Executive Committee

Dr. Cheryl Lyn Walker, Director

Photo of Dr. Cheryl Walker, Director

Dr. Cheryl Lyn Walker is the Director of the Gulf Coast Center for Precision Environmental Health (GC-CPEH) at Baylor College of Medicine, where she holds the Alkek Presidential Chair in Environmental Health and is a Professor in the departments of Molecular & Cell Biology and Medicine. Dr. Walker is internationally recognized for her work in environmental health and elucidation of molecular mechanisms of disease. Her studies on the role of the epigenome in gene-environment interactions have yielded significant insights into mechanisms by which early life environmental exposures influence health and disease across the life-course. She also directs the NIEHS T32 Training Program in Precision Environmental Health.

Dr. Cornelis “Kees” Elferink, Co-Director–UTMB

Photo of Dr. Cornelis “Kees” Elferink, Co-Director

Dr. Kees Elferink is the Co-Director of the GC-CPEH at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB at Galveston) where he is a Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. Dr. Elferink’s research program has been continuously funded since 1996 and centers on the role of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor in gene x environment interactions. The research has provided a mechanistic understanding of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor’s role in epigenetic regulation of gene expression in liver homeostasis and disease in response to environmental pollutants. He was also the PI and Director on a NIEHS U19 consortium study examining the human health impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill (2011-2017). He has trained PhD and MD-PhD students and mentored post-doctoral fellows and early-career faculty and has served on several NIH study sections including Xenobiotic and Nutrient Disposition and Action and is currently Chair of SIEE. In addition to serving as the GC-CPEH Co-Director, Dr. Elferink directs the Center’s Pilot Project Program.  

Dr. Elaine Symanski, Deputy Director

Dr. Elaine Symanski is the Deputy Director of the GC-CPEH at BCM and directs the GC-CPEH Integrated Health Sciences Facility Core. Dr. Symanski is an expert in the development and application of quantitative methods for modeling occupational and environmental exposures, and investigations into associated health effects, particularly among vulnerable populations. She employs community-based participatory research approaches, along with rigorous exposure assessment and epidemiologic methods, in her research. This approach assures relevant research, engages the community most affected by hazardous exposures, and increases the impact and dissemination of results. Previously, Dr. Symanski directed the Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (SWCOEH) at UTHealth School of Public Health which was established in 1977 as a NIOSH-funded Education and Research Center (ERC), now one of 18 ERCs in the nation and has been a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Occupational Health since 1985. Dr. Symanski also served on National Research Council Committees of The National Academies to review the styrene assessment in the National Toxicology Program’s 12th report on carcinogens and to assess potential health effects of contaminated water supplies at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Currently, Dr. Symanski serves on the Working Group for the IARC Monograph on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans (Benzene).  

Dr. Chris Amos

Dr. Chris Amos, Director

Dr. Chris Amos directs the GC-CPEH PIPELINE Facility Core. He is also the Director of the BCM Institute for Clinical and Translational Medicine and Associate Director for Quantitative Science of the Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Amos is a member of the Board of Scientific Councilors for NIEHS.    

Dr. Sharon Croisant

Dr. Sharon Croisant directs the GC-CPEH Community Engagement Core. She is also the Director of Community Engagement for UTMB at Galveston’s Institute for Translational Sciences. She has longstanding relationships with many local, state and regional environmental and social justice organizations and other community stakeholders with a vested interest in using research findings to direct community-based intervention and outreach activities.

Center Administrator

Dr. Heyreoun An Han

Dr. Heyreoun An Han serves as the Center Administrator for the GC-CPEH. She manages the operations of the Center and is a resource to the Executive Committee, Facility Core and Program Directors and GC-CPEH members.


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“Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number P30ES030285. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.”