Research Team 

  • Andrea Baccarelli

    • Principal Investigator
    • Leon Hess Professor of Environmental Health Sciences
    • Chair of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences

    Andrea Baccarelli, MD, Ph.D. serves as the Environmental Health Sciences Department Chair and the Director of the Laboratory of Precision Environmental Health. As an epigeneticist and board-certified clinical endocrinologist, Dr. Baccarelli's research explores epigenetic and molecular mechanisms as potential functional pathways linking exposures to environmental pollutants to human disease.

    Profile Headshot

Laboratory Staff

  • Gabriela Jackson

    • Senior Technician

    Gabriela graduated from Barnard College in 2020 with a B.A. in Environmental Science and Spanish & Latin American Cultures. She is currently obtaining her MS in Environmental Health Data Science at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health. Her undergraduate research experience focused largely on plant ecology, soil dynamics, and Hudson River water contamination. In her free time, she enjoys gluten-free cooking, reading, and long walks around the city.

  • Fang Wang

    • Research Technician

    Fang earned a master’s degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Shanghai University in China. During her graduate studies, she mainly conducted research on the molecular mechanism underlying floury endosperm formation in maize. After completing her degree, Fang worked in the Shanghai Institute for Biological Sciences at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Currently, she works as a lab technician in the Baccarelli Lab. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and traveling.

Postdoctoral Scientists

  • Christian Dye

    • Postdoctoral Research Fellow

    Christian Ka’ikekūponoaloha Dye is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Laboratory of Precision Environmental Health, under the direction of Andrea Baccarelli. His research focuses on the interface between environmental exposures and metabolic diseases, utilizing epigenetic information to develop novel biomarkers of disease risk. Further, by utilizing epigenetic data, he seeks to elucidate the potential epigenetic mechanisms of disease pathogenesis. Christian Dye received his Ph.D. in Molecular Biosciences and Bioengineering from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa under the mentorship of Alika Maunakea, where he focused on identifying immunoepigenetic signatures in monocytes of chronic disorders, particularly insulin resistance syndrome, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and dementia. His long-standing interest in chronic diseases stem from his passion for his Native Hawaiian community, wherein his community is disproportionately at risk to adverse health outcomes. Christian Dye seeks to eventually bridge his work in epigenetic epidemiology with inclusive community-based research with underrepresented populations, including Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.

  • Christina Eckhardt

    • Postdoctoral Research Fellow

    Christina earned her MD from the State University of New York Downstate College of Medicine and completed her residency training in internal medicine at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. She is currently a postdoctoral research fellow in the division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine at Columbia and is pursuing an MS in patient-oriented research through the Mailman School of Public Health. Her research interests include inhalational exposures and epigenetic changes as a mediator of incident lung disease. Outside of the lab, her interests include triathlons, skiing, and playing soccer. 

  • Feng Gao

    • Postdoctoral Research Scientist

    Feng Gao received his Ph.D. in Computational Science and Environmental Toxicology from Michigan State University. He is interested in machine learning, deep learning, and their applications in environmental health sciences. He received his BS in Chemistry from Nanjing University. Feng has broad interests including reading, photography, and exploring nature.

  • Vrinda Kalia

    • Postdoctoral Research Scientist

    Vrinda Kalia received her Ph.D. in Environmental Health Sciences from Columbia University after having received her MPH in the topic from the same university. She earned her undergraduate degree in pharmacy from Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences in Karnataka, India. Her dissertation work determined the metabolic consequences of proteotoxicity and exposure to the persistent pesticide DDT in the model organism, Caenorhabditis elegans. In the Baccarelli lab, her research focuses on using an exposomic framework to discover environmental drivers of aging. In her free time, she loves to cook, dance, and learning to animate. 

  • Stacia Nicholson

    • Postdoctoral Research Fellow

    Stacia holds both a B.S. and M. S. from St. John’s University, where she majored in Pre-med Toxicology with a minor in Chemistry. Early in her career, she interned and worked as a Research Associate at a major pharmaceutical company in cancer and diabetes research before returning to earn a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Science from St. John’s University. There, she focused on the role of lead toxicity in microglia and other monocytes/macrophage cells and elucidated a novel role for lead as a differentiation agent and possible immune-modulator. Currently, she is an NIH-funded Postdoctoral Research Fellow examining the involvement of air pollution and lead exposure in the development and progression of Alzheimer’s Disease and age-related cognitive disorders. Her goal is to identify and evaluate CNS-derived exosomes and their microRNA cargo linked to environmental toxicant exposure and cognitive decline for use as diagnostic and possible therapeutic agents. 

  • Diddier Prada

    • Associate Research Scientist

    Dr. Prada is a medical doctor from the Industrial University of Santander (Bucaramanga, Colombia), with training in internal medicine at the General Hospital of Mexico (UNAM, Mexico) and obtained his Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Sciences (UNAM, Mexico). Dr. Prada carried out his postdoctoral degree at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (USA) and has been a researcher at the National Cancer Institute – Mexico (NCI-Mx), Professor of Biomedical Informatics of the Faculty of Medicine of the UNAM, and a member of the National System of Researchers in Mexico. Dr. Prada has been a member of the Institutional Review Board at the NCI-Mx and advisor of the Federal Commission for Protection against Health Risks (COFEPRIS) in Mexico. 

  • Aalekhya Reddam

    • Postdoctoral Research Scientist

    Aalekhya graduated from the University of Miami with a BSc in Marine Science and Biology and then went on to earn her Ph.D. in Environmental Toxicology from the University of California, Riverside. Over the course of her undergraduate and graduate research, she transitioned from aquatic toxicology to human health/molecular toxicology and exposure science. For her postdoctoral research, her broad aim is to use her varied experience to study the etiology of human diseases as a function of environmental chemical exposures. In her free time, she loves cooking good food, exploring the city for hidden gems, and finding ways to stay outdoors. 

  • Yike Shen

    • Postdoctoral Research Scientist

    Yike earned her Ph.D. in Crop and Soil Science – Environmental Toxicology with a dual major in Environmental Science and Policy at Michigan State University in 2020. She received her BS in Environmental Science from the University of Alberta in Canada. She is interested in one health, microbiome, and machine learning. She aims to harness high dimensional exposure and omics data in environmental health sciences.

    View Her Website to Learn More

  • Haotian (“Howie”) Wu

    • Associate Research Scientist

    Haotian (“Howie”) Wu earned his Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts - Amherst in Environmental Health Sciences. Howie has an array of research interests and current projects, including, but not limited to phthalates, air pollution, and maternal health in the context of epigenetics. Most recently, he has focused on novel epigenetic biomarkers and cell-specific extracellular vesicles as it relates to environmental exposures. Outside the lab, his passions include teaching, rugby, and video games.

  • Biancamaria Pierri

    • Postdoctoral Research Scientist

    Biancamaria obtained a Ph.D. in Translational Medicine of Development and Active Aging from the University of Salerno in Italy, where she also earned a BS and MS in Biology with honors. She conducted research at the National Reference Center for analysis and correlation study of environment, animals and humans (Zooprophylactic Institute of Southern Italy), focusing on human biomonitoring studies with a particular emphasis on DNA methylation analysis. She also contributed to multiple research projects related to COVID-19. As a Postdoctoral Research Scientist at Baccarelli Lab, her interest is to investigate molecular mechanisms underlying aging and human diseases related to environmental exposure, by implementing Next Generation Sequencing methods and exploring genetic and epigenetic modifications. She is also pursuing a postgraduate specialization school in Medical Genetics at the University of Naples Federico II (Italy). In her free time, she loves good food, traveling, dancing, and relaxing by the sea.

  • Abby Gaylord

    • Postdoctoral Research Fellow

    Abby received her PhD in Epidemiology from the NYU School of Medicine in 2022, where she worked with the Department of Environmental Pediatrics on several projects using data from the NYU Children’s Health and Environment Study and other birth cohorts. Her dissertation work focused on cord blood methylomic and transcriptomic signatures associated with prenatal exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals. Prior to attending NYU, Abby earned her MPH from the EHS department at Mailman and a BS in pharmacology from the University at Buffalo. In the Baccarelli lab she continues to examine biomarkers of prenatal and early childhood exposures and adverse health outcomes in childhood, with a specific focus on epigenetic mechanisms. Outside of the lab she spends her time baking, reading, and exploring new parks and hikes with her dog. 

Visiting Scientists/Students

  • Yara Beyh

    • Staff Associate

    Yara S. Beyh is a Ph.D. candidate in Nutrition and Health Sciences at Emory University Rollins School of Public Health. Prior to joining Emory, Yara completed her Bachelor of Science and Master’s Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics at the American University of Beirut (AUB). She also served as a Research Assistant in Biostatics at AUB and an Instructor in Nutrition and Food Science at the Lebanese University. Her research investigates the exposure to risk factors during childhood on the development of diabetes in low and middle-income countries.

    Yara’s research interest focuses on examining the role of environmental exposure Phthalates, and some epidemiologic measures on the risk of diabetes in childhood. Using artificial intelligence, single-cell RNA sequencing, and the cell-chat method, Yara’s research leverages the latest technology and investigative tools to understand how cells communicate with one another in the process of developing diabetes at a young age.

  • Alex Johnson

    Alexander is a 4th-year medical student at the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons completing a research year with the Baccarelli Laboratory. He graduated from UCLA in 2017 with a BS in Human Biology and Society and a minor in Theater. He is interested in learning more about how human health and the environment interact in hopes of creating healthier and more equitable urban spaces. Being in the ocean, cooking, and looking at buildings in New York City are a few of his favorite things.


  • Gayatri Ketavarapu

    • Master's Student

    Gayatri graduated from Claremont McKenna College in 2019 with a BA in Molecular Biology. After receiving her undergraduate degree, she moved to New York from California and conducted research for a few years in a synthetic protein engineering lab at NYU. She is currently pursuing her MPH in Epidemiology with a certificate in Molecular Epidemiology at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health. In her free time, Gayatri loves trying new restaurants, reading, crafting, and hanging out with friends and family. 

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