Our Team Members

Principal investigator

Dr. Donghai Liang

Assistant Professor

donghai [dot] liang [at] emory [dot] edu

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As an exposure scientist and molecular epidemiologist, I am particularly interested in characterizing the human exposome and elucidating the molecular mechanisms accounting for the complex health responses to diverse environmental exposures. My current research focuses on studying various ubiquitous pollutants, including air pollution and persistent organic pollutants, and the associated health effects in underserved and vulnerable populations. Using cutting-edge exposure assessment and high throughput omics technologies, I and my team have incorporated high-resolution metabolomics and multi-omics integration into pioneering investigations on the molecular mechanisms and disease etiology associated with various environmental exposures. I have been elected to several national and international leadership positions in academic societies of exposure science, environmental epidemiology, and metabolomics, including Secretary and Academic Councilor of the International Society of Exposure Science (ISES), and Executive Committee Member for COnsortium of METabolomics Studies (COMETS). I am the recipient of the ISES-JESEE Young Investigator Award, the GDEH Department Teaching Award, and the inaugural RSPH Early Career Research Excellence Award.

I currently lead the Environmental Metabolomics and Exposomics Research Group at Emory (EMERGE).

Dr. Jeremy Sarnat

Associate Professor

My research focuses on characterizing human exposure to urban air pollution. My deep interest in environmental exposure science is motivated by the many epidemiologic and toxicologic findings linking air pollution to a range of adverse health endpoints. This body of research has established air pollution as a major contributor to the global burden of disease, although substantial questions remain concerning the specific pollutant sources and chemical components of the urban air mixture most responsible for the observed effects.

Public health interventions will be of limited effectiveness without an improved understanding of the true causal agents of effect as well as the most significant routes of exposure to these agents. Specifically, my research addresses these issues through investigations of factors affecting exposure to urban air pollution, the impact of measurement error in air pollution exposure studies, confounding in epidemiologic analyses with respect to co-pollutant exposures, and the associations between specific pollutant components and sources and corresponding health responses.


Dr. Robert Baltasar Hood


I am currently an epidemiologist in the Department of Epidemiology. I earned my bachelors in biology and public health from Baldwin Wallace University, my Masters of Public Health in epidemiology from the University of Georgia, and my PhD in epidemiology from the Ohio State University. My research focuses on the health impacts of environmental exposures on reproductive health including maternal and child health and development. I utilize metabolomics to understand the underlying biological pathways between environmental exposures and alterations in reproductive health. I am also interested in using metabolomics to identify biomarkers of environmental exposures and reproductive diseases.

First Appointment: Dr. Robert Hood will start his Tenure Track Assistant Professor position at Ohio State University in August, 2024.

Dr. Che-Jung (Rong) Chang

Postdoctoral Fellow

I am a postdoctoral research fellow at NIEHS. My research currently focuses on the environmental exposures, especially endocrine disruptors, in relation to multiple cancers risks. I also utilize different biomarkers and omics to further understand the biological responses underlying the exposure-disease relationship. 

First Appointment: Dr. Rong Chang graduated from the Emory EHS PhD program in 2021. She then joined the intramural research team at US NIEHS for her postdoctoral training.

Zhenjiang Li

Postdoctoral Fellow

I am currently a postdoctoral fellow at university of Southern California, Los Angeles. I received PhD at Gangarosa Department of Environmental Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, supervised by Dr. Donghai Liang. I received my bachelor’s degree in medicine and first master’s degree in epidemiology from Peking University, China. My research in this period focused on the health effect of secondhand smoking during the periconceptional window on the occurrence of neural tube defects. Due to my previous research experience, I have a broad interest in environmental epidemiology, with specific training in omics data analysis and the health effect of air pollution on susceptible populations, such as pregnant women.

First Appointment: Dr. Zhenjiang Li graduated from the Emory EHS PhD program in 2023. He then started his postdoctoral training at University of Southern California.

Sarahna Moyd

Postdoctoral Fellow

I am recent PhD graduate from the Emory Environmental Health Sciences Program. As an emerging data scientist with a passion for story-telling and policy-informing research, I hope to improve equity in environmental and reproductive health via interdisciplinary research. I have a BS in Molecular Cellular Biology and MPH in Maternal and Child Health from the University of Arizona. Early in my career I led public health initiatives on infant feeding practices in Maricopa County (Phoenix, AZ) and assessed national needs of children and youth with special health care needs in accessing medical care (AMCHP in Washington, DC). These experiences highlighted the direct and indirect roles of our collective environments on health. I chose to pivot to research which led me to Rollins. I recently completed a 2nd masters in Environmental Health as part of my PhD training at Emory University. Now as as doctoral candidate, my goals are to apply interdisciplinary methodologies in molecular epidemiology, -omics, and computational toxicology to improve life, wellness, and public health policy in reproductive health.

First Appointment: Dr. Sarahna Moyd recently graduated from the Emory EHS PhD program in 2024. She will join the intramural research team at US NIEHS for her postdoctoral training in summer 2024.

Group Members

Susan Buckenmaier

PhD Candidate

I am a 4th year PhD candidate in the Department of Epidemiology at Rollins School of Public Health.  Before coming to Emory, I received my BS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Dickinson College (Go Red Devils!) and my MPH in Epidemiology from the University of Maryland (Go Terps!).  Between my MPH and my doctoral education, I worked at the National Cancer Institute as a Cancer Research Training Award Fellow with the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences.  My interests are in persistent organic pollutants and their impact on reproductive health and how metabolomics mediate observed associations.  Currently, I am working with Dr. Liang on projects evaluating risk score approaches for metabolomic data and metabolic changes in response to exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals.  In my free time, I love running, eating ice cream, and enjoying the Atlanta sunshine.

Kasthuri Sivalogan

PhD Candidate

I am a 4th year PhD student in the Nutrition & Health Sciences program at Emory University. Prior to this, I received by BS and MPH from Boston University and worked for the Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance Network at Emory’s Global Health Institute. For my dissertation, I am using metabolomics and microbiome data to investigate the role of household air pollution on maternal and infant nutrition.

Ziyin Tang

PhD Candidate

I am a 3rd year Ph.D. candidate in the Gangarosa Department of Environmental Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University. I studied Preventive Medicine for my bachelor’s degree at School of Public Health, Southern Medical University (SMU). Currently, my areas of interests mainly focus on exploring molecular mechanisms underlying air pollution-related health impacts and developing novel metabolomics biomarkers of air pollution exposure with the application of untargeted metabolomics.

Kaitlin Taibl

PhD Candidate

I am a 3rd year Environmental Health Sciences PhD candidate at Emory University where I also graduated with an Environmental Health and Epidemiology MSPH in 2021. In my research, I use a life course approach to understand the relationships between metabolism-disrupting chemical exposures and cardiometabolic health outcomes, particularly those concerning critical windows for development and populations experiencing environmental injustices. I am trained in leveraging high-throughput molecular epidemiology tools, including ultra-high-resolution metabolomics, and an enthusiastic learner of all things exposomics.

Simon (Chin-An) Yang

PhD Candidate

I am a third-year PhD candidate in the Nutrition & Health Sciences program at Emory University. Before entering Emory, I received my BS and MS from National Taiwan University (NTU) and worked in the Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Academia Sinica. My research interests include nutritional -omics and microbiome, investigating the underlying mechanisms and potential biomarkers on non-communicable diseases.

James (Jiada) Zhan

PhD Student

I am a current Nutrition and Health Sciences Ph.D. student at Emory University. For my dissertation, I am studying the effect of microbial metabolites on Alzheimer’s disease via literature review, big data analysis, and animal/cell model validation, supervised by Drs. Dean Jones (Chair) and Young-Mi Go (Co-Chair). My research interests include metabolomics, gut/oral microbiome, bioactive compounds in foods, machine learning, and dietary pattern analysis. I created an R package (dietaryindex) that is a versatile informatics tool that allows for the standardized compilation and analysis of dietary pattern indexes for researchers in the field of nutrition, epidemiology, and medicine using NHANES and all other nutrition-related databases and assessment tools ( I received my master’s degree in public health nutrition and the Registered Dietitian credential at Case Western Reserve University and my bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics at Purdue University.  

Youran Tan

PhD Student

I am current a 2nd year Ph.D. student in the Gangarosa Department of Environmental Health. I graduated from department of Epidemiology for master degree, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University. My research interests include environmental epidemiology and MCH (maternal and child health), especially on the environmental chemical exposure assessment and its related health effect in area of metabolome. 

Sabrina Chow

PhD Student

I’m a first-year PhD student studying Environmental Health-Epidemiology at Rollins. My research interests are in environmental epidemiology, specifically how environmental factors affect mental health and cancer outcomes in vulnerable populations, particularly the disability community. Prior to Rollins, I received my B.S. in Health: Science, Society, and Policy and biology from Brandeis University in Waltham, MA. In my free time, I enjoy doing community service, traveling, and hiking.

Cathy (Duan) Wang

Master student

I am a first-year MPH student studying Environmental Health-Epidemiology at the Rollins School of Public Health. Before coming to Rollins, I received my B.A. in Biology and Science, Technology, and Society from Colby College in Waterville, ME. My research interests are in environmental epidemiology, particularly environmental pollution’s impacts on human health


Benjamin Kessler

MPH Class of 2024

Ben is a recent graduated MPH student studying Environmental Health and Epidemiology at the Rollins School of Public Health.  He received his BS in Physiology from Michigan State University, and after his graduation, he worked for the Pediatric Public Health Initiative, an academic-community partnership in Flint, MI.  His research interests lie in the dietary and environmental risk factors for metabolic diseases, particularly diabetes mellitus and obesity.  In the future, Ben hopes to use epidemiological methods to design and evaluate interventions for these chronic disease states.  Outside of graduate school, Ben loves to explore the Atlanta area and take in everything the South has to offer.

First Appointment: Ben will start his PhD training in the Epidemiology PhD program at University of Michigan in August 2024.

Ethan Li

MPH Class of 2024

Ethan is a recent graduated MPH student at the Rollins School of Public Health in the Environmental Health and Epidemiology program. He graduated from the University of California, Davis with a BS in Genetics and Genomic in June 2022. Prior to graduation, he volunteered as a clinic intern for Bayanihan Clinic and worked for the Aggie Public Health Ambassador program at UC Davis. Ethan’s current research interests are focused on links between environmental factors, especially climate-related exposures, and chronic diseases, and using epidemiological methods to uncover those links and design interventions. Outside of academics, he enjoys cooking, writing, and exploring the Atlanta bar scene. 

First appointment: Ethan will start his MD program at University of Colorado in August 2024.

Xiajie Lyu

MPH Class of 2023

Xiajie is a graduated MPH student in the Gangarosa Department of Environmental Health at Rollins School of Public Health (Class of 2023). She received my Medical Degree in China, and her previous research focused on cancer and its biomarkers. After joining Emory, she expanded my knowledge to focus on population data analysis and health outcomes. Her research interests are the molecular and biochemical metabolites of environmental toxicants and pollutants and their effects on disease etiology, formation, and development. She is particularly interested in cancer and adverse birth outcomes due to prenatal exposure.

First appointment: Medical Resident, Albert Einstein School of Medicine


Yilin Wang

MPH Class of 2023

Yilin is a graduated MPH student in Gangarosa Department of Environmental Health at Rollins School of Public Health (Class of 2023). Her major is environmental health Before studying here, She received my Bachelor of Medicine degree in preventive medicine from Shandong University, China. Her research interests mainly focus on environmental metabolomics, the effect of exposure to pollutants on newborn metabolism and birth outcome. 

First appointment: Research Associate, School of Medicine, Emory University


Priyanka Bhanushali

MPH Class of 2023

Priyanka is a graduated MPH in the Department of Environmental Health at Rollins School of Public Health (Class of 2023). She is a registered Medical Practitioner from India and did my Bachelor’s in Ayurvedic medicine (Indian Medicine) and surgery. Previously, she worked as an intern in healthcare settings and have also worked as a medical officer in the Covid-19 taskforce post her undergraduate. Her interests lie in understanding the impacts of climate on health using the metabolomics approach. As a graduate student, She is keenly interested to understand how an environmental factor impacts health, particularly reproductive health, and birth outcomes, and elucidating its effects, metabolomics is the way to go. Outside academics, She loves painting, hiking, and traveling.

First appointment: Data and Policy Analyst, Acumen, LLC

Haoran Cheng

MPH Class of 2023/ BS Class of 2022

Haoran is a graduated BS/MPH in the Gangarosa Department of Environmental Health at Rollins School of Public Health (Class of 2023). He is interested in various topics related to health and data sciences. His previous research experience was mostly at the macro level, including measuring personal exposure to ambient air pollution and quantifying air quality and associated health and economic burden change using machine learning counterfactual simulations. He is also interested in research at the micro-level, and my specific responsibility within the group involves using a multi-omics approach to look into the impact of air pollutants on the human body on the molecular level, with a particular emphasis on adverse birth outcomes like preterm birth.

First appointment: Enrolled in the MD program in Duke-National University of Singapore Medical School in 2023

Natalie Shen

MPH Class of 2023

Natalie is a graduated MPH student in the Gangarosa Department of Environmental Health at Rollins School of Public Health (Class of 2023). She received B.S. in Microbiology and Cell Sciences from the University of Florida. There, she was involved in wet-lab research in the microbiology department, studying the effects of breastmilk bacteria on the gastrointestinal epithelium. As a graduate student, she is excited to expand my knowledge base to focus more on data analytics and using a multi-omics approach in the research projects that I’m involved in. Her interests lie in the cross-section of environmental toxicants, the gut microbiome, and how ‘omics technology can be utilized to inform future clinical interventions and treatment of diseases associated with enteric dysbiosis.

First appointment: ORISE Fellowship, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Sitong Chen

MPH Class of 2022

Sitong is a graduated MPH student in the Department of Epidemiology at Rollins School of Public Health (Class of 2022). Before Rollins, She received my Bachelor of Science degree from UC San Diego in Family Medicine and Public Health in 2020. Her research interests mainly focus on maternal and child health, birth defects, and environmental epidemiology. In her free time, she’d love to cook and work out.

First appointment: Biostatistician, City of Hope

Xiaojie Zhi

MPH Class of 2021

Xiaojie is a graduated MPH student (Class of 2021) in Gangarosa Department of Environmental Health at the Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, supervised by Dr. Donghai Liang. She’s interested in data analysis and management for air pollution data, laboratory data and clinical trial data. She studied Pharmaceutical Sciences for B.S. in Peking University Health Science Center.

First appointment: Data Analyst, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University

Xiaoyue Zhang
MPH Class of 2021

Xiaoyue is a graduated MPH student (Class of 2021) in Environmental Health at Gangarose Department of Environmental Health. Her research interest mainly lies in environmental metabolomics, effect of exposure to organic pollutants on birth outcome as well as effects of exposure to outdoor air pollution on respiratory health. Her previous research project focused on exploring the association between maternal exposure to phthalates and metabolic perturbation among African American Pregnant Women. Before turning to environmental health, she obtained her bachelor’s degree in Sports Somatic Science from Beijing Sport University in China.

First appointment: Medical Researcher at Shanghai Ruijing Biology Co., Ltd.

Rachel Tchen
MPH Class of 2021

Rachel is a graduated MPH student (Class of 2021) in the Gangarosa Department of Environmental Health at Rollins School of Public Health. Her professional interests are in human health risk assessment, exposure assessment, and toxicology. Before Rollins, she earned a B.S. in Neuroscience from Trinity University in San Antonio, TX.

First appointment: ORISE Fellowship, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Yifan Wang
MPH Class of 2021

Yifan is a graduated MPH student (Class of 2021) in Gangarosa Department of Environmental Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, and hold a B.S. in preventive medicine from Wuhan University, China. Her research interests mainly focus on environmental epidemiology and global health, especially the health impacts of air pollution and climate change on the elderly, women and children and related protective measures. The project she worked on was exploring the association between prenatal exposures to ambient air pollutants and the risk of preterm birth in the Atlanta African American Birth Cohort.

First appointment: Data Analyst, Emory University

Eunheh Koh

As a part of the 4+1 program, Eunheh graduated from Emory College with a degree in Environmental Science in May 2020, and finished her MPH in Environmental Health at Rollins in 2021. Her research focused on prenatal exposure to flame retardants (PBDEs) and how they may be linked to adverse birth outcomes.

Here is her research gate profile:


First appointment: Researcher, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta University