ENVR 431: Techniques in Environmental Health Sciences

Fall, 2009 Call Number 93276 Section001 Wednesdays, 2:00-4:50 PM Room 1204 MHRC

Course Description

This course provides students with a practical knowledge of some of the techniques and assays used routinely in environmental health research and practice.

Principal Instructor

L.M. Ball, Rosenau Hall 158, 6-7306
, lmball@unc.edu

Teaching Assistant

Anna Fabiszewski, amfabis@gmail.com

Guest Lecturers

Dr. Jill Stewart and Dr. Roberto Rodríguez - September 16th

Dr. Rebecca Fry - December 2nd


No textbook is used. Readings and experimental protocols will either be made available on-line or be handed out with each laboratory session.


Grades will be based on write-up of each experiment.

Date Lab References
Aug 26 Introduction
Sep 03
Bacterial Indicators of Fecal Contamination I Reading/Experimental Protocol
Local Story 1
Economic Impact
EPA Methods
Sep 09 Bacterial Indicators of Fecal Contamination II Link to MPN Calculator
FDA Excel Spreadsheet
Sep 16 Molecular Biology:
RT-PCR, Agarose Gel Electrophoresis and Sequence Analysis Used to Investigate an Enteric Disease Outbreak

For an animation of PCR:
Experimental Protocol
Outbreak Sequences
References (3):
Daniels et al., 2000
Koopmans and Duizer, 2004
Schwab et al., 2000
Bioedit program
Nucleic acid sequence files
Sep 23 CYP 450 -mediated Metabolism Experimental Protocol
Sep 30 DNA Isolation and Quantitation
Experimental Protocol
Oct 07 Bacterial Mutagenicity: Ames Assay I Experimental Protocol
Oct 14 Bacterial Mutagenicity: Ames Assay I http://www.bruceames.org
Oct 21 Tour of US EPA Human Exposure Facility
Stephen Jackson, Mike Madden
Link to EPA Human Studies Division
Link to EPA Human Exposure Facility
Link to Human Research Ethics at UNC-CH
The Common Rule for Subject Protection
Oct 28 Mammalian Cell Toxicity Assay I Experimental Protocol
Nov 04
Mammalian Cell Toxicity Assay II
Nov 11 Algal Toxicity Assay I Experimental Protocol
Nov 18 Algal Toxicity Assay II
Nov 25 Thanksgiving Break
Dec 02
Microarray Laboratory Experimental Protocol
Dec 09 Histology and Pathology Experimental Protocol
H & E Primer

Learning Objectives
On completing this course the student will be able to carry out routine laboratory procedures (pipetting and dilutions), describe techniques and assays used routinely in environmental health, evaluate assay results and place them in context with literature values.

ASPH Competencies Addressed

The following discipline-specific and cross-cutting competencies will be addressed in this course:

I. Discipline-specific Competencies

Environmental Health Sciences Competencies

Describe the direct and indirect human, ecological and safety effects of major environmental and occupational agents.

Describe genetic, physiologic and psychosocial factors that affect susceptibility to adverse health outcomes following exposure to environmental hazards.

Describe federal and state regulatory programs, guidelines and authorities that control environmental health issues.

Specify current environmental risk assessment methods.

Specify approaches for assessing, preventing and controlling environmental hazards that pose risks to human health and safety.

Explain the general mechanisms of toxicity in eliciting a toxic response to various environmental exposures.

Discuss various risk management and risk communication approaches in relation to issues of environmental justice and equity.

Develop a testable model of environmental insult.

II. Cross-cutting Competencies (Association of Schools of Public Health):

Communication and Informatics

Demonstrate effective written and oral health communication skills appropriately adapted to professional and lay audiences with varying knowledge and skills in interpreting health information.

Use information technology tools effectively in core public health functions such as retrieval of institutional and online public health data and dissemination of public health information.

Engage in collective information sharing, discussion and problem solving.

Diversity and Cultural Competency

Demonstrate awareness of and sensitivity to the varied perspectives, norms and values of others based on individual and ethnic/cultural differences (e.g., age, disability, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, region and social class).

Show effective and productive skills in working with diverse individuals including co-workers, partners, stakeholders, and/or clients.

Develop, implement, and/or contribute to effective public health programming and conduct research that integrates: (1) knowledge levels of health access among individuals and within communities, and (2) culturally-appropriate methods for conducting practice or research.


Demonstrate basic team building, negotiation, and conflict management skills.

Create a climate of trust, transparency, mutual cooperation, continuous learning, and openness for suggestion and input with co-workers, partners, other stakeholders, and/or clients.

Exercise productive organizational, time-management and administrative skills.

Develop knowledge of one’s individual strengths and challenges, as well as mechanisms for continued personal and professional development.

Professionalism and Ethics

Review, integrate, and apply ethical and/or legal principles in both personal and professional interactions, as well as public health practice and/or research.

Apply evidence-based concepts in public health decision-making.

Appreciate the need for lifelong learning in the field of public health.

Consider the effect of public health decisions on social justice and equity.

Program Planning

Discuss social, behavioral, environmental, and biological factors that contribute to specific individual and community health outcomes.

Identify needed resources for public health programs or research.

Systems Thinking

Identify characteristics of a system.

Respond to identified public health needs within their appropriate contextual setting.