Faculty Profile

Sung Kyun  Park, Sc.D., MPH

Sung Kyun Park, Sc.D., MPH

  • Associate Professor, Epidemiology
  • Associate Professor, Environmental Health Sciences
  • Co-Director, Occupational Epidemiology Program, Center for Occupational Health and Safety Engineering (COHSE)

  • Affiliated Faculty. Kresge Hearing Research Institute, University of Michigan, Medical School
  • M5541 SPH II
  • 1415 Washington Heights
  • Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2029

Dr. Park is Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. He also has a joint appointment in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences. He is a Co-Director of the Occupational Epidemiology Program in the Center for Occupational Health and Safety Engineering (COHSE) (aka NIOSH ERC).

Dr. Park received his M.P.H in Environmental Health from Seoul National University in 2000 and a doctoral degree (Sc.D.) in Environmental Epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health in 2005.

Dr. Park focuses on health effects of various environmental pollutant exposures, such as air pollution, heavy metals, non-persistent chemicals (e.g., bisphenol-A and phthalates) and persistent organic pollutants (e.g., PFASs, PCBs and PBDEs), using epidemiologic approaches. His lab uses not only conventional approaches of ‘biology-based and hypothesis-driven’ single pollutant models but emerging novel approaches of multi-pollutant models.  He recently developed a statistical approach to integrating multiple pollutants and pollutant mixtures (e.g. Environmental Risk Score). His lab also has a specific interest in gene-environment and nutrition (diet)-environment interactions to elucidate potential biological mechanisms, to identify vulnerable sub-populations to environmental exposure, and to provide intervention strategies. He is working with several ongoing cohort studies, such as  Study of Women's Health Across the Nation (SWAN), Normativa Aging Study, Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), Amish Family Diabetes Study (AFDS), and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

  • Sc.D., Environmental Epidemiology, Harvard University, 2005
  • MPH, Envirohnmental Health, Seoul National University, 2000
  • B.S., Food Science and Technology, Seoul National University, 1998

1) Multi-pollutants and Metabolic Disease (R01 ES026578):

Some evidence suggests that environmental pollutants may play a role in the etiology of type-2 diabetes. Dr. Park has recently developed research projects that 1) test whether suspected environmental pollutants, such as air pollution, arsenic, lead and bisphenol-A (BPA), are associated with the risk of diabetes in MESA, NAS, NHANES, and the Amish Family Diabetes Study; and 2) evaluate a wide-range of environmental pollutants (~120 chemicals) systematically in SWAN (Study of Women's Health Across the Nation) (R01 grant funded through NIEHS).

2)  Multi-pollutants and Reproductive Aging (R01 ES026964):

The goal of this project is to examine how endocrine disrupting chemicals, individually or as mixtures, affect the timing and characteristics of reproductive aging, in SWAN.

3) Heavy Metals and Aging Outcomes:

The goal of this project was to understand how long-term exposures to heavy metals and air pollution affect age-related diseases including hearing loss, eye disease, and cardiovascular function (funded by K01 ES016587, 2009-2013). Dr. Park has focused on hearing loss and eye diseases because their economic burdens and public health implications become very important as the population ages. These outcomes have been understudied in relation to environmental exposures.

4) Gene-Environment and Nutrition (Diet)-Environment Interactions:

Gene-environment interaction is a useful tool to elucidate potential biological mechanisms that influence susceptibility in human populations. For example, the hemochromatosis gene (HFE) and vitamin D receptor (VDR) play an important role in regulating cellular iron and calcium levels. Because lead is a divalent metal, its cellular uptakes depend on iron and calcium levels. Therefore, HFE and VDR genetic variants may also affect the cellular levels of lead and eventually influence disease risks. Nutrition and diet also play a critical role in toxicokinetics and toxicodynamics of environmental pollutants because of shared exposure routes and biological pathways. This body of work also seeks to evaluate which subpopulations, in terms of genetic polymorphisms, may be more susceptible to toxic effects of environmental pollutants.

5) Statistical Approaches to Evaluating Multi-pollutants:

Examining various environmental pollutants has led him to ask a more fundamental question: we are exposed to multi-pollutants and pollutant mixtures in real life, but what is the risk from multi-pollutants and pollutant mixtures? Although the importance of multi-pollutant concepts is well recognized, most epidemiologic studies are still based on individual pollutants and little is known about statistical approaches to examine multi-pollutants and to integrate risks from multi-pollutants. Recently, Dr. Park has developed an Environmental Risk Score (ERS) and proposed it as a new tool to examine the risk of exposure to multi-pollutants in epidemiologic research. He also evaluated statistical methods for constructing health risk models with multi-pollutants and their interactions.

  • Associate Editor, Environmental Research
  • International Society for Environmental Epidemiology
  • Korean Society of Environmental Health
  • Korean Society for Preventive Medicine