Lawrence M. Schell
Interests: Biological anthropology, medical anthropology, human growth and development, cities and health.
Areas: 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 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)