EHSRC Leadership Members
Center Director: Peter S. Thorne, PhD
Dr. Thorne is Professor of Toxicology in the College of Public Health and holds a secondary appointment as Professor of Environmental Health in the College of Engineering at the University of Iowa. Within the EHSRC, he also serves as Director of the Pulmonary Toxicology Facility and Co-Leader of the Nanotoxicology Research Cluster. In addition to his activities as EHSRC Director, he is the lead investigator of several NIH grants and the Head of the Department of Occupational and Environmental Health in the College of Public Health.
Dr. Thorne’s leadership philosophy embraces inclusion and transparency. He relies upon both the Internal Advisory Committee (IAC) and Executive Committee for guidance on issues regarding Center mission and focus, career development, membership, recruitment, and budgetary issues. As Center Director, Dr. Thorne has authority over issues of Center staffing, budget, and utilization of facility core space, equipment and resources.
Deputy Director: Hans-Joachim Lehmler, MS, PhD
Dr. Lehmler is Research Associate Professor in the College of Public Health and serves as the EHSRC Deputy Director and acts on behalf of the Center in Dr. Thorne’s absence. Dr. Lehmler is an integral part of the Center and an experienced scientist and highly qualified research grant administrator. In addition to being the EHSRC’s Deputy Director, Dr. Lehmler is a member of the leadership team of the Environmental Modeling and Exposure Assessment Facility (EMEAF). In addition, Dr. Lehmler leads a joint seminar series that regularly brings together faculty, staff and students of the EHSRC, the Iowa Superfund Research Program and the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Human Toxicology. As an extension of this enrichment activity, Dr. Lehmler has taken over the leadership of the Center’s Career Development activity.
Associate Director: Joel N. Kline, MD, MS
Dr. Kline is Professor of Medicine and Occupational and Environmental Health and serves as Associate Director as part of the leadership team for the EHSRC. As a clinician-scientist, Dr. Kline provides a translational perspective on the Center’s direction and goals. He is fully qualified to lead the EHSRC should Dr. Thorne and Dr. Lehmler be unavailable. In addition, he serves as as Director of the Integrative Health Sciences Facility and Director of the Inflammation and Innate Immunity Research Core. In addition to the EHSRC, Dr. Kline directs the Clinical Research Unit of the Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (funded by our CTSA); in this role, he oversees the patient-centered resources of the CRU, including its core labs.
Internal Advisory Committee
Dr. Comellas is Assistant Professor of Medicine and serves as Associate Director of the Integrative Health Sciences Facility and a member of the Inflammation and Innate Immunity Research Core. Dr. Comellas reviews protocols and applications, participates in clinical protocols, and carries out bronchoscopies and cardiopulmonary exercise tests for EHSRC protocols.
Dr. Field is Professor of Occupational and Environmental Health and serves as the Director of the Environmental Lung Disease Research Core and as Exposure Assessment Specialist for the Environmental Modeling and Exposure Assessment Facility. Dr. Field is an international expert on radon health effects and retrospective radon exposure reconstruction. He is also a co-investigator on both the DOE (former nuclear workers) and DOD (munitions workers) studies in Burlington, Iowa.
Dr. Grassian is Professor of Chemistry and serves as the Director of the Nanotoxicology Research Core. Her research group is interested in understanding the surface chemistry of environmental interfaces and are using state-of-the-art techniques to unravel the complex chemistry that occurs at these interfaces.
Dr. Hoffman is Professor of Radiology and Biomedical Engineering and serves as Associate Director of Imaging to the Integrative Health Sciences Facility, as well as a member of the Environmental Lung Disease Research Core. He is Director of the Iowa Comprehensive Lung Imaging Center (I-CLIC) and is internationally recognized for his leadership and expertise in thoracic imaging and image analysis.
Dr. McCray is Professor of Pediatrics and serves as the Co-Leader of the Inflammation and Innate Immunity Research Core. Dr. McCray has a long-standing interest in the pathogenesis and treatment of cystic fibrosis.
Dr. Merchant is Professor of Occupational and Environmental Health and serves as Co-Leader of the Environmental Lung Disease Research Core. Dr. Merchant previously served the center (since its inception in 1990) as Director (11 years) and Associate Director (9 years).
Dr. Monick is Research Professor of Internal Medicine and serves as the Director of the Inflammation and Innate Immunity Research Core. Dr. Monick's research interests center on the role of signaling pathways in pulmonary host defenses.
Dr. O’Shaughnessy is Professor of Occupational and Environmental Health and serves as the Director of the Environmental Modeling and Exposure Assessment Facility and as Exposure Generation Specialist for the Pulmonary Toxicology Facility. In addition, he is a member of the Integrative Health Sciences Facility, the Nanotoxicology Research Core and the Environmental Lung Disease Research Core. Since 1997, Dr. O’Shaughnessy has led the development of inhalation exposure systems for the EHSRC. He works closely with Dr. Thorne in setting up and testing systems for inhalation exposures. He also serves the Pulmonary Toxicology Facility with biostatistical expertise.
Dr. Parker is Professor and Head of Community and Behavioral Health and serves as the Director of the Community Outreach and Engagement Core. She has expertise in the design of community health promotion interventions that address major social determinants of health and health disparities, particularly those that use a Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) approach. Her research has combined a knowledge and interest in CBPR with an interest in the intersection of environmental health and health behavior and health education.
Dr. Peters is Associate Professor of Occupational and Environmental Health and serves as the Aerosol Measurement Specialist to both the Pulmonary Toxicology Facility and the Environmental Modeling and Exposure Assessment Facility. In addition, he is a member of the Environmental Lung Disease Research Core and the Nanotoxicology Research Core. He is an expert in aerosol physics and particle sampling and characterization. He develops exposure generation and characterization systems, focusing on the study of nanomaterials. His expertise in the development and use of instruments, such as impactors, nephelometers, particle counters, scanning mobility particle sizers, and condensation particle counters, is applied to characterize the concentration and size distribution of aerosols in Pulmonary Toxicology Facility research studies.
Dr. Larry Robertson is Professor of Occupational and Environmental Health. He serves as Director of the Oxidative Stress and Metabolism Research Core and Director of the Pilot Grant Program. Dr. Robertson is an established investigator who heads the Iowa Superfund Research Program. He is also the Director of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Human Toxicology. His duties as Director of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Human Toxicology and his successful efforts to establish a Superfund Research Program at the University of Iowa place him in an excellent position to identify and to interact with junior investigators, and to recruit more senior investigators into EHS research.
Dr. Spitz is Professor of Radiation Oncology and serves as the Associate Director of the Oxidative Stress and Metabolism Research Core. Dr. Spitz conducts research on free radicals and oxidative stress in biology and medicine. Dr. Spitz's long term goal is to use a basic science understanding of mechanisms associated with free radical toxicology to elucidate novel methods for manipulating clinically significant outcomes in areas of medicine relevant to cancer biology and degenerative diseases associated with aging.