Frederica Perera, DrPH, PhD, is a Professor of Environmental Health Sciences and serves as the Director of the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health. Dr. Perera is internationally recognized for pioneering the field of molecular epidemiology, beginning with studies of cancer and then applying molecular techniques within studies of pregnant women and their children. Since 1998, she and her colleagues at the Center have tracked the health of more than 700 NYC pregnant women and their children, with the goal of identifying preventable environmental risk factors for developmental disorders, asthma, obesity and cancer in childhood. Exposures being studied include the combustion pollutants polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), pesticides, secondhand smoke, and chemicals in plastics and flame retardants.
Her areas of specialization include prevention of environmental risks to children, molecular epidemiology, cancer prevention, environment-susceptibility interactions in cancer, developmental damage, asthma, and risk assessment. Her recent research is also addressing the multiple impacts on children’s health and development of fossil fuel combustion–both from the toxic pollutants emitted and climate change related to CO2 emissions.
She is the author of over 350 publications, including 300 peer-reviewed articles, and has received numerous honors, including the first Irving J. Selikoff Cancer Research Award, The Ramazzini Institute (1995); Doctoris Honoris Causa, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland (2004); Children’s Environmental Health Excellence Award, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2005); CEHN (Children’s Environmental Health Network) Award (2008), the Pearl Award (2014), and most recently the Heinz Award for Environmental Health (2015).