Aaron Specht

Aaron Specht Profile Picture

Assistant Professor
Ph.D., Purdue University

Contact Info:

Office: HAMP 1273
Specht Lab

Training Group(s):
Chemical Biology

Active Mentor - currently hosting PULSe students for laboratory rotations and recruiting PULSe students into the laboratory; serves on preliminary exam committees

Current Research Interests:

Aaron Specht is an Assistant Professor in the School of Health Sciences. He received his B.S. from Purdue in Honors Physics and Ph.D. from Purdue in Medical and Health Physics. He completed postdoctoral training at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health where he remains active as part of their Trace Metals Laboratory utilizing his x-ray fluorescence devices. His research focuses on the development, application, and understanding of exposure assessment for elemental and radiation exposures in environmental and occupational health studies. He has developed instrumentation capable of in-field or in-lab measures that utilize a non-destructive, non-invasive, and cost-effective elemental quantification method using x-ray fluorescence. This includes everything from measuring nail, bone, or blood to determine exposure to a human or in animal studies to measuring soil, ash, or air filters to determine ongoing exposures at particular sites. He has many interesting collaborative projects ranging from typical studies in hospital settings around the globe to measuring condors on the cliffs of the Grand Canyon. Feel free to email him with any questions, lab opportunities, or collaborative efforts.

Selected Publications:

C Hoover, GG Hoover, AJ Specht. Firearm Licenses Associated with Elevated Pediatric Blood Lead Levels in Massachusetts. Environmental Research. In Press. 2021.

AJ Specht, X Zhang, A Young, VT Nguyen, DC Christiani, DM Ceballos, JG Allen, J Weueve, LH Nie, MG Weisskopf. Validation of in vivo toenail measurements of manganese and mercury using a portable x-ray fluorescence device. Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology. In Press. 2021.

JO Hampton, AJ Specht, JM Pay, MA Pokras, AJ Bengsen. Portable X-ray fluorescence for bone lead measurements of Australian eagles. Science of the Total Environment. 2021 Oct 1;789:147998.

AJ Specht, JF Obrycki, Maitreyi Mazumdar, MG Weisskopf. Feasibility of lead exposure assessment in blood spots using energy dispersive x-ray fluorescence. Environmental Science & Technology. 2021, 55, 8, 5050–5055.

DM Ceballos, AS Young, JG Allen, AJ Specht, VT Nguyen, J Craig, M Miller, T Webster. Nail salon technician exposure to metal impurities from nail products. International Journal of Hygiene and Health. 2021 Mar;232:113687.

AS Young, R Hauser, TJ Todd, BA Coull, H Zhu, K Kannan, AJ Specht, MS Bliss, JG Allen. Impact of “healthier” materials interventions on dust concentrations of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, and organophosphate esters. Environment International. 2021 May;150:106151.

Zhang X, Specht AJ, Nie LH. Evaluation of a portable XRF device for in vivo quantification of lead in bone among a US population. Science of the Total Environment. 2021; 753;142351.

Johnson KM, Specht AJ, Hart J, Salahuddin S, Erlinger AP, Hacker MR, Woolf A, Hauptman M, Karumanchi A, Wylie B, O’Brien K. Lead exposure and association with angiogenic factors and hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. Pregnancy Hypertension. 2020. 22:93-98.

JC Nwanaji-Enwerem, E Colicino, AJ Specht, X Gao, C Wang, P Vokonas, MG Weisskopf, EW Boyer, AA Baccarelli, J Schwartz. Individual species and cumulative mixture relationships of 24-hour urine T metal concentrations with DNA methylation age variables in older men. Environmental Research. 2020; 186:109573.

Johnson KM, Specht AJ, Hart J, Salahuddin S, Erlinger AP, Hacker MR, Woolf A, Hauptman M, Karumanchi A, Wylie B, O’Brien K. Risk-factor based lead screening and correlation with blood and bone lead levels in pregnancy. Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2020; 135:120s-121s.

Specht AJ, Dickerson AS, Kponee K, Kpobari N, Weisskopf MG. Toenail metal exposures in fishermen from Bodo City, Nigeria. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology. 2020; 104:90-95.

Specht AJ, Zhang X, Goodman B, Maher E, Nie LH, Weisskopf MG. Radiation dose assessments for in vivo measurements using a portable x-ray fluorescence device. Health Physics. 2019; 116(5):590-598.

Specht AJ, Dickerson AS, Weisskopf MG. Comparison of bone lead measured via portable x-ray fluorescence across and within bones. Environmental Research. 2019; 172:273-278.

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