Significant changes have occurred over the last decade in how researchers think about health and disease, the role the environment plays in disease etiology, and how best to assess human exposure to environmental pollutants and dietary chemicals. An overarching concept emerged - the exposome, defined by the CDC as “the measure of all the exposures of an individual in a lifetime and how those exposures relate to health”. 

  • Exposomics is the study of the exposome by measuring biomarkers to assess and monitor internal exposure.
  • A biomarker is “a key molecular or cellular event [or molecule] linking a specific environmental exposure to a health outcome”.

Biomonitoring provides the most health-relevant assessment of exposure because it measures the amount of a chemical present inside people, and not the amount of a chemical present in the environment, according to the CDC.

The Wadsworth Center identifies specific environmental and dietary factors affecting the health of New Yorkers. We address the role of economic, ethnic, and geographic disparities in disease incidence, focusing on:

  • cancer
  • cardiovascular diseases
  • neurological diseases
  • diabetes
  • obesity-related diseases


Associated Researchers

David A. Lawrence, Ph.D.

Neuroimmunology and Immunotoxicology

We study the immunological aspect of the system biology effects from genetic susceptibilities and environmental stress defined as the exposome on autoimmune diseases, immune deficiencies, and neurodegenerative and neurobehavioral illnesses.

Patrick J. Parsons, Ph.D.

Director, Division of Environmental Health Sciences

We study human exposure to toxic metals/metalloids (biomonitoring) and long-lived nuclides (radiobioassay); and develop novel speciation methods by coupling LC and GC to ICP-MS, while using portable XRF for field-based studies.