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Environmental Health Sciences (Ph.D.)

View PDF of Environmental Health Sciences Admissions Checklist
Prospective students should use this checklist to obtain specific admissions requirements on how to apply to Graduate School.

View PDF version of the Environmental Health Sciences catalog description

Degree Offered:



Dale A.  Dickinson, Ph.D. 




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Dale A.  Dickinson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and Graduate Program Director - Molecular mechanisms of the adaptive response to environmental toxicants and pollutants; mechanism of action of naturally occurring compounds; induction of glutathione; functional genomics & proteomics of naturally occurring compounds. 

Michelle V.  Fanucchi, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Chair - Childhood lung disease and its etiology.  Pulmonary cell biology and toxicology of air pollutants, including particulates, ozone, chlorine and various polyaromatic hydrocarbons.  Cell-to-cell interactions in the developing lung as well as in repair after lung injury and disease in children.

Julia M.  Gohlke, Ph.D., Assistant Professor - Main focus of research is development of methods to improve assessments of health threats, both nationally and globally, through application of novel bioinformatics and computational modeling approaches.  Particular areas of interest include improving methods for incorporation of neurodevelopmental processes that distinguish children as a vulnerable population, health implications of energy policy and climate change, and environmental policy evaluation from a global health perspective.

Rui-Ming Liu, Ph.D., DABT, Associate Professor - With continuous improvement in the technology and living conditions, human lifespan is expected to increase and consequently, a greater percentage of the population will consist of older individuals.  Therefore, to improve the health of the elderly has become an urgent task for the public health professionals.  The research in my lab mainly focuses on the etiology, pathogenesis, and potential therapeutic intervention of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) and Alzheimer’s disease, two aging-related diseases with no known etiology and no effective treatment.  We are interested in redox regulation of plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 (PAI-1) expression during aging and the role of increased PAI-1 expression in the pathogenesis of these aging-related diseases.

Claudiu T.  Lungu, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Interim Director, Deep South Center for Occupational Health and Safety - Evaluation of adsorption characteristics of granular activated carbon and activated carbon fibers used in respiratory protection and protective clothing; Measurement and evaluation of VOC exposure in various workplaces; VOC emissions from building materials; Exposure to ionizing radiation. 

Elizabeth H.  Maples, Ph.D., M.P.H., Assistant Professor and Deputy Director, Deep South Center for Occupational Health and Safety - Reduction of work-related injuries and illnesses through effective training programs, designing, implementing and evaluating occupational health and safety training programs.  Also interested in expanding the capacity of environmental public health practitioners in working within communities to address environmental health problems, specifically noise pollution.

Edward M.  Postlethwait, Ph.D., Professor - Research and academic interests are founded in pulmonary toxicology and free radical biochemistry, with current efforts primarily focused on delineating the mechanisms by which inhaled oxidants interact with the lung surface to initiate epithelial injury, how environmental oxidants impact lung growth and development, and what factors may govern the extent and distribution of exposure-related cellular perturbations.  To address these issues, research endeavors incorporate aspects of physiology, quantitative morphology and image analysis, oxidant and antioxidant biochemistry, pharmacokinetics, dosimetry, and chemical engineering. 

Giuseppe L.  Squadrito, Ph.D., Research Associate Professor - Development, design and evaluation of dynamic multi-component molecular systems that can be used to understand the effects of oxidants in biological systems of various degrees of complexity.  Such systems include reactions of smog, combustion-associated, and naturally produced oxidants and free radicals with biological target molecules, the covalent modifications that they induce and the cellular responses that ensue, and the protection by natural and synthetic antioxidants, antioxidant enzymes, and free radical scavengers.

Program Information and Objectives

The Department of Environmental Health Sciences focuses on understanding the causes, mechanisms, and consequences of environmental and occupational hazards, as well as the prevention and management of these hazards.  Principal research areas include: Environmental Toxicology, Free Radical Biology, Cell Signaling, Exposure Assessment, and Occupational Safety.

The objectives of the program leading to a PhD in Environmental Health Sciences are to prepare students for scientific careers in academia, industry, government, and non-governmental organizations.  A combination of didactic, laboratory experience, and/or field-based training will be provided to achieve the specific goals for each student.  This degree is granted on the basis of distinctive academic achievement, scholarly proficiency, and original research.  The Department offers training in Environmental Health Sciences Research, and Industrial Hygiene.

UAB is a highly innovative major research university with five schools ranked in the top 20 in NIH funding and an overall level of research funding totaling more than $400 million.  The university also hosts over 70 research centers providing rich opportunities for cross-disciplinary collaborations.  Students will have the opportunity to interact and conduct dissertation research in university-wide translational research endeavors.  Basic science students will participate in the Graduate Biomedical Sciences (GBS) program during their first year of study.  The GBS program is an innovative multidisciplinary program that integrates the principles of biochemistry, molecular biology, physiology, pathophysiology, and toxicology in the context of human health and disease.  More than 150 UAB faculty members are affiliated with the GBS program, providing students with the opportunity to grow academically and professionally with a diverse network of faculty.  More information on the GBS program can be found at:


Applicants should have a bachelor's or higher degree in one of the natural sciences, medical sciences, or engineering fields from an accredited college or university.  Regardless of degree, this should include courses in biology; general, organic, and physical chemistry; physics; and mathematics though calculus.  Applicants interested in a specializing in Environmental Toxicology are encouraged to have completed courses in biochemistry and physiology.  Industrial Hygiene applicants are expected to have completed Industrial Hygiene courses in an accredited Industrial Hygiene Masters program or the equivalent, or have significant experience in the practice of Industrial Hygiene.  Applicants who do not have adequate preparation in these areas are expected to complete remedial training as part of their didactic requirements.  Applicants are required to have a GPA of at least 3.0 and to take the GRE General Test.  A score of at least 146 on the quantitative section and 156 on the verbal section is required; consideration will also be given to performance on the analytical section.  Deadline for applications to be admitted into the program is April 1, although basic science applicants are encouraged to apply no later than February 1.


PhD students are expected to complete the department course requirements as well as those courses necessary to prepare them to conduct their dissertation research.  The curriculum requirements can be found at

Additional Information

Deadline for Entry Term(s):

April 1

Deadline for All Application Materials to be in the Graduate School Office:

February 1

Number of Evaluation Forms Required:


Entrance Tests

GRE (TOEFL and TWE also required for international applicants whose native language is not English.)


Additional application for financial aid (fellowship or assistantship) is required by program

Graduate Catalog Description

For additional information, please send emails to the address below.

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Course Descriptions

Environmental Health Sciences (ENH)

ENH 700.  Scientific Basis of Environmental Health.  This is an overview course that is intended to provide doctoral students with a broad understanding of the scientific principles on which environmental health is based within the context of the interaction of human activities and ecosystems, and the reciprocal impact of those interactions on human health and global ecology.  Course will be graded by letter.  3 hours (Dickinson)

ENH 701.  Environmental Chemistry.  This advanced course covers physical and chemical processes that determine the dynamic nature of the atmosphere and interrelations with water and soil.  It also covers measurement methods and data analysis regarding observed concentrations of many key compounds.  The course also covers chemical aspects of current environmental change issues, as well as reviews risk assessment as applied to tropospheric air quality.  Course will be graded by letter.  Prerequisites: ENH 601 is preferred.  Other courses emphasizing thermodynamics, kinetics and transport phenomena can be used with permission of instructor.  3 hours (Squadrito)

ENH 702.  Advanced Topics in Environmental Management.  Building on ENH 612, this advanced course examines emerging issues and challenges in environmental management and policy.  Topics include global environmental threats, ecosystem management, ecological risk assessments, and frameworks for integrating science and public policy.  Course will be graded by letter.  Prerequisite: ENH 602 or 612 or permission of instructor.  3 hours

ENH 705.  Special Topics (Readings) in Environmental and Occupational Health.  Following topics taught on request on individual basis.  1 - 9 hours each
 Radiological Health
 Air Pollution 
 Systems Safety
 Advanced Toxicology 
 Environmental Monitoring 
 Noise Control
 Free Radical Biology & Medicine
 Techniques of Biochemical and Molecular Toxicology

ENH 710.  Grant Proposal Writing in Biomedical Sciences.  This course will train second-year graduate students in the intricacies of writing research proposals in the biomedical sciences.  Pass/No Pass.  1 hour (Postlethwait)

ENH 763.  Aerosol Technology.  Defines properties and behavior of aerosols from industrial hygiene and environmental perspectives.  Reviews fundamental particle descriptions and critical fluid properties affecting particle behavior.  Methods of defining particle size and particle behavior.  Methods of defining particle size and size distribution and theories of particle kinetics and their application to particle disposition and collection.  Prerequisite: ENH 661, ENH 662.  2 hours

ENH 770.  Advanced Topics in Environmental Disasters and Public Health.  Examines emerging public health challenges posed by incidents involving chemicals, radiation and biological agents.  Students are provided with the opportunity to undertake guided research on current topics in the field and discuss their findings with graduate students and faculty members.  Course will be graded by letter.  Prerequisites: ENH 610.  3 hours 

ENH 780.  Seminars in Free Radical Biology and Medicine.  This course will consist of research seminars presented primarily by leading national and international scientists working in free radical biology and medicine.  These seminars are interactive with questions being asked throughout the presentation.  Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.  1 hour (Dickinson)

ENH 781.  Journal Club: Mechanisms of Redox Cell Signaling and Disease.  This course will consist primarily of student presentations of peer-reviewed journal articles, and of their research projects.  The overall objective of this course is for the student to develop critical thinking skills in the analysis of published research in an area related to their own dissertation research.  Course will be graded as Pass/Fail.  Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.  1 hour (Dickinson)

ENH 782.  Free Radical Chemistry and Biochemistry.  This course is for students to gain expertise in the chemical and biochemical reactions of free radicals as they occur in biological systems.  Students should be able to critically evaluate the literature with respect to free radical chemistry in biology and medicine, and will be able to correctly employ these basic chemical principles in the experimental design for their own dissertation research.  Course will be graded by letter and offered in odd numbered years.  Prerequisite: Completion of first year GBS or permission of instructor.  2 hours (Lancaster)

ENH 783.  Free Radicals in Health and Disease.  This course is for students to understand the roles that free radicals play in biological systems, both in the maintenance of normal physiology via regulated cell signaling and in contributing to pathology through loss of this regulation.  Students should be able to critically evaluate the literature with respect to the roles of free radicals in health and understanding into their own dissertation research.  Course will be graded by letter and offered in odd numbered years.  Prerequisite: Completion of first year GBS or Permission of instructor.  Co-registration in ENH 782 recommended.  2 hours (Dickinson)

ENH 790.  Seminar: Current Topics in Environmental Health Sciences Research.  Interactive forum in which graduate students and faculty discuss dissertation research projects and topics related to the field of Environmental Health Sciences research through the presentation of journal articles.  Course is designed to develop oral communication skills for presenting scientific material to peer groups.  Presentations by graduate students are followed by discussion and questions.  Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.  Pass/No Pass.  1 hour (Dickinson)

ENH 791.  Advanced Environmental Health and Toxicology Seminar.  Facilitates critical review of recent referred publications in toxicology and presentations of research data.  Students are exposed to advanced knowledge and diversified subjects.  Prerequisite: ENH 650, ENH 651 or Permission of instructor.  1 hour (Fanucchi)

ENH 796.  Environmental Health Sciences Research.  Lab Rotations.  Prerequisites: Required for First and Second Year PhD students in the Industrial Hygiene and Environmental Management and Policy foci.  Course will be graded by letter.  Permission of instructor.  3 hours

ENH 798.  Doctoral Directed Research, Environmental Health.  Independent study with guidance of appropriate faculty.  Pass/No Pass.  1 - 9 hours 

ENH 799.  Dissertation Research, Environmental Health.  Research for dissertation under the direction of the dissertation committee.  Pass/No Pass.  1 - 9 hours

With permission of the Graduate Program Director and the student’s Advisory Committee, students may take, for credit, 700 level courses from other departments within the School of Public Health or from departments elsewhere within UAB, and occasionally may take 600-level courses provided additional work is required for students registered in doctoral programs.