The  Human  Studies  Resource  is  designed to  assist  environmental health investigators who want to conduct studies in human populations. Human studies are an important component of translational research, but their unique challenges can dissuade inexperienced investigators from considering them. The HSR  organizes SWEHSC human studies experts into a centralized resource to assist researchers in developing human environmental health studies. HSR works with investigators to identify knowledge gaps, and facilitates consultation with knowledgeable individuals to bridge these gaps.  The subject matter experts within HSR assist the investigator in developing a project plan, and consult as needed during the conduct of the project. Working in conjunction with the Statistics/Bioinformatics Resource, the HSR provides expertise spanning the gamut of needs from pilot-scale to large-scale human studies. Assistance is provided in the following areas.

Study Design

  • Epidemiological design, Integration with Statistics Resource

Exposure Assessment

  • Design and measurement of environmental exposures

Study Regulatory Approval

  • IRB application process, FDA approval

Study Subject Ascertainment

  • Design considerations for subject ascertainment in human studies

Database Development/Data Processing/Security/Quality Control

  • Resources for the development or use of existing data management systems in human studies

Biological Sample Processing/Storage/Quality Control

  • Collection, transportation, storage and management of biological samples from humans studies


PROJECT CONSULT : The IHS Pathway to Project Support

The HSR has developed a structured approach to providing assistance for projects receiving subsidized support, to ensure that the best delivery of support results in successful research outcomes.  To learn more about the Project Consult process click here



Option 1:  If you want financial support for your project you must complete a Project Assistance Form

Option 2:  You can contact HSR leader Dr. Zhao Chen by calling (520) 626-9011 or click here to send her an email

Option 3:  If you know the specific area in which you need help, you can access our HSR expertise table to be linked to the SWEHSC expert in that area.



The HSR is led by Zhao Chen, Ph.D. Dr. Chen is a Professor of Public Health and Director of the Epidemiology and Biostatistics section at the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. 
Her research is focused on the epidemiology of women’s health and aging-related health conditions. She has a wealth of experience in studying body composition assessments, breast cancer risk factors, fracture risk in cancer survivors, osteoporosis prevention, epidemiology of anemia, biomarker and genetic variations for chronic diseases and sarcopenia measurements among women and elderly from different ethnic backgrounds.
Dr. Chen's work with the U.S. Women’s Health Initiative study has produced several significant research papers on epidemiologic methodology and osteoporosis risk factors in diverse populations. Her research on mammographic density as a proxy of breast cancer risk has provided direct evidences on significant associations between body composition, dietary intake, and mammographic density. Currently, she is leading investigations on longitudinal changes in bone strength and skeletal muscle loss associated with aging and hormone and calcium/vitamin D interventions. Her research on biomarkers and genetic variations for sarcopenia is supported by the National Institute of Aging/NIH. She has also received NIH funding to study anemia and its relationship with muscle loss, physical function, and mortality in Mexican American, Africa American, Native American, Asian, and Non-Hispanic white postmenopausal women. In the recent years, she has been working with several large worldwide consortiums on genome-wide association studies for sarcopenia and anemia.


HSR Members and Their Expertise - Click on member name to contact


HSR Members and Their Expertise