Agricultural Health Institute

Felicia Wu was named a John A. Hannah distinguished professor in FSHN in June 2013, and she has hit the ground running.

February 19, 2014

Felicia Wu was named a John A. Hannah distinguished professor in FSHN in June 2013, and she has hit the ground running.

Wu, with advanced degrees in applied mathematics and medical sciences from Harvard University and in engineering and public health from Carnegie Mellon University, uses mathematical modeling to study the impact of food toxicants (ie.g., mycotoxins) and food and agricultural practices and policies on human health.

She has five federal and large foundation grants, including a National Institutes of Health Eureka award, for investigators with “exceptionally innovative research projects that could have an extraordinarily significant impact on many areas of science.”

In addition to continuing with her extraordinary research work, Wu established the Center for Health Impacts of Agriculture at MSU to close the research gap between agriculture and human health.

“That gap exists in part because of how institutes of higher education and extramural funding have been organized,” explained Fred Derksen, FSHN chair.

Public health schools and medical schools are not often united with U.S. land-grant universities in interdisciplinary projects focused on the human health impacts of agriculture and food. Yet this is becoming an increasingly important area of inquiry related to global health, he said

Innovations to improve agriculture and food security are being adopted at national and global levels, but very little analysis has been conducted on how this translates to human health effects: how many deaths and disease cases are prevented, and how life expectancies and quality of life increase.  At the same time, some dietary changes in developing economies may increase risks of metabolic diseases such as obesity and Type 2 diabetes. The extent to which this is occurring and development of interventions to prevent this from happening are an area ripe for exploration.

 

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