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Graduate student Michael O’Shea uses a handheld vacuum to collect road dust samples around Philadelphia. So far, he has amassed 50 samples and analyzed 30.
Graduate student Michael O’Shea uses a handheld vacuum to collect road dust samples around Philadelphia. So far, he has amassed 50 samples and analyzed 30.
Photo by Eric Sucar
By Michele W. Berger
July 10, 2018

Philadelphia’s rich history and forward momentum make it ripe for scientific inquiry. Penn researchers and students look to the city to study everything from disease interventions to the psychological ramifications of vacant lots, in an effort to better understand human health, mental health, and the environment.

“Environmental components have an impact on our health,” says Reto Gieré, Earth and Environmental Science department chair and advisory board member for the LPS Master of Environmental Studies and Master of Science in Applied Geosciences. “Very often, unfortunately, the largest impacts are in communities less able to defend themselves or stand up for their rights.” With colleagues from PennDesign, the Department of Earth and Environmental Science and the Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology, Gieré is conducting a study on lead in and around homes in two neighborhoods in North Philadelphia.

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