Columbia University Superfund Research Program Graduate and Post-doctoral Students

Anne Bozack is a Ph.D. candidate in Columbia University’s Department of Environmental Health Sciences. She holds an MPH in Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University and B.A. degrees in Environmental Science and Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley. Bozack served as a Project Director for the Center for Evaluation and Applied Research at the New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM) where she was involved in all stages of mixed-method research. In this position, she became interested in environmental factors that affect health, which led her to pursue a degree in Environmental Health Science. Bozack currently works in Dr. Mary Gamble’s lab, which focuses on nutritional influences on arsenic toxicity in Bangladesh. Dr. Gamble’s group has recently completed the Folic Acid and Creatine Trial (FACT), which has the primary goal to lower blood arsenic concentrations by enhancing arsenic methylation in a Bangladeshi population that is chronically exposed to arsenic-contaminated drinking water. In May 2017, Bozack presented results of this study at the 11th International Conference on Homocysteine and One-Carbon Metabolism in Aarhus, Denmark. Bozack’s research interests also include the effects of environmental exposures on the epigenome. She is involved in studying the association between arsenic exposure and DNA methylation, an epigenetic marker, among FACT participants. She was recently awarded a 2017 KC Donnelly externship to conduct research at the Oregon State University SRP Center, under the guidance of Dr. Molly Kile. The externship will allow her to extend her current work by focusing on statistical approaches to analyze mediation of the association between arsenic exposure and birth outcomes by DNA methylation in a cohort in Bangladesh.

Sara Flanagan is a research associate of the Columbia SRP Community Engagement and Research Translation Cores and a Dr.P.H. candidate in Community, Society, & Health at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy. Flanagan received a B.A. in Health & Societies and International Health from the University of Pennsylvania in 2009, and an M.P.H. in Environmental Health Sciences and Global Health from Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health in 2011. She joined the Columbia SRP in September 2012 after working with CEC PI Yan Zheng in the Water & Environmental Sanitation Section of UNICEF-Bangladesh. Flanagan is the lead-author of a series of papers on private well water arsenic testing and treatment and was a 2016 recipient of the SRP KC Donnelly externship award, for which she collaborated with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the New Jersey Department of Health on community engagement and intervention strategies to increase private well arsenic testing and motivate well owners to reduce their risk of exposure.

M. Rajib Hassan Mozumder is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO). He investigates the geochemistry, hydrogeology, and remediation of groundwater arsenic (As) contamination in Bangladesh, where ~70 million people drink well water containing more than the World Health Organization guideline of 10 μg/L of As. Mozumder works with Columbia SRP PIs Alexander van Geen and Benjamin Bostick, in collaboration with research scientists and students from Dhaka University Geology Department. Since September 2012, Mozumder has worked on Project 6: Defining the Sustainable Uses of Low-As Aquifers in Bangladesh. He earned his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees from the Geology Department of University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. He completed a M.S. degree project at KTH Land and Water Resources Engineering in Stockholm, Sweden as an exchange student. He earned his M.A./M.Phil. from Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University. He expects to receive his Ph.D. in May/June 2018. He worked as a wellsite geologist at BAPEX for a year before joining Columbia’s SRP program. In June 2017, he will begin working with Mutch Associates, LLC on hydrogeologic data analysis, and numerical modeling of groundwater and chemical fate and transport. At the upcoming Goldschmidt conference in Paris (, Mozumder will present “A comparison of arsenic retardation in reduced Holocene sediment and oxidized Pleistocene sediment” on August 18, 2017.

Athena Nghiem is a Ph.D. student in Columbia University’s Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences. She graduated from University of California, Berkeley with honors, where she earned a B.A. in Geophysics and B.A. in Statistics. She joined the Columbia SRP in September 2016 and is primarily advised by Dr. Benjamin Bostick, working on Project 3: Enhanced Remediation at Arsenic-Contaminated Sites in the U.S. Her research interests include aquifer biogeochemistry and iron mineralogy in relation to arsenic sequestration.

Dr. Tiffany Sanchez is a Postdoctoral Research Scientist in Columbia University’s Department of Environmental Health Sciences. Her research focuses on elucidating the effects arsenic exposure has on the respiratory system, identifying the molecular mechanisms underlying these associations, and exploring the extent to which these associations are modified over the life course. Sanchez joined the Columbia SRP as a doctoral student in the Fall of 2011 when she worked on Project 2: Consequences of Arsenic and Manganese Exposure on Children’s Health under the mentorship of Dr. Joseph Graziano. Since defending her dissertation in May of 2016, Sanchez has transitioned to a postdoc position working with Dr. Ana Navas-Acien. Drs. Sanchez and Navas-Acien are currently working with pulmonologists and other clinicians to better understand whether arsenic-associated lung function deficits noted in Bangladesh are also found here in the U.S., where arsenic exposure levels are much lower. In June 2017 Sanchez attended the Thomas L. Petty Aspen Lung Conference, where she gave an oral presentation on some of her recent work, a meta-analysis synthesizing the global evidence on arsenic and lung function.

Miranda Jones Spratlen is a Ph.D. candidate at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the Environmental Health and Engineering Department. Spratlen also received her B.A. in Public Health and a Master of Health Science from Johns Hopkins University. After graduating with a Masters in Environmental Health Science, she worked at the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP) as a Water Quality and Health Analyst managing their Waterborne Disease Risk Assessment Program. Before going back to school for her Ph.D., Spratlen left NYCDEP to work at Northwell Health, one of the largest health care system’s in New York, in their Occupational Medicine, Epidemiology and Prevention Department where she was involved in health-system wide employee health program management and environmental/occupational health studies. Spratlen’s advisor is Dr. Ana Navas-Acien. She joined the Columbia SRP team when Dr. Navas-Acien moved from Johns Hopkins University to Columbia in June 2016. Spratlen’s dissertation involves the interplay between arsenic exposure and arsenic metabolism, one-carbon metabolism, and metabolic syndrome. Spratlen passed her qualifying exams in June 2016 and has two recent publications:

Spratlen, M, Gamble M.V. Grau, M, Best, LG, Yracheta J, Francesconi K, Goessler W, Umans JG, Howard BV, Navas-Acien A. Association between arsenic metabolism and one-carbon metabolism: evidence from the Strong Heart Study.  Food Chem Toxicol. 2017 Jul;105:387-397. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2017.05.004. Epub 2017 May 4

Grau-Perez M, Kuo CC, Spratlen M, Thayer KA, Mendez MA, Hamman R, Dabelea D, Adgate JL, Knowler WC, Bell RA, Miller FW, Liese AD, Zhang C, Douiller C, Drobna Z, Mayer-Davis E, Styblo M, Navas-Acien A. The Association of Arsenic Exposure and Metabolism With Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes in Youth: The SEARCH Case-Control Study. Diabetes Care. 2017 Jan;40(1):46-53. doi: 10.2337/dc16-0810. Epub 2016 Nov 3.

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