MIAEH & Assistant Professor Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Epidemiology and Biostatistics | Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health

2234F -- SPH Bldg #255


(301) 405-8716

Dr. Amir Sapkota holds a joint appointment at the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health and the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Dr. Sapkota received his PhD in Environmental Health Sciences from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and his BS in Chemistry from Clark University. He joins the growing number of faculty at UMCP after successfully completing post-doctoral work at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon, France.

Understanding exposures that occur among individuals and identifying markers of cellular responses that can predict the development of future diseases enables public health practitioners to identify specific subpopulations at risk, who subsequently can be targeted with proper interventions to prevent such disease occurrence. Within this framework, Dr. Sapkota's primary research interests lie in the area of exposure assessment and environmental epidemiology. He is interested in utilizing personal air measurements, as well as urinary and serum biomarkers to understand the risk of diseases associated with exposures to various air pollutants such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), in the environment and at the workplace. At UMCP, Dr. Sapkota will work on a range of topics including the inner city environment and asthma; impacts of traffic on community air pollution; and indoor air pollution from solid fuel usage in developing countries and risk of lung cancer, to name a few.

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Amy Sapkota Amy R Sapkota, Associate Professor MIAEH and Associate Professor in Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Epidemiology and Biostatistics | Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health

2234P -- SPH Bldg #255


(301) 405-1772

Dr. Amy R. Sapkota has a joint appointment with the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health and the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. She received a PhD in Environmental Health Sciences from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, an MPH in Environmental Health Sciences from the Yale School of Public Health and a BS in Biology from the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Sapkota also holds a Certificate in Risk Sciences and Public Policy, and completed post-doctoral fellowships at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Environmental Microbial Genomics Group within Le Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Lyon, France.

Dr. Sapkota's research interests lie in the areas of environmental microbiology, exposure assessment and environmental epidemiology, with a focus on evaluating the complex relationships between the environment, food and water production systems, and human infectious diseases. Current research projects include: 1) evaluating changes in bacterial antibiotic resistance as large-scale poultry farms transition to organic practices; 2) investigating the prevalence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in tertiary-treated wastewater used for spray irrigation; 3) evaluating environmental and socioeconomic disparities in the risk of food and waterborne illness; and 4) utilizing next-generation sequencing methods to identify the bacterial communities present in cigarettes, smokeless tobacco products and environmental tobacco smoke. Other areas of interest include the human health impacts associated with exposures to bacterial pathogens prevalent in the Chesapeake Bay.

Paul Turner Paul Turner, Assistant Professor MIAEH and Assistant Professor Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Epidemiology and Biostatistics | Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health

Room 2234J


(301) 405-6583

Dr Paul C Turner is a new tenure track faculty within the Maryland Institute for Applied and Environmental Health; having recently left the Molecular Epidemiology Unit, University of Leeds, UK. Dr Turner obtained his PhD in Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh, UK, and his undergraduate BSc with honors in Biochemistry and Toxicology at the University of Surrey, UK. He was also a visiting scientist at Johns Hopkins University in 2003 and 2005.

Dr Turner's research interests include understanding (1) the role of fungal toxins (mycotoxins) in chronic disease etiology, (2) establishing intervention strategies to restrict such exposures. Mycotoxins, which include the Aspergillus toxins aflatoxin and ochratoxin A, and the Fusarium toxins deoxynivalenol and fumonisin, contaminate up to 25% of the world's food supply. They are suspected agents in both acute and chronic disease. Aflatoxins are potent liver toxins and carcinogens, and are additionally suspected to cause growth faltering and immune-suppression. Four billion people are estimated to live in regions that are at risk of dietary exposure to aflatoxin. Fundamental research question include (a) understanding synergistic interactions between aflatoxin and hepatitis virus in liver cancer risk; (b) understanding the mechanism(s) of observational data on dose related aflatoxin growth faltering; (c) understanding the potential contribution that aflatoxin plays in early life morbidity and mortality in developing countries, including modulations in susceptibility to infections; (d) development and implementation of sustainable interventions to restrict exposure in the most vulnerable groups; (e) understanding of global climate change models and their impact on changing world patterns and levels of toxin exposure.

Fusarium mycotoxins have been implicated in esophageal cancer, though their potential role remains poorly explored. Deoxynivalenol, also known as vomitoxin, modulates the immune system and is associated with growth faltering in animals. Fumonsins have been linked to neural tube defects, and are a suspected co-risk factor in aflatoxin driven liver cancer. The recent development of an exposure biomarker for DON and a strong candidate for fumonisin provides the opportunity to better understand their potential role in human chronic disease, and better inform intervention strategies.

Sacoby Wilson Sacoby Wilson, Assistant Professor MIAEH & Assistant Professor Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Epidemiology and Biostatistics | Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health

2234D -- SPH Bldg #255


(301) 405-3136

Dr. Wilson's research focuses on environmental justice, environmental health, environmental health disparities, built environment, air pollution monitoring, including the use of passive samplers and semi-continuous monitors, community-based participatory research (CBPR) and community-owned and managed research (COMR). He trained in secondary data analysis, advanced geographic information systems and spatial methods, and other quantitative and qualitative approaches. He has extensive experience performing monitoring of air pollution in neighborhoods located near industrial hog operations and the use of spatiotemporal mapping for human exposure assessment. Dr. Wilson received his PhD and MS degree in environmental health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a two-time EPA STAR fellow, Senior Fellow in the Environmental Leadership Program, and past Chair of the Environment Section of the American Public Health Association.

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Adjunct Faculty

Affiliate Faculty

Edmond Shenassa Edmond Shenassa, Associate Professor, Director of Maternal and Child Health; Affiliate in Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Epidemiology and Biostatistics | Family Science

1142GG SPH Bldg.


(301) 405-3658

Shenassa's research is primarily focused on families' mental and physical well-being with an emphasis on two general areas: the developmental consequences of prenatal and perinatal exposure to toxins and social disparities in health with a focus on the role of housing and other built environments. As an epidemiologist, Shenassa's work is informed by the fields of sociology and psychology and aims to address questions that can improve public health interventions or shape policy and regulation. His focus on the built environment, particularly housing conditions, is motivated by the potential to reduce health disparities through existing local and federal housing policies.

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