Training Grants


NYU/NIEHS Training Grant in Environmental Toxicology

The NYU/NIEHS training program in Environmental Toxicology program is housed in the Department of Environmental Medicine.  This NIEHS grant funding supports (4) predoctoral students. The major research goals of the Department of Environmental Medicine are to study environmental factors that impinge upon human disease and to develop methods for the detection, prevention, and control of environmentally-related disorders.  The problems of environmental health are complex and require interdisciplinary approaches from the molecular, cellular, whole organism, and even population levels.  To facilitate these essential multidisciplinary mechanistic investigations, the Department has integrated the efforts of established scientists and resources from the New York University School of Medicine, the New York University community at large, and the Inter-University Doctoral Consortium in the New York Metropolitan area. Trainees are fully supported with a stipend and receive supplemental support for research and travel. This opportunity is a major advantage of the training program at NYU School of Medicine's Department of Environmental Medicine.

Research Tracks:  The Training Program in Environmental Toxicology encompasses research in Pulmonary Toxicology and Molecular Toxicology


Pulmonary Toxicology

Beginning with the pioneering work of Professor Sidney Laskin, the Department has developed an international reputation for outstanding accomplishments in the area of pulmonary (inhalation) toxicology, and this record of excellence currently continues.
Inhalation is a primary route of exposure for many environmental contaminants.  The fact that pulmonary (or systemic) disease can be caused by inhaled environmental agents has been known for centuries.  Increasing concern over the role of both outdoor and indoor air environments in disease etiology has resulted in rapid growth of the field of respiratory toxicology and in turn an demand for well-trained inhalation toxicology investigators who can apply state-of-the-art exposure methodology and concepts to solving real-world problems of public and environmental health.

Sample Research Topics

  • Investigating toxicological mechanisms behind human morbidity and mortality associated with exposure to ambient particulate matter
  • Mechanistic studies on the modulatory roles of gender, age, and genetic susceptibility in the adverse health effects of environmental and occupational agents
  • Understanding the factors contributing to the adverse cardiopulmonary effects of cigarettes and alternative tobacco products


Exposure Assessment and Human Health

The Exposure Assessment and Human Health training track focuses on the scientific basis for the anticipation, identification, evaluation, and control of and health effects from human exposures to environmental pollutants. Many research projects are epidemiology-based and aimed at identification of those factors that play significant roles in the causation and/or exacerbation of disease associated with inhalation exposure to air contaminants in both occupational and general community settings. Trainees can be involved in inter-disciplinary studies that range from the design of strategies for the evaluation and measurement of exposure and the development of new methods for measuring the air concentrations of toxic agents, to experiments and theoretical modeling to evaluate the dose that people receive when they inhale airborne toxicants, to field studies (e.g., NYC subways and food carts) and epidemiological analyses of exposure response relationships in natural populations (e.g., the AARP senior population). Thus, this track is at the intersection of human health and toxicology and provides translational research opportunities across a wide range of environmental considerations, including air pollution, cardiac effects, diet, genetics, and alternative tobacco products.


Molecular Toxicology

The Department of Environmental Medicine has been a leader in the area of environmental toxicology from the
pioneering investigations with phorbol esters, to current studies on mechanisms of metal toxicity and carcinogenicity and chemoprevention. 

Molecular Toxicology deals with the interaction of chemical agents with genetic material, receptors, signal
transduction pathways, cell cycle controls, transcription control, epigenetics and the identification of genes conferring resistance or sensitivity towards environmental agents.  A significant amount of research involves environmental carcinogenesis.  Research efforts in Molecular Toxicology draws from diverse scientific disciplines such as organic chemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, and experimental pathology.  The Environmental Toxicology Training Program provides trainees with the resources and specialized skills needed to
address these areas of concern.

Research Areas

  • Toxicology and carcinogenicity of metals, especially related to the biochemistry of
    metal-mediated active oxygen species and their biological effects
  • Chemistry of DNA-carcinogen interactions
  • Molecular mechanisms of gene activation and alteration
  • Epigenetics
  • Biological parameters of tumor progression
  • Molecular basis for resistance to environmental agents
  • Effects of hormones on gene expression and carcinogenicity
  • Cell cycle control
  • Signal transduction pathways
  • Chemoprevention


Predoctoral Training:

Graduate training is primarily directed towards earning a Ph.D. degree in Environmental Health Sciences,
although programs leading towards a master's degree are also offered.  During the time of Training Grant support, emphasis will be placed on class work and an in-depth laboratory experience where trainees will learn to apply modern technology to mechanistically-oriented, hypothesis-driven questions important in molecular and inhalation toxicology.  Trainees will benefit from the vigorous and diverse research programs ongoing in the Department of Environmental Medicine and other research units at NYU.


How to Apply

Prospective trainees should apply to, and enroll directly in, the Environmental Health Sciences Graduate



The courses for NIEHS funded predoctoral trainees will be the same as for other students enrolled in the
Department of Environmental Medicine's training program.  However, students can also take courses in other departments and schools, such as Biology, Chemistry, Basic Medical Sciences, NYU School of Law, Stern School of Business, and Wagner School of Public Administration.  This is especially beneficial in cases where student research is carried out on an aspect of environmental health science that is collaborative with other disciplines.



During the 2019/20 academic year, predoctoral trainees received an annual stipend of $33,000. 



Tuition is waived for predoctoral trainees.


Duration of Support

This NIEHS Training Grant supports each predoctoral candidate for 2 years.  Although a predoctoral trainee requires more than the proposed amount of time for completion of training, support from the NIEHS Training Grant is critical during the first two years when most of the formal coursework is taken and trainees are performing laboratory rotations and selecting a Mentor.



The candidate must be a US citizen or have a Green Card. 


Program Faculty: Descriptions of mentors' research programs are briefly listed here.

Jiyoung Ahn, Associate Professor; Director, Microbiomic and Genetic Epidemiologic Lab. Ph.D. 2005 (Nutritional Epi and Molecular Tox), Cornell U; M.S. 2000 (Biochemistry).
Research interests: Nutrition and molecular epidemiology of chronic disease.

Lung Chi Chen, Professor; Director, NYU/NIEHS Inhalation Exposure Facility. Ph.D. 1983 (Environmental Health) NYU; M.S. 1978 (Environmental Health) NYU.
Research interests: Inhalation toxicology; exposure-response relationships; cardiopulmonary effects of air pollution.

Max Costa, Professor; Chair, Department of Environmental Medicine. Ph.D. 1976 (Pharmacology major, Biochemistry minor) University of Arizona.
Research interests: Air pollution epidemiology, environmental health policy, and sustainability education.

Kevin Cromar, Assistant Professor. Ph.D. 2012 (Environmental Health) NYU; M.S. 2010 (Environmental Health) NYU.
Research interests: Metal carcinogenesis and toxicology; DNA-protein interactions; DNA damage; histone modifications and epigenetic mechanism of carcinogenesis.

Suresh Cuddapah, Associate Professor. Ph.D. 2000 (Biotechnology) Central Food Technological Research Institute, India; M.Sc. 1994 (Zoology) Loyola College, University of Madras, India.
Research interests: Epigenetic regulation of gene expression and epigenomic dysregulation due to enviromental stress.

Wei Dai, Professor; Director, Molecular Toxicology and Carcinogenesis Program. Ph.D. 1988 (Biochemistry & Molecular Biology) Purdue U.; M.S. 1986 (Invertebrate Immunology) Purdue U.
Research interests: Molecular carcinogenesis, cell cycle checkpoint control, genomic instability.

Terry Gordon, Professor; Director, Pulmonary Toxicology Program. Ph.D. 1981 (Toxicology), MIT; M.S. 1977 (Toxicology), U. Michigan.
Research interests: Genetic susceptibility of lung disease produced by environmental and occupational agents; alternative tobacco products.

Richard Hayes, Professor; Division of Epidemiology, Dept of Population Sciences. Ph.D. 1978 (Epidemiology) Johns Hopkins U.; MPH 1974 (Public Health) Johns Hopkins U.
Research interests: Environmental and occupational determinants of disease risk in human populations.

Joan Reibman, Professor; Director, Bellevue Hospital Asthma Center; M.D. 1979 Johns Hopkins U.
Research interests: Asthma; epithelial and dendritic cell interactions; air pollution and airway disease; World Trade Center residents.

George Thurston, Professor; Sc.D. 1983 (Environmental Health Sciences) Harvard University; M.S. 1978(Environmental Health Sciences) Harvard University.
Research interests: Human exposure assessment, environmental epidemiology.

Leo Trasande, Professor; M.D. 1999, Harvard Medical School.
Research interests: Environmental pediatrics; endocrine disruptors; diet and obesity.

Isaac Wirgin, Associate Professor; Ph.D. 1987 (Biology) CUNY; M.A. (Biology) City College (CUNY).
Research interests: Molecular biology of carcinogenesis; developmental toxicity in aquatic organisms; population genetics and molecular evolution.

Judith T. Zelikoff, Professor; Ph.D. 1982 (Experimental Pathology) UMDNJ - New Jersey Medical School; M.S. 1976 (Microbiology) Fairleigh Dickinson U.
Research interests: Immunotoxicology, pulmonary immunotoxicology, developmental immunotoxicology, and immune biomarkers in alternative animal models.



Program Director
Terry Gordon, Ph.D.


Deputy Director
Isaac Wirgin, Ph.D.