Lee named Environmental Health Sciences chair

Expert in connections between water, health to start July 1

Jiyoung Lee in her laboratory

Professor Jiyoung Lee has been named chair of the Division of Environmental Health Sciences at The Ohio State University College of Public Health. 

Lee, who has been with the college since 2008, “is a world-renowned expert on the connections between water and human and animal health and an exemplary member of the College of Public Health faculty,” said Interim Dean Karla Zadnik.

“It is my sincere pleasure to welcome Dr. Lee into this leadership role. She will be instrumental in supporting EHS faculty to advance their contributions to the next generation of environmental health scientists, and to the field at large,” she said.

Lee begins in her new role July 1, following the leadership of long-time interim chair Vice Dean Michael Bisesi, who is retiring from the college.

Lee’s work focuses on harmful pathogens and toxins in the environment, particularly in water resources and food production. Her highly productive lab, which attracts students and researchers from around the world, focuses on a “One Health, One Water” paradigm for solving pathogen and antibiotic resistance problems. Focus areas include exploring how cyanotoxin exposures contribute to disease and the impact of environmental exposures on disturbances to the microbiome. Lee and her team are pioneers in wastewater surveillance of infectious diseases, including COVID-19, and in predicting community-level gut health.

“I am excited about stepping into this leadership role within our EHS division and one of the primary reasons is the exceptional group of people in our division — our faculty, students and staff. Each person brings unique talents, potential and a passion for their work,” Lee said.

“Under climate change, where we witness more frequent extreme environmental events, human behaviors and emerging infectious disease outbreaks worldwide — all of which have greater impact on vulnerable populations — it is crucial to consider the role of environmental public health. Our EHS division has established a strong momentum under the leadership of Dr. Bisesi, and is poised to expand and advance environmental public health to the next level.”

Lee is a graduate of the University of Michigan (PhD) and Seoul National University (MS, BS) and, since joining the Ohio State faculty, has received the Innovator of the Year Award, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center Distinguished Junior Faculty Research Award, and the Plimpton Outstanding Teacher Award.

She also is a co-director of the Infectious Diseases Institute’s Ecology, Epidemiology and Population Health Program.


About The Ohio State University College of Public Health

The Ohio State University College of Public Health is a leader in educating students, creating new knowledge through research, and improving the livelihoods and well-being of people in Ohio and beyond. The College's divisions include biostatistics, environmental health sciences, epidemiology, health behavior and health promotion, and health services management and policy. It is ranked 29th among all colleges and programs of public health in the nation, and first in Ohio, by U.S. News and World Report. Its specialty programs are also considered among the best in the country. The MHA program is ranked 8th, the biostatistics specialty is ranked 22nd, the epidemiology specialty is ranked 25th and the health policy and management specialty is ranked 17th.