What does working with the Center mean to you?
"My involvement with the Center for Health and Global Environment will help engage a broader audience on the health impacts of chemical contamination in the environment, which is a universal concern. The emergence of honeybee colony collapse disorder, in which I have a great interest, is, unfortunately, a perfect example. Protecting bees and other natural pollinators has great implications on food security and human health.
The extensive participation in the Center from academic, corporate, and philanthropic individuals is an ideal platform to enrich the collaborative efforts in protecting health and the global environment."
Alex Lu is an Associate Professor of Environmental Exposure Biology in the Department of Environmental Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH). He received his doctorate from the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at University of Washington (Seattle, WA) in 1996, and was an Assistant Professor at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University (Atlanta GA) from 2004 to 2008, before joining Harvard in 2008.
Alex’s research focuses on understanding how ecological and human health are being affected by the pervasive presence of chemicals in the environment. His research follows the gene–environment interaction paradigm in which he characterizes exposures, using a biomarker approach first, and then seeking mechanistic interpretations for the adverse health effects. Most of Alex’s research takes place within the Exposure Biology (EB) lab in which he established upon his arrival at HSPH. The EB lab is equipped with state-of-the-art mass spectrometry, and has access to equipment such as quantitative real-time PCR, via the federally-funded Harvard Center for Environmental Health.
Alex’s public health service involves in implementing practical methodologies, such as integrated pest management (IPM), at the community level, in order to mitigate exposures to toxic chemicals—specifically, pesticides. His ongoing collaboration with Boston Housing Authority, Committee for Boston Public Housing, and residents living in urban low-income public housing, is making a great impact on adapting IPM practice so that less pesticide is being used in residents’ dwellings. Alex also actively engages in public speaking events, as well as in interviews with various media outlets, in translating research findings on the subject of pesticides and human/ecological health to general publics.
Since 2006, Alex has served as an Associate Editor for Environmental Health Perspectives, one of the leading peer-review journals of environmental health, and also serves as an ad hoc reviewer for more than 30 scientific journals. Additionally, since 2004 he has served as an ad hoc member on the scientific advisory panel to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, under the authority of the Federal Insecticides, Fungicides, and Rodenticides Act (FIFRA).