Public Health

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Soumitra Bhuyan

Faculty Mentor's Department: Division of Health Systems Management and Policy, School of Public Health

Telephone/Email: 901-678-3740 /

Faculty Webpage:

Project Description: Three current research projects may benefit interested honor students:

1)      Comparative effectiveness of intervention approaches to address breast cancer disparities among minority women

2)      Use of robot-assisted surgeries and its impact on treatment cost for radical prostatectomies

3)      Based on the findings from the Project 1, we will design an intervention program to reduce breast cancer mortality between white and African American women in Memphis. A recent study reported that Memphis is the deadliest major American city (of the largest 25 largest cities) for African-American women with breast cancer.

Requirements: Good academic standing, excellent writing skills, and high motivation to learn. Interested applicants should apply directly to Dr. Bhuyan at Please include a resume and a paragraph about your research interests and goals. Special focus and mentorship will be provided towards conducting literature review, basic statistical analysis, and manuscript/proposal writing.

Starting Date: Open

Method of Compensation:  Volunteer 

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Chunrong Jia, Associate Professor

Faculty Mentor's Department: School of Public Health

Email and/or Telephone:

Project Descriptions: 

(1) Characterizing Community Exposure to Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in a Tri-State Area. This study aims to characterize the concentrations and distributions of PAHs in ambient air in Memphis Tri-State area, identify major sources and characterize near-source PAH profiles, and assess non-carcinogenic and carcinogenic risks.

(2) Antimicrobial Chemicals and Resistance Genes in Indoor Environments. The objective is to quantify antimicrobial chemicals and antibiotic resistance genes in major indoor environments.

(3) Evaluating Compliance and Refining Enforcement of Smoke-free Housing Policy in Low-Income Multiple Unit Housing.

(4) Linking Home Energy Insecurity to the Built Environment and Population Health in Memphis. This study aims to collect home energy insecurity (HEI) data in Memphis and assess the linkage of HEI with the built environment and health.

(5) Developing a Modular Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Platform for Air Pollution Profiling and Emergency Monitoring.

Requirements for Student Applicants: Have an interest in environmental science, environmental health, chemical and biological lab analysis, environmental field sampling, environmental justice, healthy homes, and community-based environmental research.

Starting Date: August 1, 2017.

Method of Compensation: Volunteer or Stipend

 Faculty Mentors:  Drs. Wilfried Karmaus, Yu Jiang, Su Chen

Faculty Mentor Departments:  Division of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Environmental Health, School of Public Health, and Department of Mathematical Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences 

Telephone/Email Address:  901/678-2491;

Project Description:
(1) Our overall research interest is to identify etiologic factors, especially epigenetic markers, related to allergic diseases, lung function, obesity, pubertal changes, and growth. Epigenetic markers of our interest are DNA-methylation, the addition of a methyl-group (due to environmental influences) to the DNA, which makes the DNA more or less readable.

(2) We have multiple NIH-funded projects working on life-style/environmental changes between infancy and early adulthood, changes of epigenetic markers measured in infancy, at age 10 and 18 years, during pregnancy, and in the offspring of the cohort members and their impact on diseases. We are also interested to understand whether DNA-methylation at birth predicts the onset of puberty.

(3) We are investigating the effects of maternal pregnancy conditions on DNA-methylation and the role of these epigenetic changes on lung function of their children.

(4) We are team-working with Faculty and PhD and Masters students at the UofM. At the UofM, our task is to bring different pieces of information and different measurements conducted at other Universities together. These are epidemiologic and biostatistical tasks and applications that require environmental, biological understanding, and understanding of social and developmental processes. In addition, we are collaborating with multiple national and international scientists.

(5) We have regular 'lab' meetings and always love to integrate new students. Undergraduate students are welcome. Working with this group offers a lot of ideas and opportunities on how and where to continue in graduate studies.  

        For our work, see:

Requirements for Student Applicants: Interest in biological and statistical sciences, or environmental health. Ability to learn by doing. Willingness to read a large number of scientific publications. At least 12 months of commitment to successfully complete or participate in a successful analysis of a study of your interest.

Application or Interview Process:  Interested applicants should apply to Drs. Yu Jiang (, Wilfried Karmaus ( at the School of Public Health or Dr. Su Chen ( in the Department of Mathematical Sciences. Please include a resume and a paragraph about your research interests.

Starting Date:  Fall 2018

Method of Compensation:  Volunteer