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New Model Could Help Provide Expectant Mothers a Clearer Path to Safe Fish Consumption

Friday, June 28, 2024

Sally Thurston, PhDFish consumption during pregnancy is a complex scientific topic. On one hand, fish are rich in nutrients essential to brain development, including polyunsaturated fatty acids, selenium, iodine, and vitamin D. On the other, fish contain methyl mercury, a known neurotoxicant. This has led the US Food and Drug Administration to recommend that expectant mothers limit consumption, which inadvertently causes many women to forgo fish consumption during pregnancy altogether.

Fish consumption is an important route of methyl mercury exposure, however, efforts to understand the health risk posed by mercury are further complicated by the fact that the nutritional benefits from fish may modify or reduce the toxicity posed by mercury. A new study appearing in the American Journal of Epidemiology based on data from a cohort of residents of a coastal community in Massachusetts creates a new framework that could untangle these questions, reduce confusion, and produce clearer guidance on fish consumption for pregnant mothers.

“We propose an alternative modelling approach to address limitations of previous models and to contribute thereby to improved evidence-based advice on the risks and benefits of fish consumption,” said the authors, who include Sally Thurston, PhD, with the University of Rochester Medical Center, Susan Korrick, MD, MPH, with Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and David Ruppert, PhD, with Cornell University. “In fish-eating populations, this can be addressed by separating mercury exposure into fish intake and average mercury content of the consumed fish.”

Read More: New Model Could Help Provide Expectant Mothers a Clearer Path to Safe Fish Consumption

Irfan Rahman, PhD Professor of Environmental Medicine, Public Health, and Medicine is being named an inaugural Highly Ranked Scholar by Scholar GPS

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

ScholarGPS celebrates Highly Ranked Scholars™ for their exceptional performance in various Fields, Disciplines, and Specialties. Dr. Rahman’s prolific publication record, the high impact of your work, and the outstanding quality of his scholarly contributions have placed him in the top 0.05% of all scholars worldwide.

Please see below the links for rankings and scholar profile

View your scholar profile and rankings

Listed below is a summary of the areas (and your ranking in those areas) in which Dr. Rahman has been awarded Highly Ranked Scholar status based on his accomplishments over the totality of your career (lifetime) and over the prior five years:

Highly Ranked Scholar - Lifetime


Overall (All Fields)


Public Health


Environmental Health Sciences


Oxidative stress




Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease



New Microplastics Center Awarded $7.3M

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

A new Rochester-based research center will study the lifecycle of microplastics, including its origin as plastic waste, distribution and movement in the Great Lakes freshwater ecosystem, and human exposure and health impact. The research will also focus on how climate change could intensify the environmental and health threats posed by microplastics.

The Lake Ontario Center for Microplastics and Human Health in a Changing Environment is a collaboration between the University of Rochester and Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and supported by $7.3 million in funding from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Science Foundation under the federal Oceans and Human Health program

“The center will seek to develop a better understanding of the interactions between plastic pollution, the Great Lakes environment, and human health in both current and projected real-world conditions,” said Katrina Korfmacher, PhD, a professor of Environmental Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) and co-director of the new center. “This research will catalyze a new understanding of both environmental and human health aspects of microplastics, engage new groups in strategies to reduce the source of waste and mitigate exposure, and provide a model for similar approaches in other communities.”

Read More: New Microplastics Center Awarded $7.3M

Housing, Health and Environmental Justice Research Workshop

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Housing, Health and Environmental Justice Research Workshop - Wednesday, May 1st, 2024, 9 AM – 5 PM - Helen Wood Hall, School of Nursing Auditorium

Event Flyer

The University of Rochester Institute for Human Health and the Environment invites you to join a Research Workshop on Housing, Health and Environmental Justice in the Rochester Region to learn how home-based environmental exposures affect health equity. This workshop will:

  • Build researchers’ and community partners’ understanding of the connections between housing environments and health
  • Identify unique opportunities for healthy homes research in the Rochester region
  • Foster new projects to inform solutions

Keynote Speaker

Amanda L. Reddy, M.S.
Executive Director, National Center for Healthy Housing

Irfan Rahman, PhD interviewed by Scientific American on Smoking compromises immune health even in former smokers

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

A new study found persistent effects of smoking on the adaptive immune system, but how this translates to health risks remains unclear

Read More: Irfan Rahman, PhD interviewed by Scientific American on Smoking compromises immune health even in former smokers

Irfan Rahman, PhD interviewed by NY Times on oral effects of Nicotine Pouches

Thursday, January 25, 2024

A New Wave of Nicotine Products Comes Under Scrutiny

Senator Chuck Schumer has called for a crackdown on ZYN, a trendy brand of nicotine pouches.

Read the interview