Lawrence M. Schell

Office: Arts & Sciences Building, Room 116
Ph: (518) 442-4714
E-mail:                                    Publications
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 1980                  Curriculum Vitae

Lawrence M. Schell

Biological anthropology, medical anthropology, human growth and development, cities and health.

Urban North America

Director, Center for the Elimination of Minority Health Disparities

Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

Jointly appointed to the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Research Statement

My research concerns the interrelationship between biology and culture and focuses on biological responses to contemporary urban environments. The urban environment may be the new frontier for human adaptation because more and more people are living in urban environments and these environments are becoming less and less like the environments of our forebearers, i.e., more challenging. I have been researching this topic by looking at the health of people exposed to different features of the urban environment. I began with a study of how noise, as a type of urban stress, affected human development, both prenatal and post-natal. I have since branched out to consider other pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and lead.

I have three current research projects. One looks at the effect of lead on child physical and cognitive development in Albany, NY. It also examines the influence of nutrition and other maternal characteristics on the transfer of lead from mother to fetus and on child development itself. The second project seeks to address the growing concern about the effect of certain pollutants on sexual and physical development. It is a study of how PCBs may affect physical and sexual development during adolescence. This study is conducted in partnership with the Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne in upstate New York. The most recent study is in the pilot stage. It is an assessment of PCB levels in youth from Pittsfield, MA. It is believed that data from this pilot study may provide valuable public health information regarding exposure levels to PCBs and exposure risk of other children in the Pittsfield community.

Graduate students working with me generally attack problems of interest to anthropologists using research methods common in epidemology and public health.


Click on the headings below to learn about current graduate research under Dr. Schell:

Children's Environmental Health Studies (CEHS)

Albany Pregnancy Infancy Lead Study (APILS)

Mohawk Adolescent Well-Being Study (MAWBS)

Young Adult Well-Being Study (YAWBS)


2014 The perils of modern environments and how do we judge if environments are good or bad? L. M. Schell. In, Modern Environments and Human Health: Revisiting the Second Epidemiologic Transition., edited by M. K. Zuckerman. Pp. 267-278. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley- Blackwell.

Relationship of polychlorinated biphenyls, dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p,p’-DDE) with testosterone levels in adolescent males. L.M. Schell, M.V. Gallo, , G. Deane, K. Nelder, A. Jacobs and the Akewasasne Task Force on the Environment. Environmental Health Perspectives 122(3): 304-309. DOI:10.1289/ehp.1205984.

PCBs and ADHD in Mohawk adolescents. J. Newman, B. Behforooz, A.G. Khuzwayo, M.V. Gallo, L.M. Schell, Akwesasne Task Force on the Environment. Neurotoxicology and Teratology 42:25-34. doi: 10.1016/

2013 Growth and development. L.M. Schell, M.V. Gallo and K.K. Burnitz. In, Effects of Persistent and Bioactive Organic Pollutants on Human Health. D. O. Carpenter, ed. Pp.532-556. Hoboken, NJ:Wiley-Blackwell.

2012 Transitioning from the Traditional. L. M. Schell. Collegium Antropologicum. 36(4):1129-1134. PMID:

Growth as a mirror: Is endocrine disruption challenging Tanner’s concept? L. M. Schell, K. K. Burnitz and M. V. Gallo. Annals of Human Biology, 39 (5):361-371. doi: 10.3109/03014460.2012.697579..

Environmental effects on growth. L. M. Schell, K. L. Knutson and S. M. Bailey. In, Human Growth and Development, 2nd edition. N. Cameron and B. Bogin, eds., pp. 245-286. NY: Academic Press.

Overweight and obesity among North American Indian infants, children and youth. L.M. Schell and M.V. Gallo. American Journal of Human Biology, 24:302-13. (epub 3-1-2012)

What's NOT to eat- Food adulteration in the context of human biology. L.M. Schell, M. V Gallo and K. Cook. American Journal of Human Biology, 24:139-148. (epub 1-19-2012).

2011 Glossolalia is associated with differences in biomarkers of stress and arousal among Apostolic Pentecostals. C. D. Lynn, J. J. Paris, C. A. Frye and L. M. Schell. Religion, Brain & Behavior, 1(3):173-191.

Levels of persistent organic pollutants and their predictors among young adults. M.V. Gallo, L.M. Schell, A.P. DeCaprio, and A. Jacobs. Chemosphere, 83(10): 1374-1382.

Efecto de la exposición de contaminantes sobre el crecimineto del niño. L. M. Schell and K. Nelder. In, Ensayos sobre crecimiento y desarrollo. V. Fano, M. del Pino, and S. Caino (eds.). Buenos Aires: Paidos.

2010 Salivary alpha-amylase and cortisol among Pentecostals on a worship and non-worship day. C.D. Lynn, J. Paris, C.A. Frye, L.M. Schell. American Journal of Human Biology, 22(6): 819-822 (epub 7-13-2010)

A study of the distribution of aluminum in human placental tissues based on alkaline solubilization with determination by electrothermal atomic absorption spectrometry. P.C. Kruger, L.M. Schell, A.D. Stark and P. J. Parsons. Metallomics, 2, 621-627.

Lanthanide distribution in human placental tissue using membrane desolvation - ICP-MS. P.C. Kruger, L.M. Schell, A.D. Stark and P. J. Parsons. Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 25, 1298-1307.

Industrial pollutants and human evolution. L.M. Schell, In, Human Evolutionary Biology, edited by M. P. Muehlenbein, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 566-580.

Pollution and human biology. L.M. Schell, K.K. Burnitz and P. W. Lathrop. Annals of Human Biology, 37(3): 347-366.

Impact of pollution on physiological systems: Taking Science from the Laboratory to the Field. L.M. Schell. In, Human Variation: From the laboratory to the Field, eds. N. Mascie-Taylor, A. Yasukouchi and S. Ulijaszek (eds), series vol 48. London:Taylor and Francis. Pp. 131-141.

Relationships of putative endocrine disruptors to human sexual maturation and thyroid activity in youth. L. M. Schell and M. V. Gallo, Physiology & Behavior, 99:246-253, (Epub Oct 2009)

2009 Environmental influences on human growth and development. L. M. Schell, M. V. Gallo, J. Ravenscroft. Annals of Human Biology, 36(5):459-77.

Analysis of PCB congeners related to cognitive functioning in adolescents. J Newman, M.V. Gallo, L. M. Schell, A. P. DeCaprio, M. Denham, G. Deane, and the Akwesasne Task Force on the Environment. Neurotoxicology, 30:686-696.

Growth of infants’ length, weight, head and arm circumferences in relation to low levels of blood lead measured serially. L. M. Schell, M. Denham, A. D. Stark, P. Parsons, E. Schulte. American Journal of Human Biology. 21(2): 180-18.

Persistent organic pollutants and anti-thyroid peroxidase levels in Akwesasne Mohawk young adults. L. M. Schell, M. V. Gallo, J. Ravenscroft, A. P. DeCaprio. Environmental Research, 109: 86-92.

2008 Relationship of thyroid hormone levels to levels of polychlorinated biphenyls, lead p,p’- DDE and other toxicants in Akwesasane Mohawk youth. L. M. Schell, M. V. Gallo, M. Denham, J. Ravenscroft, A. P. DeCaprio, and D. O. Carpenter. Environmental Health Perspectives, 116:806-813.