Shawn G. Gibbs, Ph.D., CIH
Associate Professor and Director
E-mail: sgibbs@unmc.edu

Research Interests: The laboratory studies exposure assessment and industrial hygiene, focusing on environmental microbiology. This includes source evaluation, source tracking, and methods to reduce exposure.  This includes current studies related toward methods to reduce hospital acquired infections from a performance improvement standpoint and the development of new techniques.  Studies focused on the evaluation of bioaerosols and their roles in disease transmission.  Additionally, the laboratory has been conducting research on the use of gaseous compounds to decontaminate surfaces, rooms, vehicles, and other items.  The laboratory is also a practicing industrial hygiene laboratory that is actively involved in health hazard and indoor air quality investigations. 

For more information on Dr. Gibbs: Web Site

Alan S. Kolok, Ph.D.
Professor and Interim Director
Center for Environmental Health and Toxicology
E-mail: akolok@unomaha.edu

Research Interests:  The Aquatic Toxicology Laboratory is primarily interested in relationships between land use, contaminants in surface waters and the impact that those contaminants have on environmental sentinel organisms, primarily fish and frogs. Molecular techniques are used to evaluate the degree to which the sentinel organisms are influenced by the contaminants that they are exposed to, and innovative technologies have been developed to expose the organisms to natural waters in a secure and controllable environment. Inferences from the chemical and biological data are informative relative to the environmental health of the waterway. Current projects focus primarily on agrichemicals in Midwestern waterways.

For more information on Dr. Kolok: Web Site  or information on Center for Environmental Health and Toxicology: Web Site

Eleanor G. Rogan, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair
Department of Environmental, Agricultural and Occupational Health

Research Interests: My research centers around elucidating mechanisms of activation of carcinogens, identifying carcinogen-DNA adducts, and correlating adducts with oncogenic mutations. From our previous study of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) metabolism and DNA adducts, we have demonstrated that the predominant adducts are lost by depurination, leaving mutagenic apurinic sites in the DNA. This research involved identification and quantitation of PAH-DNA adducts and correlation of the adducts with Harvey-ras mutations in mouse skin papillomas induced by the PAH. We have extended our studies to endogenous catechol estrogen metabolites and found that the carcinogenic metabolites form depurinating N3Ade and N7Gua adducts in DNA. We hypothesize that this is the pathway of initiation for human breast, prostate and other cancers. Studies in test tubes, laboratory animal models, cell culture models and human subjects have demonstrated the validity of this hypothesis. Now we are working on the early detection of cancer risk by analyzing estrogen metabolites, conjugates and DNA adducts in urine or serum samples, as well as prevention of cancer by selected natural compounds.

For more information on Dr. Rogan: Web Site

Nick Stergiou, Ph.D.
Isaacson Chair and Director Nebraska Biomechanics core Facility
E-mail: nstergiou@unomaha.edu

Research Interests: This laboratory studies works to understand the underlying variations in human movement. Although my laboratory is the Center for Biomechanical Research for the State of Nebraska, our research focuses on discovering and understanding underlying mechanisms to movement. We also have several ongoing studies investigating the efficacy of treatment and rehabilitation in pathological populations, e.g. cerebral palsy, peripheral arterial disease, stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Our work in this area is beginning to transform how clinicians approach physical therapy, treatment decisions and even how functional outcomes are measured. We are a laboratory of almost 30 individuals, from undergraduates to senior faculty. We are comprised of individuals from varying backgrounds such as engineering, exercise science, physics and computer science. Many of our interns work with an ongoing project or develop their own smaller project that can be completed over the summer.

For more information on Dr. Stergiou: Web Site

Todd Wyatt, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
E-mail: twyatt@unmc.edu

Research Interests:  The first line of defense against inhaled particles, toxins, and pathogens is the layer of epithelial cells that line the lungs. These cells form hair-like cilia that are continually beating in a whip-like manner to clear mucus-trapped particles out of the airways. Any injury that slows or inhibits this ciliary beating can result in the growth of bacteria or viruses and the increase in lung inflammation. Alcoholics experience a higher incidence of severe lung infections. Some studies suggest that nearly all alcoholics smoke cigarettes and approximately half of all smokers are heavy drinkers. Our research centers on studying the effects of the combination of cigarette smoke and alcohol on various lung functions. We primarily base our studies on the cellular, biochemical, and molecular biology of the ciliated airway epithelial cells in an attempt to understand how cilia motion is regulated by alcohol, cigarette smoke and their metabolites.

For more information on Dr. Wyatt: Web Site

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