Sam Byrne
Office
McCardell Bicentennial Hall 312
Email
sbyrne@middlebury.edu

No health without environmental health. No justice without environmental justice.

As an environmental epidemiologist, I am interested in how human populations interact with their environments, and how these interactions influence health. Specifically, I am interested in the environmental causes of health disparities, health effects of toxic substances, and the social and cultural factors which influence exposure to toxic substances. Most of my research is focused on the health effects of persistent organic pollutants among Alaska Natives. I utilize data driven approaches to model how toxic exposures influence human health on a population scale. At the core of my approach to research is the guiding principle of environmental justice.  I believe community-minded epidemiology can be used to benefit people experiencing environmental injustice, and to meaningfully impact policy to prevent future injustice. 

In addition, I am interested in the intersection of science and policy. Specifically, I am interested in research projects that challenge weak scientific assumptions that underlie environmental and public health regulations. By doing so, I aim to promote the critical revision of these regulations for the good of the planet and the people it supports. 

While environmental justice is the core of what I do, I am fascinated by the many connections between the environmental and human health. I love helping students explore these diverse connections.  If you are interested in working with me, feel free to get in touch.

Courses Taught

Course Description

Experimental Design and Statistical Analysis
Experimental design is one of the most important parts of doing science, but it is difficult to do well. How do you randomize mice? How many replicate petri plates should be inoculated? If I am measuring temperature in a forest, where do I put the thermometer? In this course students will design experiments across the sub-areas of biology. We will run student designed experiments, and then learn ways to analyze the data, and communicate the results. Students planning to do independent research are encouraged to take this course. (BIOL 0140 or BIOL 0145).

Terms Taught

Fall 2021, Fall 2022

Requirements

DED

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Course Description

Senior Independent Study
In this course students complete individual projects involving laboratory and/or field research or extensive library study on a topic chosen by the student and a faculty advisor. Prior to registering for BIOL 0700, a student must have discussed and agreed upon a project topic with a member of the Biology Department faculty. Additional requirements include attendance at all Biology Department seminars and participation in any scheduled meetings with disciplinary sub-groups and lab groups. (BIOL 0211. Approval required; open only to seniors) 3 hrs. disc.

Terms Taught

Fall 2022

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Course Description

Principles of Epidemiology
This course will introduce students to the theory and practice of epidemiology. Students will learn major concepts including study design, measures of effect, and causal inference. We will explore the causes of modern diseases with a focus on how epidemiology can be used to understand causation of disease. We will also explore the historical and current contributions of epidemiology within the field of public health. The course will introduce areas of specialization including infectious and non-infectious diseases, environmental epidemiology, and social and community epidemiology. Students will learn data analysis skills applicable to research in public health and other quantitative sciences. Students will utilize skills from class to investigate an epidemiological issue using real world data. Students will also lead discussions on how epidemiology is used to investigate the determinants of disease. Students will leave the course with understanding of key epidemiological concepts, and the ability to convey those ideas to a lay audience in written and oral formats. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022

Requirements

DED

View in Course Catalog