Ellen M. Wells, Ph.D.

Research Interest

Dr. Ellen Wells is an environmental epidemiologist whose research focuses on how environmental factors affect human health, with a focus on those with a higher exposure or susceptibility to environmental factors.  Much of her research focuses on neurological health impacts that are associated with exposures or multiple contaminants (“chemical mixtures”).  Her research interests include: 1) understanding the extent and impact of exposure to chemical mixtures among populations experiencing environmental injustice; 2) determination of the impact of metals or metal mixtures on child neurodevelopment; and 3) characterization of the relationship between lifelong chemical mixture exposure with neurodegeneration

Recent/Representative Publications:

Selected/representative publications

Also see a list of my publications in PubMed or Google Scholar

  1. Ringwald P, Chapin C, Iceman C, Tighe ME, Sisk M, Peaslee GF, Peller J, Wells EM. 2021. Characterization and within-site variation of environmental metal concentrations around a contaminated site using a community-engaged approach. Chemosphere. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2021.129915.
  2. Zhang X, Specht AJ, Wells EM, Weisskopf MG, Weuve J, 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. Jan; 753:123451.  doi:10.1016/j/scitoenv.2020.142351.
  3. Filippelli G, Freeman J, Gibson J, Jay S, Moreno-Madrinan M, Ogashawara I, Rosenthal F, Wells EM. 2020. Climate change impacts on human health at an actionable scale: a state-level assessment of Indiana, USA. Climatic Change. 163:1985-2004. doi: 1007/s10584-020-02710.
  4. Wells EM, Kopylev L, Nachman R, Radke EG, Segal D. Seafood, wine, rice, vegetables, and other food items associated with mercury biomarkers among seafood and non-seafood consumers: NHANES 2011-2012. Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology. May;30(3):504-514. doi: 10.1038/s41370-020-0206-6.
  5. Hasan Z, Rolle-McFarland D, Liu Y, Zhou J, Mostafaei F, Li Y, Fan Q, Zhou Y, Zheng W, Nie LH, Wells EM.   Characterization of bone aluminum, a potential biomarker of cumulative exposure, within an occupational population from Zunyi, China.  Journal of Trace Elements in Health and Disease. 59:126469.  doi: 10.1016/j.jtemb.2020.126469.
  6. Edmonson DA, Ma RE, Yeh CL, Ward E, Snyder S, Azizi E, Zauber SE, Wells EM, Dydak U.   Reversibility of neuroimaging markers influenced by lifetime occupational manganese exposure.  Toxicological Sciences. 172(1):181–190. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfz174.
  7. Horton CJ, Acharya L, Wells EM. 2019. Length of time in the United States as a predictor of adolescent and adult blood lead levels. BMJ Open. 9(7): e027628. doi: 1136/bmjopen-2018-027628.
  8. Horton CJ, Weng H-Y, Wells EM. 2019. Association between blood lead level and subsequent Alzheimer’s disease mortality. Environmental Epidemiology 3(3):e045. doi: 1097/EE9.0000000000000045.
  9. Rolle-McFarland D, Liu Y, Mostafaei F, Zauber SE, Zhou3 Y, Li Y, Fan Q, Zheng W, Nie LH, Wells EM. 2019. The association of bone, fingernail and blood manganese with cognitive and olfactory function in Chinese workers. Science of the Total Environment. 666:1003-1010. doi: 1016/j.scitotenv.2019.02.208.
  10. Rolle-McFarland D, Liu Y, Mostafaei F, Zhou J, Zhou Y, Li Y, Fan Q, Zheng W, Nie LH, Wells EM. Development of a cumulative exposure index (CEI) for manganese and comparison with bone manganese and other biomarkers of manganese exposure. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 15:1341. doi: 10.3390/iherph15071341.
  11. Liu Y, Rolle-McFarland D, Mostafaei F, Zhou Y, Li Y, Zheng W, Wells EM, Nie LH. 2018. In vivo neutron activation analysis of bone manganese in workers.  Physiological Measurement. 39:035003. doi: 10.1088/1361-6579/aaa749.
  12. Wells EM, Liu Y, Rolle-McFarland D, Mostafaei F, Zheng W, Nie LH. 2018.  In vivo measurement of bone manganese and association with manual dexterity: a pilot study.  Environmental Research 160:35-38. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2017.09.016.
  13. Wells EM, Herbstman JB, Lin YH, Hibbeln J, Halden RU, Witter FR, Goldman LR. Methyl mercury, but not inorganic mercury, associated with higher blood pressure during pregnancy.  Environmental Research. 154:247-252.  doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2017.01.013.
  14. Wells EM, Herbstman JB, Lin YH, Jarrett J, Verdon C, Ward C, Caldwell KL, Hibbeln JR, Witter FR, Halden RU, Goldman LR.   Cord blood methylmercury and fetal growth outcomes in Baltimore newborns: potential confounding and effect modification by omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, and sex. Environmental Health Perspectives 124:373-379. doi:10.1289/ehp.1408596.
  15. Wells EM, Berges M, Metcalf M, Kinsella A, Foreman K, Dearborn DG, Greenberg S.   Indoor air quality and occupant comfort in homes with deep versus conventional energy efficiency renovations. Building and Environment 93(2):331-338.  doi:10.1016/j.buildenv.2015.06.021.
  16. Lee HJ, Bakulski KM, Feinberg JI, Wells EM, Brown S, Herbstman JB, Witter FR, Halden RU, Caldwell K, Mortensen ME, Moye Jr. J, Caulfield LE, Pan Y, Tollerud DJ, Goldman LR, Feinberg AP, Fallin MD.   Prenatal mercury concentration is associated with changes in DNA methylation at TCEANC2 in newborns.  International Journal of Epidemiology 44:1249-62. doi:10.1093/ije/dyv032.
  17. Wells EM, Jackson LW, Koontz M.   Association between bisphenol A and waist-to-height ratio among children:  NHANES 2003-2010.  Annals of Epidemiology 24:165-167. doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2013.06.002.
  18. Wells EM, Bonfield T, Dearborn DG, Jackson LW.   The relationship of blood lead with immunoglobulin E, eosinophils, and asthma among children: NHANES 2005-2006.  International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health 217:196-204. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2013.04.010. 
  19. Wells EM, Dearborn DG, Jackson LW.   Activity change in response to bad air quality, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2007-2010.  PLoS ONE  7(11): e50526. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0050526.
  20. Wells EM, Navas-Acien A, Herbstman JB, Apelberg BA, Silbergeld EK, Caldwell KL, Jones RL, Halden RU, Witter FR, Goldman LR.   Low level lead exposure and elevated blood pressure during pregnancy.  Environmental Health Perspectives 119:664-669.  doi:10.1289/ehp.1002666.
  21. Wells EM, Jarrett JM, Lin YH, Caldwell KL, Hibbeln JR, Apelberg BJ, Herbstman JB, Halden RU, Witter FR, Goldman LR.  Body burdens of mercury, lead, selenium and copper among Baltimore newborns.  Environmental Research 111: 411-417. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2010.12.009.
  22. Woodruff TJ, Wells EM, Holt EW, Burgin DE, Axelrad DA.   Estimating ambient acrolein across the United States.  Environmental Health Perspectives 115(3):410-5. doi: 10.1289/ehp.9467.

Ellen M. Wells

Associate Professor of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences
Phone: 765-496-3535
Fax:  765-496-1377
E-mail: wells54@purdue.edu

Purdue University, School of Health Sciences, 550 Stadium Mall Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-1419, Fax: (765) 496-1377

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