Meet the Leadership Team
Dr. Alesia Ferguson, PhD
Lead Principal Investigator
North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University
Dr. Alesia Ferguson received her MS and Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from Stanford University. She also holds a MPH degree from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Her main research work focuses on exposure assessment for children and adults to various contaminants (e.g., pesticides, dioxins, lead, and hairstyling products) through videotaping/video translation methods, numerical modeling, and adherence chamber studies. She is lead PI on this study focused on soil dust ingestion for children indoors and outdoors. She previously worked on children exposures to oil spill chemicals in the Gulf of Mexico, ending 2020 (Lead PI Dr. Solo-Gabriele).
Dr. Ferguson has previously focused on education and outreach to various communities concerning contaminants found in and around the home environment. With certifications as a Healthy Home Specialist and EPA Lead Trainer under the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule, Dr. Ferguson is focused on preventing adverse exposures in the home and in and around other environments. She previously worked with Dr. Beamer at Stanford as PHD candidates to look at exposures for children of farmworkers.
She has taught courses or lectures around environmental and occupational health including Environmental Public Policy, Environmental and Occupational Hazards Control, Human Exposure Assessment, Biological Hazards, Built Environment, Environmental and Occupational Regulations, and Industrial Hygiene. She is currently the Chair for the Built Environment Department at NC A&T leading the Geomatics, Construction Management and Environmental Health and Safety Programs.
In this current U.S EPA study, Dr. Ferguson's team will be responsible for leading video capture and video translation methodologies.
Dr. Helena Solo-Gabriele, PhD
University of Miami
Dr. Helena Solo-Gabriele received her MS in Civil Engineering at the University of Miami and a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research focuses on assessing environments for projects that aim to link the environment to human health.
Her research focuses on evaluating children’s exposure to environmental contaminants, in particular within the beach play zone. She is the principal investigator on this study focused on Children's indoor and outdoor soil and dust ingestion rates.
Dr. Solo-Gabriele is a Professor of Environmental Engineering at the University of Miami. She also serves as the Associate Dean for Research. Her research on metals/pesticides has focused on quantifying the releases of wood treatment preservatives (arsenic, chromium, copper, zinc and boron), evaluating oil spill chemicals, and polychlorinated biphenyls in coastal systems. Her research in microbial contaminants focuses on evaluating the water - sand interface, evaluating microbial contaminants in that area and the conditions under which microbes are released from this zone.
Her research has been funded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative to evaluate children’s risks to oil spill contaminated beaches. In this study her team quantified the amount of sand adhered to children’s hand and body as a result of beach play activities.
In this current U.S. EPA study, Dr. Solo-Gabriele’s team will be responsible for measuring the mass of dust adhered to household surfaces and to children’s hands within residential settings.
Dr. Paloma I. Beamer
University of Arizona
Dr. Paloma I. Beamer, Ph.D., is a professor in the College of Public Health at the University of Arizona. She holds joint appointments as a professor of Chemical & Environmental Engineering, American Indian Studies, Arid Lands, Bio5 Institute and as a research scientist in the Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center.
She is the Community Engagement Core Director for the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center (NIEHS P30). An environmental engineer by training, she earned her BS from the University of California Berkeley and her MS and PhD from Stanford University.
Her research focuses on understanding how individuals are exposed to environmental contaminants and the health risks of these exposures with a special focus on
vulnerable populations, including children, low-wage immigrant workers, Native Americans and
those in the US-Mexico Border Region. The ultimate goal of her work is to develop more
effective interventions and policies for prevention of certain diseases like asthma.
Dr. Beamer is an Associate Editor for Environmental Health Perspectives and the Past President of the International Society of Exposure Science. She has served on the Boards of Scientific Counselors for US EPA and ATSDR.
North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University (NC A&T)
Dr. Emmanuel Obeng-Gyasi completed his Bachelor’s in Chemistry (Honors with High Distinction), Master of Public Health (MPH) in Health Administration, and a Doctor of Philosophy with specialization in Environmental Health & Epidemiology from Indiana University, Bloomington. In-between the Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, he completed a Graduate Certificate in Environmental and Occupational Health from Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Obeng-Gyasi’s research uses biostatistics, epidemiology, molecular biology, and analytical chemistry techniques to investigate the effects of environmental toxicants on the environment and populations.
His research interests include: Metals and their impact on environmental and human health; mixed exposures, environmental epidemiology; exposure assessment; environmental and urban geochemistry, and global health. His publications have appeared in important outlets in his field and have been translational in nature for the benefit of relevant communities and institutions
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University of Miami
Maribeth Gidley is an assistant scientist with the University of Miami’s Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies assigned to the NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory. As an environmental public health physician and microbiologist, she works closely with the AOML Environmental Molecular Microbiology Program.
Her research focuses on the interactions of beach and water quality with public health and coastal community health. Some of her projects include: beach exposure epidemiologic studies, impacts of climate change and sea level rise on coastal communities and human health, interactions of harmful algal blooms (HABs) with coastal communities, and prevalence of pathogenic Staphylococcus aureus (including Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus) in the coastal environment, particularly at recreational beaches. Much of her research intersects with the broad concept of the Oceans and Human Health field.
She received her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Tulsa, a Master’s (dual tract) in Microbiology and Education from the University of South Florida, Master of Public Health Tropical and Infectious Disease Tract from the University of South Florida. She received a Doctorate of Osteopathic Medicine from Nova Southeastern University, and has completed residencies in Family Medicine and Public Health/Preventive Medicine.
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