Dr. Ginger Chew's research focuses on the role of indoor biogenic agents in the development and exacerbation of respiratory illness, notably asthma. Dr. Chew's research addresses three aspects of indoor biogenic agents in respiratory illness. These include detection methods for low-level exposure environments, assessing exposures to airborne biogenic agents in indoor environments other than homes (e.g., measuring indoor allergens in NYC public schools), and investigating the role of multi-faceted interventions in NYC apartments to decrease the allergen burden in impoverished communities. A major goal of Dr. Chew's research is the accurate and representative exposure assessment of biogenic agents early in life in order to possibly decrease the risk of childhood asthma.
Honors & Awards
Areas of Expertise
Select Urban Health Activities
Socio-cultural influences on allergic sensitization: This study's aim is to characterize the socioeconomic, cultural, and environmental factors that contribute to allergen exposure, sensitization, and disproportionately high prevalence of asthma among children of Puerto Rican ethnicity by 1) identifying the critical period and levels of exposure required to sensitize children of Puerto Rican ethnicity to dust mite allergens and 2) identifying the role that socioeconomic status, acculturation, and social ties between mainland and island Puerto Rican communities play in the processes of dust mite allergen exposure and subsequent sensitization in early life. For this study, Dr. Chew and her colleagues will study 300 mothers and their newborns of Puerto Rican ethnicity that are currently living in NYC. Although the mother does not have to be of Puerto Rican ethnicity, she must identify the child as being of Puerto Rican ethnicity.
An examination of mouse and cockroach allergen levels in NYC Public High Schools : Dr. Chew and her colleagues from Columbia University want to answer three important questions: 1) What are the allergen exposures in New York public city schools? 2) What are the airborne levels of cockroach allergen in NYC public schools? and 3) How do the school levels of cockroach allergen compare to the levels in the homes? By assessing the levels of some allergens (from cockroaches, cats, and mice) which have already been attributed to higher risk of triggering asthma attacks, we will be able to make recommendations on how to decrease the children?s exposure in an environment in which they spend a lot of their time. Ten public high schools located in different boroughs will be selected for participation in the study in order to offer a representative sample of adolescents living in NYC as well as a representative sample of high school buildings in NYC. A sample of five adolescents from each school (for a total of 50 students) will wear a small personal air pump each school day for a period of one week to collect air samples that will be analyzed for allergen levels.
Chew, G.L., Wilson, J., Rabito, F.A., Grimsley, F., Iqbal, S., Reponen, T., Muilenberg, M.L., Thorne, P.S., Dearborn, D.G., Morley, R.L. Mold and Endotoxin Levels in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina: A Pilot Project of Homes in New Orleans Undergoing Renovation. Environmental Health Perspectives 114 1883-1889 2006
Chew, G.L., Carlton, E.J., Kass, D., Hernandez, M., Clarke, B., Tiven, J., Garfinkel, R., Nagle, S., Evans, D. Determinants of cockroach and mouse exposure and associations with asthma among families and the elderly living in New York City public housing. Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunolology 97 (4) 502-513 2006
Perzanowski, M.S., Miller, R.L., Thorne, P.S., Barr, R.G., Divjan, A., Sheares, B.J., Garfinkel, R.S., Perera, F.P., Goldstein, I.F., Chew, G.L. Endotoxin in inner-city homes: Associations with wheeze and eczema in early childhood. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunolology 117(5) 1082-1089 2006
Zhang, Y.C., Perzanowski, M.S., Chew, G.L. Sub-lethal exposure of cockroaches to boric acid pesticide contributes to increased Bla g 2 excretion Allergy 60 965-968 2005
Chew GL, Perzanowski MS, Miller RL, Correa JC, Hoepner LA, Jusino CM, Becker MG, Kinney PL Distribution and determinants of mouse allergen exposure in low-income New York City apartments Environmental Health Perspectives 111(10) 1348-1351 2003
Chew GL, Rogers C, Burge HA, Muilenberg ML, Gold DR The association between dustborne and airborne fungi in residential environments Allergy 58 13-20 2003
Kinney PL, Northridge ME, Chew GL, Gronning E, Joseph E, Correa JC, Prakash S, Goldstein I On the front lines: an environmental asthma intervention in New York City Am J Public Health 92 24-26 2002
Chew GL, Higgins KM, Muilenberg ML, Gold DR, Burge HA Monthly measurements of indoor allergens and the influence of housing type in a northeastern US city Allergy 54 1058-1066 1999
Chew, G.L., Burge,H.A., Dockery,D.W., Muilenberg, M.L., Weiss, S.T., Gold, D.R. Limitations of a home characteristics questionnaire as a predictor of indoor allergen levels. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 157(5) 1536-1541 1998