and: Professor of Pharmacology, College of Physicians and Surgeons
Dr. Joseph Graziano's research career has been devoted to understanding the consequences of exposure to metals, both on the molecular and population levels. Human exposure to metals occurs via a number of different scenarios that include exposure in the workplace; in the home, such as lead paint, or arsenic in drinking water, or outdoors; due to airborne emissions from industry or transportation vehicles. In the past, Dr. Graziano's research was almost entirely devoted to lead poisoning, which has contributed to understanding the adverse effects of lead exposure on childhood development. As a pharmacologist, his laboratory developed the oral drug that is now used to treat children with lead poisoning. More recently, Dr. Graziano's work has taken him to Bangladesh, where his current research is aimed at understanding the consequences of arsenic exposure on the Bangladeshi population, and on devising strategies to reduce toxicity and provide arsenic-free drinking water, a problem that spans beyond the political borders of Bangladesh, to much of South Asia, from India to Vietnam. Recent findings that both arsenic and manganese, both elevated in Bangladesh drinking water, are associated with cognitive deficits in children, add urgency to solving this enormous public health and environmental problem.
Earth Institute at Columbia University Member, Academic Committee
Member, Society for Pediatric Research
Member, Society of Toxicology
Member, American Society of Hematology
Member, American Society of Public Health
Member, Society for Occupational and Environmental Health
Member, New York Academy of Sciences
Honors and Awards:
Andrew Mellon Teacher Scientist Award, Cornell Medical College, 1978
Award and Medallion from the Medical Faculty of the University of Kosovo, Pristina, Yugoslavia, 1986
Award for Special Achievements in the Field of Health, Kosovska Mitrovica, Yugoslavia, 1986
Teacher of the Year, Mailman School of Public Health, 2002
The Dean?s Excellence in Leadership Award, 2009
Selected New York City Activities:
Columbia NIEHS Center for Environmental Health in Northern Manhattan
Joseph Graziano is the founding director of this Center, and served as its director for eight years. In that capacity, and as Chair of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the time, he initiated a research program - either personally or through recruitment of faculty - that addresses the environmental health concerns of our communities. In addition, through interactions with the West Harlem Environmental Action (WE ACT), he has cultivated a number of community-based research projects.
Dr. Graziano is the Director of Columbia University's Superfund Basic Research Program, entitled "Health Effects and Geochemistry of Arsenic and Lead." This research program includes a set of seven research projects, three of which take place in Bangladesh, where naturally occurring arsenic in drinking water has led to the exposure of nearly 40 million people. Approximately 15 Columbia faculty, from the Mailman School, the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory are involved. The three research projects in Bangladesh are: 1) a cohort study of arsenicosis in Bangladesh; 2) environmental arsenic, pregnancy and children's health; and 3) arsenic mobilization in Bangladesh groundwater.
Environmental Lead, Reproduction, and Infant Development
From 1983 to 1998, Dr. Graziano directed a long-term prospective study of environmental lead exposure in Kosovo. The town of Kosovska Mitrovica is a heavily lead-exposed area, due to the presence of a large mining, smelting, and battery production industry. Pristina, the capital city of Kosovo, is relatively unexposed. This 15-year prospective study is considered to be one of the landmark studies that associated childhood lead exposure with impaired cognitive function in children.
Countries: Serbia and Montenegro