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Howard Hu

Howard Hu, M.D., M.P.H., Sc.D.

Adjunct Professor of Environmental Health Sciences

E-mail: howardhu@umich.edu

Professional Summary

On July 1, 2012, Dr. Hu transitioned from full-time status at the University of Michigan to the University of Toronto, where he will be leading the Dalla Lana School of Public Health.

Dr. Hu is a physician board-certified in internal medicine and occupational/environmental medicine who also holds a doctoral degree in epidemiology. He has continued research collaborations on multiple NIH- and EPA-funded epidemiologic investigations of the contribution of exposure to metals (and other pollutants), genetics, gene-environment interactions and epigenetics to the causation of chronic diseases in adults and impaired development in children.


Sc.D., Epidemiology, Harvard University, 1990
M.S., Epidemiology, Harvard University, 1986
M.P.H., Occupational Health, Harvard University, 1982
M.D., Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1982
B.Sc., Biology, Brown University, 1976

Research Interests & Projects

> > Hu Lab - Michigan Enviromental Molecular Epidemiology Research Group (Leader)

The Mission of the Michigan Environmental Molecular Epidemiology Research Group (EMERG) is to gain new insights into the impacts of exposure to potentially toxicants that are of critical importance to public health and medicine by applying multi-disciplinary and novel methods of exposure assessment, genetics, epigenetics, nutrition, psychosocial factors and clinical measurements in epidemiologic studies of human populations around the world.... More >>

Michigan Metals Epidemiology Research Group 

> > The Early Life Exposure in Mexico to ENvironmental Toxicants (ELEMENT) Project (Principal Investigator)

The Early Life Exposure in Mexico to ENvironmental Toxicants (ELEMENT) Project is a group of epidemiologic birth cohort studies with the mission of investigating the influence of environmental toxicant exposures on the development and future health of the fetus and infant. ... More >>

The Early Life Exposure in Mexico to ENvironmental Toxicants (ELEMENT) Project 

> > The Environmentally-Related Disease Unit of the Normative Aging Study (ERDU-NAS) (Principal Investigator)

The Normative Aging Study (NAS) is a longitudinal study of 2,280 healthy male volunteers begun in Boston in the 1960s. Beginning in 1991 with an NIEHS R01 grant to study the impact of environmental lead exposure on risk of hypertension (NIEHS R01 ES 05257; PI: Howard Hu), NAS participants were invited to undergo bone and blood lead measurements. This project and a series of successful competitive renewals produced a number of papers in JAMA, the American Journal of ... More >>


> > The Lead Exposure, Genetics, Nutrition and Neurodevelopment Study in Children of Chennai, India (Principal Investigator)

Lead exposure poses a major environmental health problem in India. No direct studies have yet been performed in India to investigate the impact of lead exposure on outcomes such as neurobehavioral development. We propose to build upon a collaborative effort initiated during the proposed PI's work as a Senior Fulbright Scholar and work with colleagues at the Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute of Chennai (formerly known as Madras), Tamil Nadu, India, to study 750 children aged 4-6 attending ... More >>

The Lead Exposure, Genetics, Nutrition and Neurodevelopment Study in Children of Chennai, India 

> > Metal Mixtures and Children's Health -- Tar Creek Superfund Site (Principal Investigator)

In June of 2004, we established a new Center for Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research with support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences. Our Center addresses the concerns of a community living in the Tar Creek Superfund site of Oklahoma - an area highly contaminated by metals (lead, cadmium, iron, manganese, and others) in mining waste and populated by many residents of Native American descent. Our overall goal is to ... More >>

Metal Mixtures and Children's Health -- Tar Creek Superfund Site 

> > Gene-Metal Interactions and Parkinson's Disease (Principal Investigator)

Exposure to metals, particularly lead, has been associated with the development of PD in a few but highly-suggestive studies. This topic has not yet been studied epidemiologically using state-of-the-art biological marker techniques for measuring metals exposure and accumulation. Our research team has taken advantage of well-described, highly motivated and geographically convenient populations of PD patients and potential controls, state-of-the-art methods for measuring biological markers of metals exposure, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays, assessment of pesticide exposure, and a highly-experienced team ... More >>


> > Alzheimer's disease (Principal Investigator)

This project combines comprehensive lead exposure measurements, APP-pathway gene-specific epigenetic approaches, and genome-wide epigenomic approaches in a novel investigation capitalizing on resources of the MADRC, the Michigan Claude D. Pepper Geriatrics Center, and the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center (NACC).... More >>


> > The University of Michigan Education and Research Center (Co-Principal Investigator)

The University of Michigan Center for Occupational Health and Safety Engineering (COHSE), a NIOSH-funded Education and Research Center (ERC), provides comprehensive professional and research training in Industrial Hygiene (IH), Occupational Health Nursing (OHN), Occupational Safety Engineering and Ergonomics (OSE), Hazardous Substances Academic Training (HSAT), Occupational Epidemiology (OE), and Pilot Project Research Training (PPRT). We have functioned as an ERC since 1982. The ERC provide direct funding of Masters and doctoral students, as well as pilot research projects, and generally ... More >>

The University of Michigan Education and Research Center 

Selected Publications

Search PubMed for publications by Howard Hu >>

Roy A, Hu H, Bellinger DC, Mukherjee B, Modali R, Nasaruddin K, Schwartz J, Wright RO, Ettingre AS, Palaniapan K, Balakrishnan K, (January, 2011). Hemoglobin, Lead Exposure, and Intelligence Quotient: Effect Modification by the DRD2 Taq 1A Polymorphism. Environmental Health Perspectives, 1, 144-9.

Bush KF, Luber G, Kotha SR, Dhaliwal RS, Kapil V, Pascual M, Brown DG, Frumkin H, Dhiman RC, Hess J, Wilson ML, Balakrishnan K, Eisenberg J, Kaur T, Rood R, Batterman S, Joseph A, Gronlund CJ, Agrawal A, Hu H. (2011). Impacts of Climate Change on Public Health in India: Future Research Directions. Environmental Health Perspectives

Hu H (2011). Heavy Metals In Kasper DL, Braunwald E, Fauci AS, Hauser SL, Longo DL, JamesonJL, eds. (Ed.) Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, (18th edition). McGraw-Hill (New York).

Wright RO, Schwartz J, Wright R, Park SK, Hu H, Sparrow D, Vokonas P, Baccarelli A (Summer, 2010). Biomarkers of Lead Exposure and DNA Methylation within Retrotransposons Environmental Health Perspectives

Basu N, Abare M, Buchanan S, Cryderman D, Nam D-H, Sirkin S, Schmitt S, Hu H (December, 2010). A combined ecological and epidemiologic investigation of metals exposure amongst indigenous peoples near the Marlin Mine in Western Guatemala Science of the Total Envrionment, 1, 70-77.

Cantonwine D, Hu H, Téllez-Rojo MM, Sánchez BN, Lamadrid-Figueroa H, Ettinger AS, Mercado-García A, Hernández-Avila M, Wright RO (July, 2010). HFE gene variants modify the association between maternal lead burden and infant birthweight: a prospective birth cohort study in Mexico City, Mexico Environmental Health, 43.

Peters JL, Weisskopf MG, Wright RO, Spiro A, Schwart J, Sparrow D, Nie H, Hu H, Wright RJ (2010). Interaction of Stress, Lead Burden and Age on Cognition in Older Men: The VA Normative Aging Study Environmental Health Perspectives

Weisskopf MG, Weuve J, Nie H, Saint-Hilaire M-H, Sudarsky L, Simon DK, Hersh B, Schwartz J, Wright RO, Hu H (2010). Association of Cumulative Lead Exposure with Parkinson's Disease Environmental Health Perspectives, 1609-1613.

Weisskopf MG, Jain N, Nie H, Sparrow D, Vokonas P, Schwartz J, Hu H (2009). A prospective study of bone lead concentration and death from all causes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer in the VA Normative Aging Study Circulation

Park, S.K., O'Neill, M.S., Vokonas, P.S., Spiro, A., Tucker, K., Suh, H., Hu, H., Schwartz, J." (2008). Traffic-related particles are associated with elevated homocysteine: the VA Normative Aging Study American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine