ISCHE Council


Megan K. Horton, PhD
Professor, Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health,
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

About Megan...

Megan Horton is an Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Loyola University Chicago, Master of Arts in Biology from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and Master of Public Health and Ph.D. in Environmental Health Sciences from Columbia University. She received post-doctoral training through the Neuroepidemiology T32 Training Program at Columbia University. Prior to joining Mount Sinai in 2013, she was an Associate Research Scientist in the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia, funded through a K99/R00 award from the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences. Understanding the relationship between environmental factors and neurodevelopment throughout the life course lies at the heart of her research. Her lab integrates exposure science, environmental epidemiology, neuroimaging and advanced statistical approaches to understand how our environment impacts human health.



Martha Maria (Mara) Téllez-Rojo, PhD
National Institute of Public Health of Mexico (INSP)

About Martha...

Martha Maria (Mara) Téllez-Rojo is an epidemiologist from the National Institute of Public Health (INSP) in Mexico. Her research focuses on the long-term effects of environmental toxicants, social stressors and nutritional conditions during gestation and infancy. From 2004-2014, Mara headed the Statistical Division at INSP where she directed program evaluations of social interventions and national health surveys. Much of her recent work focuses on shaping health policy about lead exposure in Mexico. Mara currently serves as vice-president of the International Society for Children’s Health and the Environment. She is also the site PI for ELEMENT (Early Live Exposure in Mexico to Environmental Toxicants project) and PROGRESS (Program Research in Obesity, Growth, Environment and Social Stressors). Both are ongoing birth cohorts which investigate the health effects of environmental exposures over the life course in Mexico. In the last ten years, Mara has collaborated with Dr. Elizabeth F.S. Roberts, an anthropologist, to develop a bioethnographic framework for asking and answering biosocial questions in both cohorts.



Ana Maria Mora, PhD
University of California, Berkeley

About Ana Maria...

Dr. Ana Maria Mora is a researcher at the Center for Environmental Research and Community Health (CERCH) at UC Berkeley School of Public Health. She completed her MD degree at University of Costa Rica in 2005 and her PhD in Epidemiology at UC Berkeley School of Public

Health in 2014. Dr. Mora completed her postdoctoral fellowship in Environmental Health at Boston University School of Public Health in 2017. Her research focuses on the effects of the exposure to environmental toxicants (e.g., pesticides, metals, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) on the health of vulnerable populations including pregnant women, children, and farmworkers in Latin American countries and the U.S. Recently, she conducted several studies on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic among farmworkers in California and Mexico. She is an active member of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology (ISEE), the International Society for Children's Environmental Health (ISCHE), and the International Childhood Leukemia Consortium (CLIC).



Wendy Heiger-Bernays, PhD
Clinical Professor, Boston University School of Public Health

About Wendy...

Wendy Heiger-Bernays, PhD is a clinical professor in the Department of Environmental Health at the BU School of Public Health where she applies her training in molecular toxicology to practical questions about the impact of industrial chemicals, consumer products and pharmaceuticals in water and waste streams on people’s health. Dr. Heiger-Bernays investigates and employs methods to decrease health risks to impacted populations from environmental stressors. Her current research focuses on the toxicology and associated health risks of exposure to PFAS chemicals and polychlorinated biphenyls. Dr. Heiger-Bernays’ work relies on innovative technology and information transfer of the science to multiple audiences, including environmental regulatory and health agencies as well as with advocacy and community groups. She currently serves as a member of the MA Science Advisory Board for the Toxics Use Reduction Act, the USEPA Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals and she serves as Chair of her local board of health. She is the immediate past-president of the International Society for Children’s Health and Environment.


Tom Webster, PhD
Professor of Environmental Health, Boston University School of Public Health

About Tom...

Dr. Webster is Professor of Environmental Health at Boston University School of Public Health where he teaches environmental epidemiology and exposure modeling. His main research interests are 1) exposure and health effects of chemical exposures, with a particular current focus on PFAS, 2) the biological effects of mixtures from the perspectives of toxicology, epidemiology and exposure science. He has previously been involved with a number of USEPA and National Academies committees.


Carly Hyland, PhD
University of California, Berkeley

About Carly...

Dr. Hyland is an Assistant Professor in Climate Resilience and Labor in the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley. Her work focuses on characterizing and mitigating environmental and occupational hazards among farmworkers and those living in agricultural communities, including children.


Nosiku Munyinda, PhD

Lecturer and Researcher, Pollution Control and Toxicology, University of Zambia

About Nosiku...

Nosiku Munyinda is a Lecturer and Researcher responsible for the Environmental Pollution and Toxicology Unit in the Department of Environmental Health- School of Public Health at the University of Zambia. In her current position, she coordinates and teaches various courses under this section. She has a broad background in environmental science and environmental management with specific training and expertise in Natural Resources Management (BSc) and Environmental Engineering and Sustainable Infrastructure (MSc). She also has a PhD Study in Environmental Health and he study focus was on “Recent Exposure to DDT and Neurodevelopmental Outcomes in Children of selected communities in Zambia”. Her research interests lie in the interactions of chemical exposures in different settings with human health and generally the impact of economic development, Climate Change and its resulting pollution on the health of the populations. She has special interest in children and their mothers as a sub-population. She is also interested in Occupational Toxicology and Hygiene. Lastly, Dr. Munyinda was the Principle Investigator and Co-Principle Investigator for the World Bank Project in Kabwe on Health Interventions on lead exposed children and JICA Supported Chemical Visualization and Chronic Chemical Hazard Project respectively. She has also been part of a World Health Organization (WHO) research team to monitor DDT levels in pooled breastmilk samples of mothers in selected locations of Zambia.


Cecilia S. Alcala, PhD, MPH
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

About Cecilia...

Dr. Cecilia Sara Alcala is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Environmental Pediatrics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, NY. She received a Masters in Public Health degree in Environmental and Occupational Health at the Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health, and her Doctorate degree in Environmental Health Sciences at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Her research focuses on how chemical and non-chemical stressors cause respiratory disease in children, and developing effective translation strategies to improve children’s health, especially underserved children. Dr. Alcala is an ISCHE Council Member representing the Early Career Researchers. She is the Chair of the ISCHE Communications Committee, and serves on the Planning Committee and Research to Action Fellowship Committee.


Paulina Farías, MD, PhD, MS
Researcher, Environmental Health Department
National Institute of Public Health, Mexico

About Paulina...

Paulina Farías is a medical doctor with a master's in Environmental Health and a doctorate in Epidemiology who is passionate about translational research. She is a full-time researcher and faculty member at Mexico’s National Institute of Public Health (INSP) in the Environmental Health Department, a Panamerican Health Organization (PAHO) collaborative center for which Paulina acts as the chemical substances representative. She is also the Population Health Research Center’s spokesperson before INSP’s Research Committee. For 25 years, Paulina has collaborated with national and international multidisciplinary teams in epidemiological research and health risk assessment projects on chemicals and their association with health outcomes, focusing on vulnerable populations in Mexico and South Africa. Her studies, published in peer-reviewed, scientific journals, have over 1400 citations; she has co-authored Mexico’s new official norms for lead both in air and in blood, the official national guide for the clinical management of lead poisoning, and the guidelines for Mexico’s planned epidemiological surveillance system for blood lead levels. Paulina is a member of: Mexico’s National Researchers’ System (SNI), a governmental agency that certifies its members’ credentials and work; Mundo Químico (Chemical World), a consortium that provides technical guidance on integrated management of chemicals; and the International Society for Children’s Health and the Environment’s (ISCHE) council.


Alexis Handal, PhD, MPH

Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology

Professor of Global Public Health, University of Michigan School of Public Health

About Alexis...

Alexis Handal's research expertise is in occupational and environmental epidemiology, reproductive epidemiology, social epidemiology, and global health, and in particular, she works with Latinx and Indigenous populations in Latin America and in the United States. Dr. Handal studies the impact of large-scale agricultural production on the health of workers and surrounding communities, and with a particular focus on the health of female workers and pregnant workers and their families. Her community-engaged and participatory research approach uses a health equity lens focusing on understanding the interconnection between chemical exposures, and social and work stressors and supports in the context of precarious employment, on worker health and on maternal and child health and development. Dr. Handal's research interests also include exploring the health impact of worker's rights for pregnant employees, including an examination of worker protection legislation and gender discrimination on maternal and child health. Dr. Handal appreciates and promotes the use of community-based

participatory research (CBPR) and mixed methods approaches in epidemiologic research.