Faculty Member

Howard Hu M.D., M.P.H., Sc.D.

Email Address(es)
Office Phone
Office Address
Health Sciences Building 155 College Street, 6th Floor Toronto, Ontario M5T 3M7
Deans Corner, Toronto Environmental Molecular Epidemiology Research Group
Curriculum Vitae
Clinical Public Health Division
Epidemiology Division
Occupational & Environmental Health Division
Office of Global Public Health Education & Training
SGS Status
Full Member
Appointment Status
Admin Position

Research Interests

  • Epidemiologic and toxicologic research related to heavy metals, potential endocrine disruptors
  • Gene-environment interactions; epigenetic dysregulation
  • Fetal exposures and long-term effects
  • Aging-environment interactions
  • Environmental health and human rights
  • Health and the global environment
  • Multiple chemical sensitivities syndrome

Education & Training History


9/1973-6/1976 Biology B.Sc. Brown University

9/1977-6/1982 Medicine M.D. Albert Einstein College of Medicine

9/1979-6/1980 (degree in 6/1982*) M.P.H. (Occ Hlth) Harvard School of Public Health

9/1985-6/1986 Epidemiology M.S. Harvard School of Public Health

7/1986-6/1990 Epidemiology Sc.D. Harvard School of Public Health

* Awarding of the M.P.H. to medical students is delayed until the M.D. degree is conferred


Research Fellowships

7/1987-6/1988 Occupational Health Research Fellow, Dept. of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health

Internship and Residencies

7/1982-6/1983 Intern in Medicine, Boston City Hospital

7/1983-6/1984 Junior Assistant Resident, Internal Medicine, Boston City Hospital

7/1984-6/1985 Senior Assistant Resident, Internal Medicine, Boston City Hospital

7/1985-6/1987 Resident, Occupational Medicine, Harvard School of Public Health

Other Affiliations

1999 – International Society for Environmental Epidemiology
1987 – Member, American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
1987 – Member, American Public Health Association
1987 – Member, Physicians for Human Rights
2009 – Member, Society for Toxicology
2012 – Member, Canadian Public Health Association


What is the Role of Schools of Public Health in the 21st century? A Panel of Deans (McGill University, May, 2015)

In conversation with Dr. Paul Farmer (with Dean Howard Hu; University of Toronto, June, 2014)

Collaborative Program in Neuroscience Distinguished Lecture by Dr. Howard Hu (University of Toronto, September, 2016)

Asean Institute for Health and Development (6th Asia-Pacific Conference on Public Health, Bangkok, Thailand, August, 2016)

Primary Teaching Responsibilities

Guest Lectures:

Introduction to Public Health (Introduction to Public Health Sciences, CHL5004H);

Introduction to Public Health (Determinants of Community Health, UT Medical School);

The Toxicology of Metals (Industrial Toxicology, CHL 5912F);

The Challenges of Environmental Health in a Rapidly-Changing World, from the Molecular to the Global (Doctoral Seminar, Collaborative Doctoral Program in Global Health, CHL 5701H)

Research Seminar:

Introduction to Environmental Epidemiology (in preparation for 2014).

Professional Summary & Appointments

Dr. Hu came to the University of Toronto as the Dalla Lana School of Public Health’s second permanent Director and Professor of Environmental Health, Epidemiology and Global Health; and Professor of Medicine in the Faculty of Medicine in July of 2012. On July 1, 2013, after leading the Dalla Lana School of Public Health through the process of becoming the first new Faculty at the University of Toronto in 15 years, he became the School’s inaugural Dean. Dr. Hu is a physician-scientist, trained as an internist, occupational and environmental medicine specialist, and epidemiologist. Previously, he had been Professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and the Channing Laboratory of the Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts (1988-2006) and the NSF International Chair of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences and Professor of Environmental Health, Epidemiology & Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan (2006-2012).

Honours & Awards

1978-1982 National Health Service Corps Scholarship

1985-1988 National Research Service Award

1990-1992 Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Clinical Environmental Medicine Award

1994 Will Solimene Award of Excellence, American Medical Writers Association, for: Chivian E, McCally M, Hu H, Haines H, eds. Critical Condition: Human Health and the Environment. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1993.

1997 Alice Hamilton Lecturer, University of California at San Francisco

1998 First Prize for Best Infant Nutrition Research, Instituto Danone, Mexico (for González-Cossío T, Peterson KE, Sanín L, Fishbein SE, Palazuelos E, Aro A, Hernández-Avila M, Hu H. “Decrease in birth weight in relation to maternal bone lead burden.” (Published in Pediatrics)

1999 National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences “Progress and Achievement of the Year Award”, 1998-1999

1999 True Memorial Lecturer, Maine Medical Center, Portland ME.

2000-2001 Faculty Sabbatical Award, Harvard School of Public Health

2000-2001 Senior Fulbright Scholar in India

2001 Hoopes Prize, Faculty Mentorship (for Senior Thesis of Charles Lin, “More than Black and White: Lead Poisoning as an Environmental Justice Issue in Boston”

2003 Best Paper in Preventive Medicine by a Medical Student (for Senior Thesis of Vanitha Janakiraman; Janakiraman V, Hu H, Mercado-Garcia A, Hernandez-Avila M. A randomized crossover trial of nocturnal calcium supplements to suppress bone resorption during pregnancy. Am J Prev Med 2003;24:260-4.). American College of Preventive Medicine, Ulrich and Ruth Frank Foundation for International Health.

2004 Das Travel Grant Award, The South Asia Initiative, Harvard University (for Travel in India)

2005 Adolph G. Kammer Merit in Authorship Award, the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (for Rhodes D, Spiro A, Aro A, Hu H “Relationship of Bone and Blood Lead Levels to Psychiatric Symptoms: The Normative Aging Study”, Published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine)

2006 Teacher of the Year Award, Occupational/Environmental Medicine Residents, Harvard School of Public Health

2006 Harriett Hardy Award, the New England College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

2009 Linus Pauling Award for Lifetime Achievements, American College for the Advancement of Medicine

2010 Nomination to the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences (not elected this round)

2011 Award for Excellence, American Public Health Association

2015 John R. Goldsmith Award (for Outstanding Contributions to the field), International Society for Environmental Epidemiology

Current Research Projects

Dr. Hu is the founder of an environmental and molecular epidemiology research group that, since 1990, has grown into a multi-institutional and international team of scientists devoted to gaining new insights into the impacts of exposure to potentially toxicants that are of critical importance to public health and medicine. The team applies multi-disciplinary and novel methods for assessing environmental exposures, genetics/genomics, epigenetics, nutrition, psychosocial factors and clinical measurements in epidemiologic studies of child development and adult chronic disease in populations around the world. With Principal Investigators and major collaborations based mainly at the Harvard School of Public Health, the University of Michigan, the National Institute of Mexico, Sri Ramachandra University (Chennai, India), the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and now the University of Toronto, Dr. Hu and colleagues have a number of on-going projects that ultimately aim to shed light on preventable factors that contribute to the mental and physical development of children as well as to the causation of cardiovascular disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s disease, hearing loss, and a variety of other chronic diseases. Dr. Hu has published over 250 original papers in the scientific literature, co-authored and edited several books, and served as the Founding and now Associate Medical Editor of Environmental Health Perspectives, the official journal of the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). His work has won a number of awards, such as the 1999 NIEHS Progress and Achievement Award, the 2006 Harriett Hardy Award, the 2009 Linus Pauling Lifetime Achievement Award, and the 2011 Award of Excellence from the American Public Health Association.

Dr. Hu has also served on four fact-finding missions and on the Board of Directors for Physicians for Human Rights, and he was the Chair of the Research Commission for the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. He also served on the Institute of Medicine’s Board of Population Health & Public Health Practice and currently serves on the National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council for the U.S. National Institutes for Health.

Dr. Hu received his Sc.B. from Brown University, his M.D. degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and his M.P.H. and Sc.D. degrees (Epidemiology) from the Harvard School of Public Health. He trained in internal medicine at Boston City Hospital and in occupational/environmental medicine at Harvard.

Representative Publications

Roy A, Hu H, Bellinger DC, Mukherjee B, Modali R, Nasaruddin K, Schwartz J, Wright RO, Ettingre AS, Palaniapan K, Balakrishnan K, (January, 2011). Hemoglobin, Lead Exposure, and Intelligence Quotient: Effect Modification by the DRD2 Taq 1A Polymorphism. Environmental Health Perspectives, 1, 144-9.

Bush KF, Luber G, Kotha SR, Dhaliwal RS, Kapil V, Pascual M, Brown DG, Frumkin H, Dhiman RC, Hess J, Wilson ML, Balakrishnan K, Eisenberg J, Kaur T, Rood R, Batterman S, Joseph A, Gronlund CJ, Agrawal A, Hu H. (2011). Impacts of Climate Change on Public Health in India: Future Research Directions. Environmental Health Perspectives

Hu H (2011). Heavy Metals In Kasper DL, Braunwald E, Fauci AS, Hauser SL, Longo DL, JamesonJL, eds. (Ed.) Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, (18th edition). McGraw-Hill (New York).

Wright RO, Schwartz J, Wright R, Park SK, Hu H, Sparrow D, Vokonas P, Baccarelli A (Summer, 2010). Biomarkers of Lead Exposure and DNA Methylation within Retrotransposons Environmental Health Perspectives

Basu N, Abare M, Buchanan S, Cryderman D, Nam D-H, Sirkin S, Schmitt S, Hu H (December, 2010). A combined ecological and epidemiologic investigation of metals exposure amongst indigenous peoples near the Marlin Mine in Western Guatemala Science of the Total Environment, 1, 70-77.

Cantonwine D, Hu H, Téllez-Rojo MM, Sánchez BN, Lamadrid-Figueroa H, Ettinger AS, Mercado-García A, Hernández-Avila M, Wright RO (July, 2010). HFE gene variants modify the association between maternal lead burden and infant birthweight: a prospective birth cohort study in Mexico City, Mexico Environmental Health, 43.

Peters JL, Weisskopf MG, Wright RO, Spiro A, Schwart J, Sparrow D, Nie H, Hu H, Wright RJ (2010). Interaction of Stress, Lead Burden and Age on Cognition in Older Men: The VA Normative Aging Study Environmental Health Perspectives

Weisskopf MG, Weuve J, Nie H, Saint-Hilaire M-H, Sudarsky L, Simon DK, Hersh B, Schwartz J, Wright RO, Hu H (2010). Association of Cumulative Lead Exposure with Parkinson’s Disease Environmental Health Perspectives, 1609-1613.

Weisskopf MG, Jain N, Nie H, Sparrow D, Vokonas P, Schwartz J, Hu H (2009). A prospective study of bone lead concentration and death from all causes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer in the VA Normative Aging Study Circulation

Park, S.K., O’Neill, M.S., Vokonas, P.S., Spiro, A., Tucker, K., Suh, H., Hu, H., Schwartz, J.” (2008). Traffic-related particles are associated with elevated homocysteine: the VA Normative Aging Study American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine