University of California
Ellen A. Eisen, Sc.D

Ellen A. Eisen, Sc.D

Professor and Head
Division of Environmental Health Sciences
School of Public Health
University of California
50 University Hall #7360
Berkeley, CA 94720-7360
(510) 643-5310

Research interests:
  • exposure-response models for occupational health studies
  • healthy worker survivor bias
  • occupational respiratory disease

Dr. Eisen’s research is at the interface between epidemiologic methods and applied public health, and bridges the fields of environmental health, statistics and epidemiology. By developing new analytical approaches and adapting innovative statistical methods for exposure-response modeling, she advances methodology in the field as well as knowledge about occupational causes of disease. In her early studies of pulmonary function, she identified excess test variability (poor reproducibility) of FEV1 as a biomarker of impaired respiratory health and a source of selection bias in epidemiologic studies. These findings led to changes in the American Thoracic Society statement on standardizing spirometry. She has studied the health effects of metalworking fluid exposure in a cohort of autoworkers. She developed a strategy for reducing healthy worker survivor bias due to job transfer in a cross-sectional study of asthma. Her ongoing cohort study of cancer in the large UAW-GM cohort of autoworkers, has led to positive associations between exposure to oil based fluids and cancers of the larynx, rectum and prostate, in a series of nested case-control studies. These exposure-response results depended on the application of penalized splines in Cox models to fit nonlinear exposure-response for cancer incidence in relation to metalworking fluids. She has applied smoothing models to studies of workers exposed to other environmental exposures, and evaluated the performance of penalized splines, compared with other smoothing methods, in simulations studies.

Recent Publications:

Applebaum KM, Malloy EJ, Eisen EA. Reducing healthy worker survivor bias by restricting date of hire in a cohort study of Vermont granite workers. Occup Environ Medicine (Epub April 2007). [abstract]

Govindarajulu US, Spiegelman D, Thurston SW, Ganguli B, Eisen EA. Comparing smoothing techniques for modeling exposure-response relationships in Cox models. Stat Med. Epub 2007 [abstract]
Malloy EJ, Miller KL, Eisen EA. Rectal cancer and exposure to metalworking fluids in the automobile manufacturing industry. Occup Environ Medicine 2007 Apr;64(4):244-9. Epub 2006 Aug 15 (Epub) August 15 2006. [abstract]
Eisen EA, Agalliu I, Thurston SW, Coull BA, Checkoway H. Smoothing methods applied to occupational cohort studies; illustrated by penalized splines. Occ Environ Med 2004 61:854­60. [abstract]
Eisen EA, Bardin J, Gore R, Woskie SR, Hallock MF, Monson RR. Exposure-Response Models Based on Extended Follow-up of a Cohort Mortality Study in the Automobile Industry. Scand J Work, Environ Health 2001; 27(4):240-9. [abstract]
Eisen EA, Holcroft CR, Greaves IA, Wegman DH, Woskie SR, Monson RR. A Strategy to reduce healthy worker effect in cross-sectional study of asthma and metalworking fluids. Am J Indus Med1997;31:671-77. [abstract]

Other Activities

National Academy of Science; member on Panels on “Asbestos:Selected Health Effects ”, “Assuring safety of DOD mail”, “Long term health effects of Mustard Gas and Lewisite”
National Cancer Institute Chair, Advisory Board for studies of “Low level effects of benzene exposure”
Semiconductor Industry Association , Science Advisory Committee
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Board of Scientific Counselors
E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., Epidemiology Review Board