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
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 third study, also conducted in partnership with the
Akwesasne Mohawk Nation, examines the relationship of pollutants to the
reproductive health of Akwesasne women who are concerned that pollution
exposure may have damaged their ability to have children.
Children's Environmental Health Studies (CEHS)
Albany Pregnancy Infancy Lead Study (APILS)
Mohawk Adolescent Well-Being Study (MAWBS)
Young Adult Well-Being Study (YAWBS)