Paloma Beamer, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Health Sciences within the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, and an Assistant Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering.
She was directly recruited from her PhD program at Stanford University in 2007 because of her expertise in human exposure assessment. Upon assuming her position at The University of Arizona several SWEHSC members invited her to participate in center activities, including her College of Public Health colleagues Jeff Burgess, MD, and Mary Kay O’Rourke, PhD, of the Division of Environmental Health Sciences, and Nathan Cherrington, PhD, from the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, College of Pharmacy.
Dr. Cherrington actually served on the search committee that recruited Dr. Beamer to the UA. Via these initial interactions with SWEHSC members, Dr. Beamer was encouraged by Jay Gandolfi, PhD, to submit a pilot project through the NIEHS-funded Superfund Basic Research Program, in which she demonstrated that the majority of indoor contamination by metals originates from outdoor air and track-in of soil. Dr. Gandolfi further introduced Dr. Beamer to Fernando Martinez, MD (Director SWEHSC-IHS), who is now serving as Dr. Beamer’s mentor and they have initiated a collaboration examining the effects of exposure to traffic pollutants, and consequent respiratory outcomes in children.
SWEHSC has further supported this collaboration by providing Dr. Beamer with one of the pilot project grants in April of 2009, fulfilling one of the missions of SWEHSC in enhancing population-based EH research. With the pilot project grant, Drs. Beamer and Martinez are gathering preliminary data and evaluating different methods for assessing exposure to traffic pollutants in relation to adverse respiratory health effects. Dr. Beamer has been accepted to present the results of these analyses at the American Thoracic Society conference in May 2010. This project has enabled Dr. Beamer to obtain preliminary data for a K-25 (Mentored Quantitative Scientist) award application, reviewed by the NHLBI, with an outstanding priority score of 19. This project will include Dr. Martinez as the primary mentor, as well as Eric Betterton, PhD (Department Head, Atmospheric Sciences), Lynn Gerald, PhD (Maternal and Child Health), and Duane Sherrill, PhD (Biostatistics and Associate Dean for Research, College of Public Health) as co-mentors and Anne Wright, PhD (Pediatrics, and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, College of Medicine) and Andrew Comrie, PhD (Geography, Dean of Graduate College and Associate Vice President for Research) as collaborators. For the K-25 award application Dr. Beamer is proposing to complement her classical training as an environmental engineer with additional training in biostatistics, epidemiology, spatial analysis and toxicology. With these additional skills she will be able to develop her research program aimed at understanding exposures to hazardous chemicals and development of intervention strategies to evaluate how these exposures result in adverse health effects, and evaluate interventions through community-based trials.