Dr. Amir Sapkota
Campus: UMD | Building: School of Public Health | Room: 2234F
Phone: 301-405-8716 |
Laboratory Website: 
Exposome Small Molecule Core Facility

I am a professor at the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health. I received BS in Chemistry and Environmental Sciences from Clark University, Worcester MA, PhD in Environmental Health Sciences from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore MD, and Post-Doctoral training in Environmental Epidemiology from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), Lyon France. My background is in Exposure Assessment and Environmental Epidemiology. Within this, my research focuses on two major themes:

Development and Application of Novel Exposure Metrics for the Study of the Impact of Climate Change on Human Health. I am currently leading a NIH funded study to investigate the relationship between frequency of extreme events, changes in plant phenology and increased risk of respiratory diseases in the Contiguous United States.  In a separate study funded through the CDC’s Climate Ready City and States program for the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH), my team is collaborating with investigators at DHMH to develop public health strategies against climate change effects for the State of Maryland. Our recently released Climate and Health Profile Report summerizes how extreme weather events that are increasing in frequency, intensity and duration in response to changing climate is adversely impacting the health of Marylanders. The report further highlights how the burden varies across geographic areas and ethnic subgroups, underscoring the need to incorporate such differential vulnerability in local and regional adaptation strategies to protect public health in changing climate. 

Combustion Related Air Pollution and Respiratory Diseases.  Over 3 billion people worldwide rely on the combustion of solid fuels (wood, dung, agricultural waste, coal and charcoal) for cooking and/or heating.  Exposure to the pollutants released during the combustion process account for over 3.5 million deaths per year, the vast majority of them in low-resource countries.  In high-resource countries, combustion-related air pollution in the form of traffic exhaust is a significant contributor to the overall disease burden.  Whether it is traffic exhaust OR household air pollution (HAP) from solid fuels, combustion-related air pollution consists of gases and particles such as carbon monoxide, particulate matter, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), to name few.  Combustion-related air pollutants not only impair human health, but also contribute substantially to the global inventory of greenhouse gas emissions and resulting climate change.  My research lies at the interface of exposure assessment and environmental epidemiology, focusing on quantifying individual-level exposures to combustion-related air pollution-with a particular emphasis on volatile organic compounds- and the resulting adverse health outcomes.  I rely on personal air monitoring as well as biomarker-based approaches using state of the art liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) based methods to quantify the overall body burden of these pollutants and to use these precise measures of exposures to predict risks of adverse health outcomes. 

Education and Training

Post-Doctoral Training
          Environmental Epidemiology
          International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), Lyon France

Doctor of Philosophy
          Environmental Health Sciences
         Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore MD

Bachelor of Science
          Chemistry and Environmental Sciences (Double Major)
          Clark University, Worcester, MA


MIEH 400 Introduction to Global Health

MIEH 600 Foundations of Environmental Health

MIEH 740 Risk Assessment

MIEH 771 Exposure Assessment


Climate Change and Health

  1. Remigio RV, Jiang C, Raimann J, Kotanko P, Usvyat L, Maddux FW, Kinney P, Sapkota A. Association of Extreme Heat Events With Hospital Admission or Mortality Among Patients With End-Stage Renal Disease. JAMA Netw Open. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.8904 (2019).
  2. Sapkota A, Murtugudde R, Curriero F, Upperman CF, Ziska L, Jiang C. Associations between alteration in plant phenology and hay fever prevalence among US adults: Implication for changing climate. PLOS One. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0212010 (2019)
  3. Li X, Zhou Y, Meng L, Asrar GR, Sapkota A, Coates F. Characterizing the relationship between satellite phenology and pollen season: a case study of birch. Remote Sensing of Environment. 222:267-274 (2019). 
  4. Fisher JA, Jiang C, Soneja SI, Mitchell C, Puett RC, Sapkota A. Summertime extreme heat events and increased risk of acute myocardial infarction hospitalizations. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. doi: 10.1038/jes.2016.83 (2017)
  5. Gost A, Hess-Mutinda R, Mitchell C, Sapkota A†. Climate and Health In Maryland: The Maryland Climate Change Health Adaptation Program. Delaware Journal of Public Health. 3(6): 44-50 (2017). 
  6. Liu A, Soneja SI, Jiang C, Huang C, Kerns T, Beck K, Mitchell C, Sapkota A. Frequency of extreme weather events and increased risk of motor vehicle collision in Maryland. Sci Total Environ.580:550-555. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.11.211 (2017).
  7. Romeo-Upperman C, Parker JD, Akinbami LJ, Jiang C, He X, Murtugudde R, Curriero F, Ziska L, Sapkota A. Exposure to Extreme Heat Events Is Associated with Increased Hay Fever Prevalence among Nationally Representative Sample of US Adults: 1997-2013. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaip.2016.09.016, (2016).
  8. Soneja S, Jiang C, Upperman CR,  Murtugudde R,  Mitchell C, Blythe D, Sapkota AR, Sapkota A.  Extreme Precipitation Events and Increased Risk of Campylobacteriosis in Maryland, U.S.A. Environmental Research. 149:216-21. (2016)
  9. Soneja S, Jiang C, Fisher J, Upperman CR, Mitchell C, Sapkota A.  Exposure to extreme heat and precipitation events associated with increased risk of hospitalization for asthma in Maryland, U.S.A. Environmental Health. 15:57 (2016)
  10. LaKind JS, Overpeck J, Breysse PN, Backer L, Richardson SD, Sobus J, Sapkota A, Upperman CR, Jiang C, Beard CB, Brunkard JM, Bell JE, Harris R, Chretien JP, Peltier RE, Chew GL, Blount BC. Exposure science in an age of rapidly changing climate: challenges and opportunities. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. doi: 10.1038/jes.2016.35. (2016)
  11. Jiang C, Shaw KS, Upperman CR, Blythe D, Mitchell C, Murtugudde R, Sapkota AR, Sapkota A.  Climate change, extreme events and increased risk of salmonellosis in Maryland, USA: Evidence for coastal vulnerability. Environ Int. 18(83):58-62 (2015).
  12. Romeo Upperman C, Parker J, Jiang C, He X, Murtugudde R, Sapkota A. Frequency of Extreme Heat Event as a Surrogate Exposure Metric for Examining the Human Health Effects of Climate Change.  PLoS One. 10(12):e0144202. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0144202. PMID: 26641244 (2015).


Air Pollution and Cardiopulmonary Health Outcomes

  1. Fisher JA,  Puett RC, Laden F,  Wellenius GA, Sapkota A,  Liao D, Yanosky JD, Carter-Pokras O,  He X, Hart JE. Case-crossover Analysis of Short-term Particulate Matter Exposures and Stroke in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study.  Environment International 124:153-160 (2019).
  2. Vohra SN, Sapkota A, Lee MT, Pun CB, Thakur B, Siwakoti B, Wiesenfeld PL, Hashibe M, Dallal CM. Reproductive and Hormonal Factors in Relation to Lung Cancer Among Nepali Women. Front Oncol. 9:311. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2019.00311. (2019).
  3. Raspanti GA, Hashibe M, Siwakoti B, Wei M, Thakur BK, Pun CB,  Al-Temimi M, Lee YC, Sapkota A†. Household air pollution and lung cancer risk among never-smokers in Nepal. Environ Res. 146:141-145 (2016).
  4. Montresor-Lopez JA, Yanosky JD, Mittleman MA, Sapkota A, He X, Hibbert JD, Wirth MD, Puett RC. Short-term exposure to ambient ozone and stroke hospital admission: A case-crossover analysis. Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology. 26(2):162-6 (2016).
  5. Quirós-Alcalá L, Wilson S, Witherspoon N, Murray R, Perodin J, Trousdale K, Raspanti G, Sapkota A. Volatile organic compounds and particulate matter in child care facilities in the District of Columbia: Results from a pilot study. Environ Res. 146:116-124 (2015).
  6. Raspanti GA, Hashibe M, Siwakoti B, Wei M, Thakur BK, Pun CB, Milrod C, Adhikari S, Lee YC, Sapkota A. Ethnic Variation in Consumption of Traditional Tobacco Products and Lung Cancer Risk in Nepal. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 16(14): 5721-5726 (2015).
  7. Bruce N, Dherani M, Liu R, Hosgood HD 3rd, Sapkota A, Smith KR, Straif K, Lan Q, Pope D. Does household use of biomass fuel cause lung cancer? A systematic review and evaluation of the evidence for the GBD 2010 study. Thorax: 70(5):433-41 (2015).
  8. Bashore CJ, Geer LA, He X, Puett R, Parsons PJ, Palmer CD, Steuerwald AJ, Abulafia O, Dalloul M, Sapkota A. Maternal mercury exposure, season of conception and adverse birth outcomes in an urban immigrant community in Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A. Int J Environ Res Public Health: 11(8):8414-42 (2014).
  9. Martin WJ, Glass RI, Araj H, Balbus L, Collins FS, Curtis S, Diette GB, Elwood WN, Falk H, Hibberd PL, Keown S, Mehta S, Patrick E, Rosenbaum J, Sapkota A, Tolunay E, Bruce N. Household Air Pollution in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Health Risks and Research Priorities. PLoS Med:10(6):e1001455. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001455. (2013)
  10. Fransen M*, Perodin J*, Hada J, He X, Sapkota A†. Impact of vehicular strike on particulate matter air quality: Results from a natural intervention study in Kathmandu valley. Environmental Research, 122:52-7, (2013).
  11. Sapkota A †, Zaridze D, Szeszenia-Dabrowska N, Mates D, Fabiánová E, Rudnai P, Janout V, Holcatova I, Brennan P, Boffetta P, Hashibe M. Indoor Air Pollution from Solid Fuels and Risk of Upper Aerodigestive Tract Cancers in Central and Eastern Europe. Environmental Research 120: 90-95, (2013).
  12. Reid BC, Ghazarian AA, Demarini DM, Sapkota A, Jack D, Lan Q, Winn DM, Birnbaum LS. Research Opportunities for Cancer Associated with Indoor Air Pollution from Solid-Fuel Combustion. Environ Health Perspect. 120(11): 1495-1498 (2012).
  13. Sapkota A†, Chelikowsky AP*, Nachman KE, Cohen AJ, Ritz B. Exposure to Particulate Matter and Adverse Birth Outcomes: A Comprehensive Review and Meta Analysis. Air Quality, Atmosphere and Health. 5(4): 369-381, (2012).
  14. Parker JD, Kravets N, Nachman K, Sapkota A. Linkage of the 1999-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys to traffic indicators from the National Highway Planning Network. Natl Health Stat Report. 45:1-16, (2012).
  15. Hosgood D, Wei H, Sapkota A, Choudhury I, Bruce N, Rothman N, Lan Q. A meta-analysis of lung cancer attributed to in-home coal use with an emphasis on geographic variation. International Journal of Epidemiology 40(3):719-28 (2011)..
  16. Sapkota A, Gajalakshmi V, Jetly DH, Roychowdhury S, Dikshit RP, Brennan P, Hashibe M, Boffetta P. Indoor air pollution from solid fuel usage and risk of hypopharyngeal laryngeal and lung Cancer: A multicentric case-control study from India. International Journal of Epidemiology, 37(2):321-328 (2008).
  17. McClean MD, Rinehart RD, Sapkota A, Cavallari JM, Herrick RF. Dermal Exposure and Urinary 1-Hydroxypyrene among Asphalt Roofing Workers. J Occup Environ Hyg, 4 Suppl 1:118-26 (2007).
  18. Sapkota A†, Halden R, Groopman JD, Dominici F, and Buckley TJ. Urinary biomarkers of 1,3-butadiene in environmental settings using liquid chromatography isotope dilution tandem mass spectrometry. Chemico-Biological Interactions, 160: 70-79 (2006).
  19. Sapkota A, Symons JM, Kleissl J, Wang L, Parlange MB, Ondov J, Breysse PN, Diette GB, Eggleston PA, and Buckley TJ. The impact of 2002 Canadian forest fires on the air quality in Baltimore City. Environmental Science & Technology 39: 24-32 (2005).
  20. Sapkota A, Williams D, and Buckley TJ. Tollbooth workers and mobile source-related hazardous air pollutants: how protective is the indoor environment? Environmental Science & Technology, 39: 2936-2943 (2005).
  21. Sapkota A, and Buckley TJ. The mobile source effect on curbside 1,3-butadiene, benzene, and particle-bound polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons assessed at a tollbooth. Journal of Air and Waste Management Association 53:740-748 (2003).


Emerging Contaminants of Concern

  1. Panthi S, Sapkota AR, Raspanti G, …. Sapkota A. Pharmaceuticals, herbicides, and disinfectants in agricultural water sources. Environ Res. 174:1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2019.04.011, (2019).
  2. Craddock HA, Panthi S, Rjoub Y, Lipchin C, Sapkota A, Sapkota AR. Antibiotic and herbicide concentrations in household greywater reuse systems and pond water used for food crop irrigation: West Bank, Palestinian Territories. Science of the Total Environment. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.134205 (2019)
  3. Zhu L, Torres M, Betancourt WQ, Sharma M, Micallef SA, Gerba C, Sapkota AR, Sapkota A, Parveen S, Hashem F, May E, Kniel K, Pop M, Ravishankar S. Incidence of fecal indicator and pathogenic bacteria in reclaimed and return flow waters in Arizona, USA. Environmental Research.170:122-127 (2019).   
  4. Kulkarni P, Raspanti GA, Bui AQ, Bradshaw RN, Sharma M, Sapkota A, Sapkota AR. Zerovalent iron sand filtration can reduce the concentration of multiple antimicrobials in conventionally treated reclaimed water. Environmental Research. 72:301-309 (2019).
  5. Kulkarni P, Olson ND, Raspanti GA*, Rosenberg Goldstein RE, Gibbs SG, Sapkota A, Sapkota AR. Antibiotic Concentrations Decrease during Wastewater Treatment but Persist at Low Levels in Reclaimed Water. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2017 Jun 21;14(6). pii: E668. doi: 10.3390/ijerph14060668 (2017). 
  6. Biswas S*, McGrath JM, Sapkota A†.  Quantification of ionophores in aged poultry litter using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. J Environ Sci Health B. 47(10):959-66 (2012).
  7. Young T, Heidler J, Matos C, Sapkota A, Toler T, Gibson K, Schwab K, Halden R. Ab Initio and In Situ Comparison of Organic Wastewater Compounds as Indicators of Sewage-derived Microbes in Surface Waters. Environmental Science and Technology, 42(9): 3335-3340 (2008).
  8. Sapkota A, Heidler J, and Halden R. Detection of triclocarban and two co-contaminating chlorocarbanilides in US aquatic environments using isotope dilution liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. Environmental Research,  103: 21-29 (2007).
  9. Heidler J, Sapkota A, and Halden RU. Persistence, partitioning and accumulation of the topical antiseptic triclocarban in digested municipal sludge during conventional full-scale wastewater treatment. Environmental Science & Technology 40(11) 3634-3639. (2006).


  1. Burwell K, Puett R, He X, Sapkota A, Wilson SM. The Development of a Cumulative Stressors and Resiliency Index (CSRI) to Examine Environmental Health Risk: A South Carolina Assessment. Environmental Justice. 11(4):165-175 (2018). 
  2. Boyle MD, Soneja SI, Quirós-Alcalá L, Dalemarre L, Sapkota AR, Sangaramoorthy T, Wilson S, Milton D, Sapkota A. A Pilot Study to Assess Residential Noise Exposure Near Natural Gas Compressor Stations. PLoSOne. 12(4):e0174310. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0174310. eCollection (2017)
  3. Hsieh S, Sapkota A, Wood R*, Bearer C, Kapoor S. Neonatal ethanol exposure from ethanol-based hand sanitisers in isolettes. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2017 Jun 6. pii: fetalneonatal-2016-311959. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2016-311959 (2018). 
  4. Lanikova L, Reading NS, Hu H, Tashi T, Burjanivova T, Shestakova A, Siwakoti B, Thakur BK, Pun CB, Sapkota A, Abdelaziz S, Feng BJ, Huff CD, Hashibe M, Prchal JT. Evolutionary selected Tibetan variants of HIF pathway and risk of lung cancer. Oncotarget. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.14340, (2016).
  5. Boyle MD, Payne-Sturges DC, Sangaramoorthy T, Wilson S, Nachman KE, Babik K, Jenkins CC, Trowell J, Milton DK, Sapkota A. Hazard Ranking Methodology for Assessing Health Impacts of Unconventional Natural Gas Development and Production: The Maryland Case Study. PLoS One. 2016 Jan 4;11(1):e0145368. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0145368 (2016).
  6. Sangaramoorthy T, Jamison AM, Boyle MD, Payne-Sturges DC, Sapkota A, Milton DK, Wilson SM. Place-based perceptions of the impacts of fracking along the Marcellus Shale. Soc Sci Med. 151:27-37 (2016).
  7. Forouzanfar MH, Alexander L, Anderson HR, ………. Sapkota A, et al.  Global, regional, and national comparative risk assessment of 79 behavioural, environmental and occupational, and metabolic risks or clusters of risks in 188 countries, 1990-2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013. Lancet 386(10010): 2287-2323 (2015).
  8. Smith TJ, Wolfson JA, Jiao D, Crupain MJ, Rangan U, Sapkota A, Bleich SN, Nachman KE.  Caramel color in soft drinks and exposure to 4-methylimidazole: a quantitative risk assessment. PLoS One:10(2):e0118138(2015).
  9. Kerridge BT*, Khan MR, Rehm J, Sapkota A. 2013 Conflict and Dirrheal and Related Diseases: A Global Analysis. Journal of Epidemiology and Global Health:4(1):61-72 (2014)
  10. Rosenberg Goldstein R, Micallef SA, Gibbs SG, George A, Claye E, Sapkota A, Joseph SW, Sapkota AR. 2013. Detection of Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci (VRE) at Four U.S. Wastewater Treatment Plants that Provide Effluent for Reuse. Science of the Total Environment  466-467C:404-411. (2014)
  11. Rosenberg Goldstein RE, Micallef SA, Gibbs SG, He X, George A, Sapkota A, Joseph SW, Sapkota AR. Occupational exposure to Staphylococcus aureus and Enterococcus spp. among spray irrigation workers using reclaimed water. Int J Environ Res Public Health:11(4):4340-55 (2014).
  12. Murray CJ, Abraham J,….Sapkota A et al. The State of US Health, 1990-2010: Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors.  JAMA 310(6): 591-608 (2013).
  13. Kerridge BT, Khan MR, Rehm J, Sapkota A. Conflict and diarrheal and related diseases: a global analysis. J Epidemiol Glob Health. 3(4):269-77. doi: 10.1016/j.jegh.2013.05.002. (2013)
  14. Lim SS, Vos T, … Sapkota A et al. A comparative risk assessment of burden of disease and injury attributable to 67 risk factors and risk factor clusters in 21 regions, 1990-2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. Lancet. 380(9859):2224-2260, (2012).
  15. Rosenberg-Goldstein RE,  Micallef SA., George A., Gibbs SG., Sapkota A., Joseph SW. and Sapkota AR.  Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) detected at four U.S. wastewater treatment plants. Environ Health Perspect. 120(11):1551-1558, (2012).
  16. Kerridge BT*, Khan MR, and Sapkota A. Terrorism, civil war, one-sided violence and global burden of disease. Medicine, Conflict and Survival. 28(3):199-218, (2012).
  17. Hashibe M, Siwakoti B, Wei M, Thakur BK, Pun CB, Shrestha BM, Burningham Z, Lee YC, Sapkota A. Socioeconomic status and lung cancer risk in Nepal, Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 12(4):1083-8, (2011).
  18. Heck JE, Sapkota A, Vendhan G, Jetly DH, oychowdhury S, Dikshit RP, Brennan P, Hashibe M, and Boffetta P. Diet and Hypopharyngeal Cancer: Results from a Multicenter Study in India. Cancer Causes and Control, 19(10): 1329-1337 (2008).
  19. Sapkota A†, Sapkota AR, Kucharski M, Burke J#, McKenzie S, Walker P, Lawrence R. Aquaculture and human health: Current knowledge and future priorities. Environment International, 34(8): 1215-1226 (2008).
  20. Sapkota A, Hsu CC, Zaridze D, Shangina O, Szeszenia-Dabrowska N, Mates D, Fabiánová E, Rudnai P, Janout V, Holcatova I, Brennan P, Boffetta P, Hashibe M.  Dietary Risk Factors for Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Upper Aerodigestive Tract in Central and Eastern Europe. Cancer Causes and Control, 19(10): 1161-1170 (2008)..
  21. Sapkota A, Gajalakshmi V, Jetly DH, Roychowdhury S, Dikshit RP, Brennan P, Hashibe M, Boffetta P. Smokeless Tobacco and Increased Risk of Hypopharyngeal and Laryngeal Cancers: A Multicenteric Case-Control Study from India. International Journal of Cancer, 121(8):1793-8 (2007).