Environmental and Spatial Epidemiology Laboratory


The Environmental And Spatial Epidemiology Lab (EASEL) is engaged in a variety of research, including spatial modeling and mapping, evaluating environmental exposures associated with chronic health outcomes, and examining the intersection between mind, body, environment and health.

We are now recruiting participants for a study:   ~~Participate in the Brain-Body Connection Study! 

PAID RESEARCH STUDY: Participants needed to help us study the link between bacteria in the gut and day-to-day behavior at the University of Maryland, College Park. Seeking healthy adults ages 55-80 with normal hearing and ~~with either (1) extensive meditation experience or (2) no prior meditation experience. If you qualify and enroll, you will earn $25/hour for 2 sessions of up to 1.5 and 2.5 hours, respectively. For eligibility information, contact us at 301-202-4834 or BrainBodyStudy@gmail.com


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The Environmental And Spatial Epidemiology Lab (EASEL) is engaged in a variety of research,

 including spatial modeling and mapping, evaluating environmental exposures associated with chronic health outcomes, and examining the intersection between mind, body, environment and health. The lab is directed by Dr. Robin Puett, an Associate Professor in the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health (MIAEH). Students in this lab have assisted with many different projects, including the development of spatio-temporal models for acute and chronic air pollution exposures using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Exposure estimates from these and other models have been used in studies linking air pollution exposures to various health outcomes. Dr. Puett’s students have also examined associations of the built environment with physical activity and chronic diseases such as diabetes. Additional  studies are exploring topics at the intersection of mind, body, environment and health such as how meditation and greenspace exposures impact health.

The research group is comprised of master’s and doctoral students, faculty in MIAEH, and affiliates across other departments within the School of Public Health and the Maryland Neuroimaging Center. Completed and on-going research has involved collaborators from the University of Maryland Baltimore, the University of South Carolina, Harvard University, Kaiser Permanente Southern California, Rush Institute in Chicago, University of Georgia, University of Colorado, University of Washington, University of Ohio, Wake Forest University, and the Pennsylvania State University. 

Dr. Puett has received funding as a Principal Investigator from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Her most recently funded grant is an R01 focused on air pollution, subclinical CVD and inflammation in the SEARCH for diabetes in youth study cohort.

Recent work as a PI:

R01, 2011-2016: NIH, NIEHS 

“Air Pollution, Subclinical CVD, and Inflammatory Markers in the SEARCH Cohort”

This study will examine the short- and long-term effects of air pollution exposures on cardiovascular disease and inflammation among children and youth with Type I diabetes across diverse racial and ethnic groups in the US. While existing research has shown adults with Type I diabetes are more susceptible to air pollution related cardiovascular conditions, little is known about the vulnerability of children to similar exposures. This study will use data from SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study (SEARCH) to examine the short and long-term effects of air pollution on cardiovascular risk. Results from this study could have an impact on treatment approaches and behavioral recommendations.


Dr. Puett also contributes as a Co-Investigator in several NIH- funded projects in the fields of spatial modeling, climate change, air pollution, and other topics in  environmental exposure assessment and epidemiology. She has also received funding from the CDC, the University of South Carolina and the University of Maryland for her research and student training.


Jessica Montresor-Lopez

Jessica is a third year PhD student in the Toxicology and Environmental Health program at the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health within the University of Maryland College Park. In 2013, Jessica obtained an MPH in Environmental Health from the University of Maryland School of Public Health. Prior to enrolling at UMD, Jessica conducted biomedical research at Washington University in St. Louis and St. Louis University for five years. She also obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science from the Pennsylvania State University in 2005. Jessica's research primarily focuses on ambient air pollution and chronic disease, and she is also interested in health disparities and the built environment. In her spare time, you will find Jessica hanging out with her husband and their two daughters, reading English history books, and baking.

Jared Fisher

Dina Huang



Raul Cruz-Cano, PhD

Dr. Cruz-Cano’s diversity supplement to Dr. Puett’s R01 focuses on using Canonical Correlation Analysis to provide a more comprehensive approach to study the SEARCH project data. CCA has the ability to represent the relationships existing among exposure and confounding variables with multiple outcomes simultaneously and pinpointing the relationships at each point in time for longitudinal analyses.

Jennifer Roberts, DrPH

1. Rao X, Montresor-Lopez J, Puett R, Rajagopalan S, Brook RD. (2015). Ambient air pollution: an emerging diabetes risk factor. Current Diabetes Reports15:33. doi: 10.1007/s11892-015-0603-8. Impact Factor: 3.377

2. Hart J, Liao X, Hong B, Puett RC, Yanosky JD, Suh H, Kioumourtzoglou M, Spiegelman D, Laden F. (2015). The association of long-term exposure to PM2.5 on all-cause mortality in the nurses’ health study and the impact of measurement-error correction. Environmental Health14:38. doi: 10.1186/s12940-015-0027-6. Impact Factor: 2.71

3. Rao X, Patel P, Puett R, Rajagopalan S. (2015). Air pollution as a risk factor for Type 2 Diabetes. Toxi Sci. 143(2):231-41. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfu250. Impact Factor: 4.478

4. Tamura K, Puett RC, Hart JE, Starnes HA, Laden F, Troped PJ. (2014). Spatial clustering of physical activity and obesity in relation to built environment factors among older women in three U.S. states. BMC Public Health. 14:1322. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-1322. Impact Factor: 2.32

5. Yanosky JD, Paciorek CJ, Laden F, Hart JE, Puett RC, Liao D, Suh HH. (2014). Spatio-temporal Modeling of Particulate Air Pollution in the Conterminous United States using Geographic and Meteorological Predictors. Environmental Health. 13:63. doi: 10.1186/1476-069X-13-63. Impact Factor: 2.71

6. Burch JB, Wagner RS, Puett R, Cai B, Wilkerson R, Karmaus W, Vena J, Svendsen E. (2014). Mercury in fish and adverse reproductive outcomes: results from South Carolina.International Journal of Health Geographics13:30. doi: 10.1186/1476-072X-13-30. Impact Factor: 1.97

7. Bashore, CJ, Geer LA, He X, Puett RC, Parsons PJ, Palmer CD, Steuerwald AJ, Abulafia O, Dalloul M, Sapkota A. (2014). Maternal mercury exposure, season of conception and adverse birth outcomes in an urban immigrant community in Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 11(8):8414-42. doi: 10.3390/ijerph110808414. Impact Factor: 1.993

8. Ellis JH, Friedman D, Puett R, Scott GI, Porter DE. (2014). A qualitative exploration of fishing and fish consumption in the Gullah/Geechee culture. Journal of Community Health. 39(6):1161-70. doi: 10.1007/s10900-014-9871-5. Impact Factor: 1.293. Impact Factor: 1.573

9. Puett RC, Hart JE, Yanosky JD, Speigelman D, Wang M, Fisher J, Hong B, Laden F. (2014).  Particulate matter air pollution exposure, distance to road, and incident lung cancer in the nurses' health study cohort. Environmental Health Perspectives. 122(9):926-32. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1307490. Impact Factor: 7.04

10. Puett RC, Teas J, España-Romero V, Artero EG, Lee DC, Baruth M, Sui X, Montresor-Lopez J, Blair SN. (2014). Physical Activity: Does environment make a difference for tension, stress, emotional outlook, and perceptions of health status? Journal of Physical Activity and Health. 11(8):1503-11. doi: 10.1123/jpah.2012-0375. Impact Factor: 1.951.

11. Wu S, Han J, Vleugels RA, Puett R, Laden F, Hunter DJ, Qureshi AA. (2014). Cumulative ultraviolet radiation flux in adulthood and risk of incident skin cancer in women. British Journal of Cancer. 110(7):1855-61. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2014.43. Impact Factor: 5.082.

12. Troped PJ, Whitcomb-Starnes HA, Puett RC, Tamura K, Cromley EK, James P, Ben-Joseph E, Melley SJ, Laden F. (2014). Relationships between the built environment and walking and weight status among older women in three U.S. states. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity. 22(1):114-25. DOI: 10.1123/japa.2012-0137. PMID: 23538637. Impact Factor: 2.085.

13. Lamichhane AP, Warren J, Puett R, Porter DE, Bottai M, Mayer-Davis EJ, Liese AD. (2013). Spatial patterning of supermarkets and fast food outlets with respect to neighborhood characteristics. Health & Place. 23:157-64. DOI:10.1016/j.healthplace.2013.07.002. PMID: 23933445. Impact Factor: 2.669.

14. Pasturel BZ, Cruz-Cano R, Rosenberg Goldstein RE, Palmer A, Blythe D, Ryan P, Hogan B, Jung C, Joseph SW, Wang MQ, Ting Lee ML, Puett RC, Sapkota AR. (2013). Rurality, presence of broiler operations, and community socioeconomic factors influence the risk of Campylobacteriosis in Maryland. American Journal of Public Health.103(12):2267-75. DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301338. PMID:24134343. Impact Factor: 3.926.

15. Lamichhane AP, Puett RC, Porter DE, Bottai M, Mayer-Davis EJ, Liese AD. (2012). Associations of built food environment with body mass index and waist circumference among youth with diabetes. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 9:81. PMCID: PMC3416688.  DOI: 10.1186/1479-5868-9-81. Impact Factor: 3.83.

16. Weuve J, Puett RC, Schwartz J, Yanosky JD, Laden F, Grodstein F. (2012). Exposure to particulate air pollution and cognitive decline in older women. Archives of Internal Medicine. 172(3): 219-27.  PMID: 22332151.  DOI: 10.1001/archinternmed.2011.683. Impact Factor: 11.462.

17. Puett RC, Lamichhane AP, Nichols M, Lawson AB, Standiford D, Liu L, Dabelea D, Liese AD. (2012). Neighborhood context and incidence of type 1 diabetes: The SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study. Health & Place. 18(4): 911-6. PMID: 22464158.  DOI: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2012.02.007. Impact Factor: 2.669.

18. Lamichhane AP, Mayer-Davis EJ, Puett R, Bottai M, Porter DE, Liese AD. (2012). Associations of Built Food Environment with Dietary Intake among Youth with Diabetes. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. 44(3):217-24. PMID: 22236496.  DOI: 10.1016/j.jneb.2011.08.003. Impact Factor: 1.692.

19. Liese AD, Puett RC, Lamichhane AP, Nichols M, Dabelea D, Lawson AB, Porter DE, Hibbert J, D’Agostino RB, Mayer-Davis EJ. (2012). Neighborhood Level Risk Factors for Type 1 Diabetes in Youth: The SEARCH Case-Control Study. International Journal of Health Geographics. 11(1) (9 pages). PMID: 22230476.  DOI: 10.1186/1476-072X-11-1. Impact Factor: 2.62. 

20. Puett RC, Hart JE, Suh H, Mittleman M, Laden F. (2011). Particulate matter exposures, mortality and cardiovascular disease in the health professionals follow-up study. Environmental Health Perspectives. 119(8):1130-5.  PMID: 21454146.  DOI: 10.1289/ehp.1002921. Impact Factor: 7.04.

21. Puett RC, Hart JE, Schwartz J, Hu FB, Liese AD, Laden F. (2011). Are particulate matter exposures associated with risk of type 2 diabetes? Environmental Health Perspectives. 119(3): 384-9. PMID: 21118784.  DOI: 10.1289/ehp.1002344. Impact Factor: 7.04.