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The Johns Hopkins Environmental Health Microbiology and Immunology Laboratory

Research Team

We are always looking for talented students and post-doctoral fellows to join our team. Meet our current team below.

heaney1Christopher D. Heaney, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Environmental Health and Engineering

Chris Heaney earned his MS in environmental health microbiology and virology and his PhD in epidemiology at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health in 2008. His dissertation, “Contact with Beach Sand and Risk of Illness,” examined the relationship between beach sand contact, densities of fecal microbial pollution in sand, and the risk of enteric and non-enteric illnesses.

His research focuses on environmentally-mediated impacts on health and well-being, specifically community land use, waste disposal, and food production practices, and integrates the academic disciplines of environmental microbiology, molecular biology, immunology, epidemiology, and community-based participatory research (CBPR).

Chris is the director of the Johns Hopkins Environmental Health Microbiology and Immunology Laboratory (EHMIL).

Nora Pisanic, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow

Alexis Brown
PhD Studenta. brown

Hometown: Chevy Chase, Maryland
Education/Professional Background: 2013: Bachelors of Science in Environmental Science; University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Program: Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Health
Specialty Track: Occupational and Environmental Health
Advisor: Christopher Heaney
Interests: The emergence of pathogens
Extracurricular activities: I plan to participate in student organizations as well as find a sports team to join to balance schoolwork with time to de-stress
Post graduation goals: Once I have graduated from graduate school I hope to work for the CDC or FDA local or internationally.

Vanessa Coffmancoffman
PhD Student

Vanessa's interests include abatement strategies and public policies surrounding food- and water-borne pathogens in the environment that affect human health.
Melding her passion for public and environmental health, Vanessa has led STOP Foodborne Illness’ education and policy initiatives, conducted research with the City of Chicago Department of Public Health’s West Nile Virus Program, was a Senior Program Coordinator for a grant-funded medical mission in rural Bolivia, and was an intern with the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization in Sierra Leone.   

After graduation, Vanessa hopes to continue international aid and research work, ideally in developing countries with infectious disease abatement, implementing healthcare intervention programs with a strong focus on evaluation and sound policy choices.

Patrick Baron, MSbaron
PhD Student

Patrick Baron, MSPH, is a fourth-year PhD candidate. He received his MSPH in Occupational and Environmental Health from JHSPH in 2011. Patrick’s work focuses on the environmental epidemiology of antibiotic resistance in the US food system, among other food safety issues.

His dissertation research compares the industrial and small-scale poultry meat supply chains in Maryland in terms of their contamination with drug-resistant bacterial pathogens, and will include an analysis of potential risk factors affecting food safety outcomes in small-scale poultry production and processing. Patrick’s adviser is Dr. Chris Heaney, PhD.

Amanda Krosche
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Tia S. Tumino
Summer Undergraduate Intern

Carly Ordak
Research Technologist

John Ticehurst, MD
Research Technologist


Former JH-EHMIL Members

Paul Sue, MD
Visiting Fellow
Infectious Diseases