Julia M. Gohlke, PhD
Associate Professor, Environmental Health
Department of Population Health Sciences

About the lab

We are examining human health outcomes associated with large-scale environmental changes across urban and rural landscapes, particularly as it relates to climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies. We collaborate with earth scientists, environmental engineers, geographers, computer scientists, and statisticians.

Dr. Gohlke working with lab members in the field
Dr. Gohlke (right) and students plan deployment of neighborhood temperature and air pollution sensors. Photo by Mary Evans.

Research interests

Epidemiological, community-engaged, and toxicology methods are employed by our group to explore a wide range of approaches used in human health risk assessment applications.

For example, we utilize vital record and emergency department visit data for retrospective observational investigations to

  • develop risk estimates for preterm birth and mortality during heat waves using vital records, satellite-derived weather data, and fine-scaled geospatial data analysis techniques;
  • characterize birth outcomes associated with living in close proximity to surface mining sites in Central Appalachia, on a fine spatial and temporal scale; and
  • elucidate changes in ED visits during and following Hurricane Harvey, to enhance the CDC Social Vulnerability Index (SVI).

Prospective, community-engaged and experimental designs are being utilized to evaluate effects of time spent outdoors on heat exposure and physical activity in urban and rural settings. We are assessing differences in environmental health priorities and vulnerability to extreme heat events across urban and rural settings and between residents and public health professionals, with the translational goal of improving the design and effectiveness of environmental health interventions.

Learn more about our ENACT Environmental Health for Alabama Communities project.



  • Crider, KG, EH Maples, JM Gohlke. (2014). Incorporating occupational risk in heat stress vulnerability mapping. Journal of Environmental Health 77(1): 16-22.
  • Kent ST, McClure LA, Zaitchik BF, Smith TT, & JM Gohlke. (2014). Heat Waves and Health Outcomes in Alabama (USA): The Importance of Heat Wave Definition. Environ Health Perspect. 122(2): 151-8
  • Fitzgerald, TP, JM Gohlke. (2014). Contaminant levels in Gulf of Mexico reef fish after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill as measured by a fishermen-led testing program. Environ Sci and Technol. 48(3): 1993-2000.
  • Doke DA and JM Gohlke. (2014). Human health risk assessment of metals in fish in Ghana.  Journal of Health and Pollution. March 2014, Vol. 4, No. 6, pp. 18-25.
  • Doke DA, SL Hudson, JA Dawson and JM Gohlke. (2014). Effects of early life exposure to methylmercury in Daphnia pulex on standard and reduced food ration. Reproductive Toxicology 49: 219-225.
  • DA Allison, LH Antoine, SW Ballinger, MM Bamman, P Biga, VM Darley-Usmar, G Fisher, JM Gohlke, GV Halade, JL Hartman, GR Hunter, JL Messina, TR Nagy, EP Plaisance, KA Roth, MW Sandel, TS Schwartz, DL Smith, JD Sweatt, TO Tollefsbol, SA Watts, Y Yang, J Zhang, SN Austad, ML Powell. (2014). Aging and energetics’ ‘Top 40’ future research opportunities 2010-2013. F1000Research 2014, 3:219.
  • Porter, T, ST Kent, W Su, HM Beck, JM Gohlke. (2014). Birth outcomes in neighborhoods surrounding coke production and steel making facilities in Alabama, USA. Environmental Health 13: 85.
  • Doke, D and JM Gohlke. (2014). Fish Consumption Advisories. In:  Encyclopedia of Toxicology, 3rd Edition. Phillip Wexler (Ed.) Elsevier, Oxford, UK.


  • Smith, TT, BF Zaitchik, JM Gohlke. (2013). Heat waves in the United States: definitions, patterns and trends. Climatic Change 118 (3-4): 811-825. PMCID: PMC3711804.
  • Portier CJ, KT Tart, SR Carter, CH Dilworth, AE Grambsch, JM Gohlke, J Hess, SN Howard, G Luber, JT Lutz, T Maslak, N Prudent, M Radtke, JP Rosenthal, T Rowles, PA Sandifer, J Scheraga, PJ Schramm, D Strickman, JM Trtanj, PY Whung. (2013). A Human Health Perspective on Climate Change: A report outlining research needs on the human health effects of climate change.  Jour Current Issues in Globalization 6(4): 621.
  • Gohlke JM, Allison DB. (2013). Evidence for obesogens: Interpretations and next steps.  Obesity21(6):1077-8.
  • Kent, ST, LA McClure, BF Zaitchik, JM Gohlke. (2013). Area-level risk factors for adverse birth outcomes: trends in urban and rural settings. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 13: 129.
  • Bernhard, MC, MB Evans, ST Kent, E Johnson, SL Threadgill, SB Tyson, SM Becker, JM Gohlke. (2013). Identifying environmental health priorities in underserved populations: a study of rural versus urban communities. Public Health 127 (11): 994-1004.
  • 2013 Public Health and Climate Change: Focusing North Carolina Forward final recommendations document. Environmental Health Summit Research Triangle Environmental Health Collaborative


  • Gohlke JM, EJ Dhurandhar, CU Correll, EH Morrato, JW Newcomer, G Remington, HA Nasrallah, S Crystal, G Nicol, DB Allison. (2012). Recent advances in understanding and mitigating adipogenic and metabolic effects of antipsychotic drugs. Front Psychiatry 3: 62.
  • Floyd, EL, CT Lungu and JM Gohlke. (2012). An evaluation of nearshore sediment data after the Deepwater Horizon blowout.  Jour Env Sci and Eng A 1: 341-350.


  • Gohlke JM, D Doke, M Tipre, M Leader, T Fitzgerald. (2011). A review of seafood safety after the Deepwater Horizon blowout.  Environ Health Perspect. 119(8): 1062-9
  • Funk, JA, J Gohlke, AD Kraft, CA McPherson, J Collins, GJ Harry. (2011). Voluntary Exercise Protects Hippocampal Neurons from Trimethyltin Injury: Possible Role of Interleukin-6 to Modulate Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor-Mediated Neurotoxicity.  Brain, Behavior, and Immunity 25(6): 1063-77.
  • Gohlke JM, R Thomas, A Woodward, D Campbell-Lendrum, A Prüss-Üstün, S Hales, CJ Portier (2011). Estimating the global health implications of electricity and coal consumption.  Environ Health Perspect. 119(6): 821-6.
  • Gohlke, JM (2011). Children’s Environmental Health: Emerging Issues: Developmental Programming and the Epigenome. In:  Encyclopedia of Environmental Health. Jerome Nriagu (ed.) Elsevier, Oxford, UK.


  • Gohlke JM, WM Freeman, KE Vrana. (2010). Bioinformatic and computational approaches for analysis of genomic data in neurotoxicology research. In:  Neurotoxicology 3rd Edition JA Harry and HA Tilson (eds.). Taylor and Francis, London, UK.
  • Portier CJ, KT Tart, SR Carter, AE Grambsch, JM Gohlke, J Hess, SN Howard, G Luber, JT Lutz, T Maslak, N Prudent, M Radtke, JP Rosenthal, T Rowles, PA Sandifer, J Scheraga, PJ Schramm, D Strickman, JM Trtany, PY Whung. (2010). A Human Health Perspective on Climate Change: A report outlining research needs on the human health effects of climate change. Published by Environmental Health Perspectives and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.


  • Gohlke JM, Stockton PS, Sieber S, Foley J, Portier CJ (2009). AhR-mediated gene expression in the developing mouse telencephalon. Reproductive Toxicology 28(3): 321-8.
  • Gohlke JM, R Thomas, Y Zhang, MC Rosenstein, AP Davis, C Murphy, CJ Mattingly, KG Becker, CJ Portier (2009) The Genetic and Environmental Pathways to Complex Diseases. BMC Systems Biology3: 46.
  • Thomas R, JM Gohlke, F Parham, CJ Portier (2009). Choosing the right path: Enhancement of biologically-relevant sets of genes or proteins using pathway structure. Genome Biology 10(4):R44.


  • Gohlke JM, O Armant, FM Parham, MV Smith, D Castro, L Nguyen, JS Parker, G Gradwohl, CJ Portier, F Guillemot. (2008). Characterization of the proneural gene regulatory network during mouse telencephalon development.  BMC Biology 6(1): 15.
  • Gohlke JM, Griffith, WC, and EM Faustman (2008) Computational Models of Ethanol-induced Neurodevelopmental Toxicity Across Species: Implications for Risk Assessment.  Birth Defects Research Part B: Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology. 83(1): 1-11.
  • Gohlke JM, SH Hrynkow, CJ Portier (2008). Health, Economy, and Environment: Sustainable Energy Choices for a Nation.  Environ Health Perspect 116 (6): A236-237.
  • Gohlke JM, S Hiller-Sturmhoefel, E M Faustman (2008). A Systems-Based Computational Model of Alcohol’s Toxic Effects on Brain Development.  Alcohol Research and Health 31(1): 76-83.
  • Gohlke, JM. (2008). The social aspects of obesity, sustainability.  Chapel Hill News. May 25, 2008.


  • Gohlke JM, CJ Portier (2007). The forest for the trees: A systems framework for risk assessment. Environ Health Perspect 115:1261–1263
  • Gohlke JM, Griffith, WC and Faustman, EM (2007). Computational Models of Neocortical Neuronogenesis and Programmed Cell Death in the Developing Mouse, Monkey and Human. Cerebral Cortex, 17: 2433-2442.


  • Faustman, EM, JM Gohlke, NL Judd, TA Lewandowski, SA Bartell, and WC Griffith (2005). Modeling developmental processes in animals: applications in neurodevelopmental toxicology. Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology, 19(3), 615-624.
  • Gohlke JM, Griffith, WC, & Faustman, EM (2005). A systems-based computational model for dose-response comparisons of two mode of action hypotheses for ethanol-induced neurodevelopmental toxicity. Toxicological Sciences, 86(2), 470-484.
  • Faustman, EM, JM Gohlke, RA Ponce, TA Lewandowski, MR Seeley, SG Whittaker, WC Griffith. (2005). Experimental approaches to evaluate mechanisms of developmental toxicity. In: Handbook of Developmental Toxicology, R. Hood (ed.), Boca Raton: CRC Press, Inc., 2nd edition.


  • Wong, EY, J Gohlke, W C Griffith, S Farrow and EM Faustman (2004). Assessing the health benefits of air pollution reduction for children. Environ Health Perspect 112(2): 226-232.
  • Gohlke JM, W C Griffith and E M Faustman* (2004). The role of cell death during neocortical neurogenesis and synaptogenesis: Implications from a computational model for the rat and mouse. Dev Brain Res 151: 43-54.


  • Gohlke JM, WC Griffith, and EM Faustman. (2003). Quantitative Toxicodynamic Considerations for Developmental Neurotoxicity: Case Study of Ethanol. Technical Report. EPA Contract No. 2W-2296-NARA, USEPA Washington, DC 2003.
  • Gohlke JM, EM Faustman. (2003). Quantitative Toxicodynamic Considerations for Developmental Neurotoxicity: Case Study of Benomyl. Technical Report. EPA Contract No. 2W-2296-NARA, USEPA Washington, DC 2003.


  • Gohlke JM, W Griffith, S Bartell, T Lewandowski and E Faustman (2002). A computational model for neocortical neuronogenesis predicts ethanol-induced neocortical neuron number deficits. Dev Neurosci 24(6): 467-477.