top of page

Keisha Brown

Keisha is a proud  resident and former Vice President of the Harriman Park Neighborhood Association of Birmingham, AL.  She started going to neighborhood meetings as a child and saw the community as her family.  She wants to make others aware of the needs of her community and uses her love of science to work together on addressing concerns in the community.  One example of her involvement is her leadership role in the after school program, Education to Action:  Supporting Youth Leadership through Environmental Education.  She works hard to provide a healthy environment for her family.

Kaya Bryant

Kaya Bryant

Kaya Bryant is a veterinary student at Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine. For the summer, she is part of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine Summer Research Program. Kaya is working under the mentorship of Dr. Gohlke to determine the behavioral and lifestyle factors that predispose pet dogs to elevated heat exposure

Mary Evans

Mary B Evans serves as Deputy Director of the UAB Center for the Study of Community Health, one of 26 CDC-designated Prevention Research Centers across the nation.  She leads the Community Engagement and Training units for the Center and has been involved in community-engaged programs and research for 20+ years.  

Pranavi Ghugare

Seeing my parents working in environmental field since past 25 years motivated me to pursue my career in the same field.  My areas of interest are: Air pollution,prevention and control,Water and Wastewater engineering, Solid and Hazardous waste engineering and management. I did my Bachelor’s in Environmental Engineering in India. During my undergrad, I was involved in a research project on nutrients’ removal / inactivation in lake water for eutrophication control under revival and conservation of an urban lake. I am pursuing my Master’s of Science in Environmental Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University. At JHU, I am involved in a team summer research Baltimore open air project where my responsibilities are Testing custom temperature and air quality sensor suites under lab and outdoor conditions and deploying sensors across Baltimore City. I am grateful that I got a chance to be part of ENACT and got an opportunity to study environmental effects on human health in Alabama. I also look upon this as an amazing experience to travel places, meet team members and learn new things!

Julia M Gohlke, PhD

Julia's research is focused on how climate change is affecting human health. In collaboration with community partners and other researchers, she is working on identifying exposures and behaviors that lead to heat-related health outcomes and designing adaptation solutions for vulnerable populations.  Julia grew up in rural West Virginia, and spent 5 years at University of Alabama at Birmingham before coming to Virginia Tech.  


Ethel Johnson

Ethel grew up and raised her family in Camden, AL part of Wilcox County Alabama.  She has always worked hard, but didn’t find her passion until she served as Outreach Coordinator for the Department of Human Resources.  There she discovered the joy in improving the lives of those in her community by coordinating Toys for Tots, the clothing pantry, getting residents to their doctors’ appointments, implementing a health and wellness program in the school system, and serving on several health advisory boards.  She has also enjoyed training community health advisers and loves seeing the positive changes in her community like people eating healthier and walking to stay active.  She’s served her community for over 20 years.  She enjoys working to show how the environment affects the health of the community.  Her main goal is to have quality healthcare in her community.  

Linsey Marr, PhD

Dr. Marr's research is motivated by the fact that air pollution is responsible for 7 million premature deaths per year worldwide. She is interested in identifying and quantifying sources of air pollution and its impact on people to provide the scientific basis for policies that can improve air quality and health.

Leslie McClure, PhD

Dr. McClure has diverse research interests, ranging from statistical methodology to environmental epidemiology. Of most relevance to this project, she is interested in racial and geographic disparities in diseases and the role that the environment plays in those disparities. In addition, she loves to teach and to work with students, and has been recognized by the UAB for her outstanding teaching and mentoring skills.

Claudiu Lungu, PhD

Dr. Lungu is an environmental health researcher with interests in occupational exposure assessment and control of dangerous gases and vapors in the workplace. He is also interested in translating occupational exposure measurements techniques to environmental exposures, where much lower concentrations are typical. This raises an important environmental health question: What are the levels of quantifiable air pollution that can be measured in various communities and how are these levels correlated with particular local parameters such as population density and environmental conditions?

Mike Milazzo

Michael is a graduate student working with Dr. Marr. He is interested in the sources of air pollution and their impact on community health. His current research involves measuring volatile organic compounds (VOCs) across the city of Birmingham and Wilcox County to better determine their risk to health.

Molly Richardson, PhD

Molly is a native of Birmingham.  During her graduate school experience, she became interested in scientific research related to how the environment affects human health.  She became involved in research studies in the Black Belt region and urban Birmingham.  She is excited to continue working with community groups to continue building partnerships to address important environmental health priorities in the communities.


Anna Scott

Anna is interested in how the environment and the air around us affects our health.  She is a PhD student in the Earth and Planetary Science Department at the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins. Her thesis research looks at quantifying urban temperature variability and heat waves, but she has been known to dabble in projects on regional hydrology, the climate impacts of aerosols, and North African precipitation.

Sheryl Threadgill-Matthews

Sheryl is a native of Camden located in Wilcox County of the Black Belt region in Alabama.  She has a long history of advocating for civil rights and for children.  Her greatest desire is for every child to have an education.  She has served in numerous leadership roles for the community-based non-profit BAMA Kids, Inc. (Better Activities Make All-Around Kids) for over 22 years.   She also serves on several advisory boards promoting community development and improvement.

Sheila Tyson

Sheila has dedicated her life to causes that uplift members of the community.  She is native of Birmingham from the West End neighborhood and currently serves as Birmingham City Councilor for District 6.  She has served as a leader and advocate for several community organizations including founding the non-profit Friends of West End.  She has worked with various community partners to develop programs that revitalize and empower the community. 

Suwei Wang

Suwei is a doctoral student from Translational Biology, Medicine, and Health (TBMH) program at Virginia Tech. She is a new member of Dr. Julia Gohlke’s lab in environmental health field. Her research interest is improving human health by studying the impact of environmental changes. She is very excited about ENACT because it allows her to work on data collected from participants who may be directly affected by environmental exposures. Suwei grew up in Beijing, China and she earned her Master’s degree from North Carolina State University in 2016.

Connor Wu, PhD

Connor has been the Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Population Health Sciences at Virginia Tech since February 2016. Before that, he was the research associate at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) with the primary responsibilities to investigate the association between historical plague outbreaks and climate change from the GIS perspective. He earned a PhD in Geography from HKU, a Msc in Geomatics (GIS) from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and a BE in Computer Science from the Beijing Normal University. He has experience in data collection and mining, statistics, and spatio-temporal analysis with GIS skills, and his research interests include public health, epidemiology, climate change, and transportation safety.

Ben Zaitchik, PhD

Ben Zaitchik is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Johns Hopkins University. His research focuses on the drivers and impacts of climate variability from local to regional scale. This includes work on the atmospheric dynamics of extreme heat events and on the causes and consequences of the Urban Heat Island—a phenomenon in which cities can be several degrees warmer than surrounding areas.   Ben is excited about ENACT because it is an opportunity to develop environmental research in direct response to community needs. It’s a great opportunity to work with an interdisciplinary team that is motivated first and foremost with health and well-being. That perspective and sense of priorities helps to guide our physically-based climate and air quality analyses, and it provides the ultimate test of our work’s value for the communities we work with.

Community Advisory Board members not pictured above

Kirsten Bryant

Matt Lacke

Willie Lampley

Aundretta Montgomery

Steve Wood

bottom of page