About the Panelist
Ellen Silbergeld ’67
Professor of Environmental Health Sciences
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
MacArthur Foundation Award Recipient
Dr. Ellen Silbergeld is trained in environmental engineering and toxicology and holds a PhD in Environmental Engineering from John Hopkins University where she is a professor in Epidemiology, Environmental Health Sciences and Health Policy and Management. Her research and professional activities bridge science and public policy, with a focus on the incorporation of epidemiology and mechanistic toxicology into environmental and occupational health policy. Her areas of current focus include: the health and environmental impacts of industrial food animal production; cardiovascular risks of arsenic, lead, and cadmium; and immunotoxicity of mercury compounds. With respect to the issues related to food animal production, her research group was the first to undertake epidemiological studies among US farmers and workers in slaughterhouses, as well as their families and communities, which demonstrates that use of antimicrobial drugs in animal feeds is a significant driver for the selection of drug resistance in human pathogens. She has conducted research in this area with support from FDA, NIH, and CDC as well as several foundations using state of the art molecular methods for pathogen identification and tracking, including metagenomics of human and ecosystem microbiomes. Her group was the first to conduct studies among US farmers and slaughterhouse workers on risks of exposures to drug resistant pathogens of animal origin and to report differential carriage of drug resistant strains of Campylobacter jejuni in poultry products based on production methods. She has also studied differential risks of exposures to food borne pathogens among consumers in food insecure and secure neighborhoods. In collaboration with researchers in Thailand and the Netherlands, she has reported on environmental pathways by which pathogens (including HPAI and bacteria) from food animal production facilities enter the environment. She has served as a science advisor for the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and international organizations including the World Bank, United Nations Environment Programme, World Health Organization, Pan American Health Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization, and the International Labour Organization. She co-directed a Fogarty training project in noncommunicable disease in Mongolia. She has served as editor in chief of Environmental Research and serves on the editorial board of several high impact journals. She has published over 450 peer reviewed articles, monographs, and reviews. Dr Silbergeld has received numerous fellowships and awards, including a lifetime achievement award from the Society of Toxicology, the Barsky Award of the APHA and a MacArthur “Genius” award.