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A Center for Engineering Education Research (CEER) Seminar,April 16,2014

posted Apr 8, 2014, 6:53 AM by Kathy Dehshiri   [ updated Apr 8, 2014, 6:55 AM ]

Health impacts of air pollution: Using ambient monitoring data and regional air quality simulation to investigate issues of urbanicity, community characteristics, and short-term cumulative exposures


Mercedes Bravo


Post-doctoral Research Candidate for the 
Automated Analysis of Constructed Response (AACR) Research Group


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

11:00 – 12:00

3540 Engineering



Health effects from air pollution are a top ten cause of disability worldwide, and exposure to fine particles (PM2.5) specifically is associated with adverse health outcomes. Most large-scale epidemiological studies use ambient monitoring data to estimate air pollution exposure. However, many critical questions are difficult to address using monitoring data alone. In this work, I first evaluate the use of regional air quality simulation to estimate PM2.5 exposures. I then investigate the hypothesis that relationships between PM2.5and health are not fully captured in studies relying exclusively on monitoring data by utilizing both simulated and measured exposures to estimate health outcomes. I find that exposure estimates derived from regional air quality simulation provide higher spatial and temporal resolutions and cover 50% more population compared to monitor-derived estimates. My results also indicate that cardiovascular health effects are higher in more urban counties, respiratory effects are higher in more rural counties with less monitoring data, and relevant exposure windows may differ for cardiovascular and respiratory health impacts. This work provides some of the first estimates of health risk using simulated exposures, estimates of risk for understudied rural populations, and potentially improved estimates for urban settings.



Mercedes Bravo is a Ph.D. candidate in Environmental Science at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies in New Haven, Connecticut. For her dissertation research, she developed new methods of estimating air pollution exposures and investigated links between exposure and health outcomes in understudied populations. She was a Science Fellow with the Yale Center for Teaching, and previously worked as a consultant in the Environmental Sciences and Engineering division of ICF International. Ms. Bravo received her undergraduate degree in Environmental Science (Chemistry minor) from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 


Post-doc lunch

We would like to invite any current DBER post-docs to join Mercedes for lunch after the talk from 12-1to share your experiences as post-docs at MSU with her. 

 If you would like to participate, please RSVP to Mary Pease  by 5 PM Tuesday, April 15, so we can order food.