The research of assistant professor of Environmental Health Sciences Matthew Perzanowski, PhD, focuses on understanding exposures which lead to allergic sensitization and asthma. While many environmental exposures are hypothesized to have contributed to the global epidemic of asthma in the latter half of the 20th century, a unifying theory has not been proven. Approaching the study of environmentally associated diseases from a global perspective takes advantage of natural and manmade variations in exposures between communities. This is especially relevant to the asthma epidemic which has occurred in many countries with differing levels of immunologically relevant exposures.
Dr. Perzanowski began his career at a preeminent allergen exposure laboratory and participated in studies conducted in communities as different as inner-city Atlanta and rural Kenya. He continued with his doctoral research working with the OLIN group in northern Sweden at the Arctic Circle where asthma is common but dust mites and cockroaches, exposure to which is important to asthma elsewhere, are not found.
As a co-investigator on several established prospective cohort studies, his current research at the Mailman School of Public Health is exploring paradigms of exposures related to asthma in an area of the world with one of the highest prevalence of asthma, inner-city NYC. Dr. Perzanowski is the principal investigator on the NIH (NIEHS) funded R01, NYC Neighborhood Asthma and Allergy Study which is examining neighborhood differences in asthma prevalence to better understand the great disparity in asthma risk between children living just city blocks apart. Two other major research aims of Dr. Perzanowski’s lab are implementing non-invasive measurements of airway inflammation in pediatric population studies and evaluating the relevance of the ‘hygiene hypothesis’ to inner-city asthma.
Matthew S. Perzanowski, PhD
Department of Environmental Health