Dear Colleagues,

I am delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Andrea Baccarelli as Chair and Leon Hess Professor of Environmental Health Sciences. Dr. Baccarelli, currently an Associate Professor of Environmental Epidemiology in Environmental Health and Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, will join us at Columbia on June 1.
 
Dr. Baccarelli’s scholarship is marked by creativity and rigor and a strong will to improve population health. A leader in the application of epigenetics to environmental health and epidemiologic research, he has contributed prolific and widely cited scholarship. His landmark findings have expanded the epigenetic toolkit, documenting effects of environmental exposures—from air pollution to stress—on histones, microRNA, and DNA methylation. Currently he is lead investigator on numerous active NIH grants and contributes expertise to collaborators in multiple funded projects.
 
Dr. Baccarelli earned an MD at the University of Perugia and his PhD at the University of Milan. He held a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health and has held prior positions at both the University of Milan and the University of Perugia.
 
As our understanding of the environment as a driver of disease and ill health continues to increase, Dr. Baccarelli’s expertise will become even more critical. At Harvard, Dr. Baccarelli directs the Laboratory of Human Environmental Epigenetics, which investigates molecular mechanisms and biomarkers that measure disease risk related to environmental exposures across the life-course, while exploring new avenues for prevention and targeted therapies. His laboratory has conducted projects in more than ten countries and has studied the environmental effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals, particulate air pollution, metals, flame-retardants, and pesticides, as well as more broadly investigated risk factors like psychosocial violence and second-hand smoke.
 
Dr. Baccarelli comes to the Mailman School at an auspicious time. As the leader of a team of scholars who publish widely in all aspects of environmental influences on health, he will find himself among peers who share his passion for new scientific understanding. Our Environmental Health Sciences department is an international leader and, as home to the first program investigating the connection between climate change and human health in any school of public health. Students in the department’s MPH and doctoral programs graduate to promising careers in the public and private sector. Beginning in September, the department will welcome its first students in two new MS programs.
 
I want to extend my thanks to Joe Graziano, who has served so generously as interim chair, and to Regina Santella, who once again demonstrated her dedication and leadership in partnering on the internal process that brings Dr. Baccarelli to Columbia. Because Dr. Baccarelli steps into one of the School’s most prestigious positions, we should again reflect on the generosity of the Hess family for establishing this chair and the stature of the scientist who will occupy it.
 
I’m confident you will enjoy getting to know Andrea and invite you to join me in welcoming him to this scholarly community.

Sincerely,

Linda P. Fried, MD, MPH

Dean and DeLamar Professor of Public Health
Mailman School of Public Health
Senior Vice President
Columbia University Medical Center
Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine