Assistant Research Scientist Haneen Khreis with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s (TTI’s) Center for Advancing Research in Transportation Emissions, Energy, and Health (CARTEEH) has been awarded the prestigious 2018 Rebecca James Baker Award by the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology (ISEE). Khreis received this award for her work on the influence of traffic-related air pollution on childhood-onset asthma. | Read an interview with Khreis about her work: “The Impact of Air Pollution on Childhood Asthma”
According to ISEE, the award “was created in memory of Dr. Rebecca Baker, a young investigator with a commitment to environmental epidemiology as a tool for improving public health and quality of life. The award is given to new investigators who embody her approach to epidemiological research.” The organization has recognized Khreis’s work, her commitment to the principles outlined in the prize criteria, and strong letters of recommendation. She is the first engineer-in-training to receive this award.
Khreis’s research, Exposure to Traffic Related Air Pollution and Risk of Development of Childhood Asthma: Results from the Born in Bradford Cohort Study, assesses and quantifies the relationship between the onset of childhood asthma and the exposure to traffic-related air pollution. It also considers how ethnicity might impact the likelihood asthma will develop in children exposed to air pollution caused by traffic.
“Not all people are equally susceptible to the adverse effects of air pollution,” Khreis says. “Yet, few studies exist that look at how ethnicity might modify the risk of children developing asthma as a result of exposure to air pollution.”
In her research, Khreis studied a largely bi-ethnic pool of White British and Pakistani children in the Born in Bradford cohort. Born in Bradford is tracking the health of over 30,000 residents of Bradford, England—including some 13,500 children—to determine “what influences the health and wellbeing of families.” Khreis looked specifically at how exposure to traffic-related air pollution might influence the development of asthma in childhood among the two ethnic groups. Her initial results clearly suggest that associations were stronger in the Pakistani children in the cohort, especially considering traffic markers in the study area, like nitrogen oxides and black carbon. Khreis presented this work at the Joint Annual Meeting of the International Society of Exposure Science and the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology (ISES-ISEE 2018), in Ottawa, Canada, August 26–30, 2018.
“Dr. Khreis’s research on the relationship between air pollution and childhood onset asthma is groundbreaking and exactly the kind of innovative approach to studying health and the environment that our center is becoming known for,” says TTI Assistant Agency Director Joe Zietsman, who leads CARTEEH for the Institute. “She’s already become a thought leader in the subject matter, and the center and the industry as a whole will no doubt benefit from more of her findings in the very near future.”