Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH)

DNA strand with silouhette of human body

The Exposome and Health (Part 1)

July 10, 2023


Interviewee: Douglas Walker, Ph.D.

In this episode, we'll learn how studying the exposome helps scientists gain a more holistic understanding of how the environment influences health and disease.

The Exposome and Health (Part 1)

We are exposed to countless environmental factors throughout life that can affect our health. Those include chemicals in the air we breathe, the food and water we consume, and the products we use, as well as social stressors, like economic status. The sum of these factors – and the body’s response to them – is called the exposome. Scientists study the exposome to gain a more holistic understanding of how the environment influences health and disease.

In part one of our two-episode series on the exposome, Douglas Walker, Ph.D., will discuss how the field of exposomics is transforming environmental health research. Walker also talks about challenges in the field, such integrating large datasets, and opportunities for exposomic research to improve public health.

Stay tuned for our next episode to learn how scientists are broadening exposome research by engaging with communities.


Douglas Walker, Ph.D.

Douglas Walker, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the department of public health at Emory University. Walker’s research focuses on developing and applying advanced analytical strategies for measuring previously unidentified environmental exposures and assisting in understanding the mechanisms underlying environment-related diseases in humans. Walker is a member of the NIEHS-funded HERCULES Exposome Research Center at Emory University. He also leads Emory’s Comprehensive Laboratory for Untargeted Exposome Science, or CLUES, which was established to provide high-quality, untargeted screening of biological samples for nutrition, precision medicine, and environmental health research.


  • Reference the HERCULES Exposome Research Center's Targeted Analysis fact sheet.
  • Check out this July 2023 Director's Corner in which Walker discusses his microplastics exposome research with NIEHS Director Rick Woychik, Ph.D.
  • Learn more about the exposome from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
  • Learn what NIEHS is doing to support exposome research.