Tara Sabo-Attwood, Ph.D., named chair of UF department of environmental and global health
The University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions has appointed environmental toxicology researcher Tara Sabo-Attwood, Ph.D., as chair of the department of environmental and global health.
Sabo-Attwood, who received a doctoral degree in biomedical sciences from the UF College of Medicine, joined the PHHP environmental and global health faculty in 2011 from the University of South Carolina, where she was an assistant professor in the Arnold School of Public Health and leader of the Nano Environmental Focus Group.
“In an era of increased globalization, zoonotic disease threats and environmental exposures, it is vital that UF play a major role in environmental and global health research and education,” said David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president for health affairs at UF and president of UF Health. “Dr. Sabo-Attwood has the skills and expertise to help lead UF’s efforts to promote human and environmental health in Florida, the U.S. and all over the world.”
In her research she has explored the molecular mechanisms controlling cellular, tissue and organism responses to air and water contaminants, including nanomaterials, asbestos and other air particulates, as well as hormone-disrupting compounds. In a recent study published in the journal Particle & Fibre Toxicology, Sabo-Attwood and colleagues demonstrated that lung cells exposed to carbon nanotubes are more susceptible to infection with H1N1 influenza virus. Carbon nanotubes are microscopic cylinder-like structures that are added to a number of household and industrial products, such as sports equipment and electronics, and are emerging contaminants of concern.
Sabo-Attwood is the associate editor of the new journal Nano Impact and serves on the toxicogenomics editorial board of the journal Frontiers in Genetics. In 2011 she was selected to participate in the National Academy of Sciences’ Kavli Frontiers of Science program for outstanding young scientists.
“I am truly delighted that Dr. Sabo-Attwood has accepted the position of chair of the department of environmental and global health,” said Michael G. Perri, Ph.D., dean of the College of Public Health and Health Professions. “She is a multi-talented person with an exciting vision for the department’s future. She is an outstanding scientist, a dedicated teacher and an effective administrator. I have no doubt that she will lead the department to new levels of excellence and national prominence.”
The department of environmental and global health offers a doctorate in public health with concentrations in Environmental Health and One Health, a master’s degree in One Health and a certificate in One Health. The department was one of the first in the world to offer academic programs in One Health, which recognizes the connection between the health of people, animals and the environment, and seeks to bring together experts in public health, veterinary medicine and environmental health to solve complex health problems. Faculty members also instruct students in the environmental health track of the college’s master’s in public health program.
“Through both new connections and building on current ones, we will continue to offer our students exceptional experiences through internships, field courses and dissertation work, many of which are based on strong ties with international partners,” Sabo-Attwood said.
Faculty members in the department are conducting research in areas such as cholera, malaria, influenza viruses, environmental toxicology, aquatic animal health and water quality and sanitation. Their projects are based in the U.S. and in several countries around the world, including Bangladesh, Haiti, India, Kenya and Pakistan. The department collaborates extensively with other members of UF’s Emerging Pathogens Institute and the Center for Environmental and Human Toxicology.
“What sets the UF department of environmental and global health apart from other environmental health departments across the country is the broad expertise of faculty in the areas of toxicology and infectious disease,” Sabo-Attwood said. “Research and didactic training that occurs at the interface of these disciplines — which spans research at the molecular level all the way to large populations — is an untapped niche. We have an opportunity to emerge as leaders in this area.”