Frederica Perera, DrPH, PhD

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).

Program in Molecular Epidemiology, New York Academy of Sciences, American Society of Preventive Oncology, International Society for Preventive Oncology, Environmental Mutagen Society, American Association for Cancer Research, American Public Health Association

Honors & Awards:
Heinz Award for Environmental Health, 2015

Jean and Leslie Douglas Pearl Award, 2014

Healthy Schools, Healthy Networks Award, 2008 and CEHN (Children's Environmental Health Network) Award, 2008

Distinguished Lecturer, National Cancer Institute, Occupational and Environmental Cancer, 2002

Jagiellonian University Medical College Medal for leadership in Molecular Epidemiology, 2002

First Children's Environmental Health Award, The Pew Center for Children's Health and the Environment, 1999 Newsweek, The Century Club Award, for being one of 100 leaders who will make a difference in the next millennium, 1997

Selected Editorial Boards:
World Trade Center Expert Technical Review Panel, 2004-Present

Committee on Emerging Issues and Data on Environmental Contaminants, The National Academies, 2003-Present

Selected Publications:
Vishnevetsky J, Tang D, Chang HW, et al. Combined effects of prenatal polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and material hardship on child IQ. Neurotoxicol Teratol. May-Jun 2015;49:74-80.

Perera F. Children suffer most from climate change and burning of fossil fuels. In: The Challenges of Climate Change: Children on the Front Line. Florence, Italy: UNICEF. 2014

Peterson BS, Rauh VA, Bansal R, et al. Effects of prenatal exposure to air pollutants (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) on the development of brain white matter, cognition, and behavior in later childhood. JAMA psychiatry. Jun 1 2015;72(6):531-540.

Perera F, Weiland K, Neidell M, Wang S. Prenatal Exposure to Airborne Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and IQ: Estimated Benefit of Pollution Reduction J Public Health Policy. 2014.

Perera FP, Chang HW, Tang D, et al. Early-Life Exposure to Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and ADHD Behavior Problems. PLoS One. 2014;9(11):e111670.

Perera F. Science as an Early Driver of Policy: Child Labor Reform in the Early Progressive Era, 1870–1900. American Journal of Public Health. 2014/10/01 2014;104(10):1862-1871.

Perera F, Li TY, Zhou ZJ, et al. Benefits of reducing prenatal exposure to coal-burning pollutants to children's neurodevelopment in China. Environmental health perspectives. Oct 2008;116(10):1396-1400.

Perera FP, Wang S, Rauh V, et al. Prenatal exposure to air pollution, maternal psychological distress, and child behavior. Pediatrics. Nov 2013;132(5):e1284-1294.

Perera FP, Tang D, Wang S, et al. Prenatal polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) exposure and child behavior at age 6-7 years. Environmental health perspectives. Jun 2012;120(6):921-926.

Perera F, Vishnevetsky J, Herbstman JB, et al. Prenatal bisphenol a exposure and child behavior in an inner-city cohort. Environmental health perspectives. Aug 2012;120(8):1190-1194.

Perera F, Herbstman J. Prenatal environmental exposures, epigenetics, and disease. Reprod Toxicol. Apr 2011;31(3):363-373.

Perera FP. Children are likely to suffer most from our fossil fuel addiction. Environ Health Perspect. 2008;116(8):987-90.

Perera F, Tang D, Whyatt R, Lederman SA, Jedrychowski W. DNA damage from polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons measured by benzo[a]pyrene-DNA adducts in mothers and newborns from Northern Manhattan, the World Trade Center Area, Poland, and China. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. Mar 2005;14(3):709-714.

Perera FP, Weinstein IB. Molecular epidemiology and carcinogen-DNA adduct detection: new approaches to studies of human cancer causation. J Chronic Dis. 1982;35(7):581-600.

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