Jose Ricardo Suarez, MD, PhD
My main research interests involve understanding environmental determinants on the health of adults and children.
Key words: pesticides, persistent pollutants, mental health, metabolism, respiratory, inflammation, metabolomics, cohort, clinical trial.
1) Pesticides and child/adolescent health. I am the principal investigator and founder of the NIH-funded Study of Secondary Exposures to Pesticides among Children and Adolescents study (ESPINA, espina.ucsd.edu). ESPINA is a prospective cohort study established in 2008 (next follow-up planned for 2022) aimed at assessing the associations of exposures to pesticides with the development of children living in agricultural settings (Pedro Moncayo, Ecuador). Our work includes health assessments including neurobehavior, mental health, endocrine, inflammation, hemodynamic, respiratory, enzymatic, and metabolomic. We rely on geospatial determinants of exposure as well as blood and urinary markers of exposures to PFAS, PCBs, PBDE flame retardants, DEET, and many pesticides including insecticides (organochlorine, organophosphate, pyrethroid, carbamate, neonicotinoid), herbicides (glyphosate, 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid), and fungicides (dithiocarbamate, quinone outside inhibitors, azoles).
2) Rural health survey. I am involved in community-based participatory processes in Ecuador in which we are collecting community health surveys and mental health screenings of large rural populations in collaboration with Fundacion Cimas del Ecuador and the Commonwealth of Pedro Moncayo County. This work involves includes geocoded survey information of ~11,000-15000 people collected from 2004-2017 and includes social, behavioral, cultural, economic, reproductive, housing and agricultural information.
3) POPs and metabolism. Within the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) I study the associations of persistent organic pollutants (i.e. organochlorine pesticides, PCBs, PBDEs, PBBs) and markers of oxidative stress with and alterations in glucose and lipid metabolism, and subclinical heart disease in middle-age adults.
4) NO-POPs study. I am the PI of the Nuts and Olestra for reduction of Persistent Organic Pollutants(NO-POPs) trial which is testing the effects of dietary interventions on enhancing the excretion of Persistent Organic Pollutants, such as PCBs, PBDE flame retardants, and organochlorine pesticides among older adults in San Diego, CA.
5) Cooling solutions. I lead work on engineering solutions to improve human temperature regulation.
6) Biomonitoring California. Governor appointee to the Scientific Guidance Panel to the California Environmental Contaminant Biomonitoring Program (Biomonitoring California) for the period 4/2017 – 3/2021 and 4/2021 – 3/2024