Course Description

Master in Environmental Metrology and Policy Program – for the Betterment of the World

The EMAP Program is a two-year, 35-credit, full-time program that consists of 4 courses of 3 credits each; 11 courses of 2-credits each; a one capstone project of 1 credit that requires a comprehensive report and an oral presentation; and a seminar series.

Core Courses

EMAP-501 Chemistry of Environmental Exposures. concerns the study of the earth (geosphere), air (atmosphere), water (hydrosphere), and living environments (biosphere), the effects of technology thereon (anthrosphere), and the interactions among them. On the one hand, it guides students through the chemistry related to the sources, reactions, transport, fates, and effects of chemical species in water, soil, air, and living environments, and the effects of technology thereon. On the other hand, it also exposes students to the chemistry underlining effects of environmental chemical species on life, including the chemistry of toxic substances with emphasis upon their interactions with biologic tissue and living organisms. Overall, students will learn the chemical principles and interactions that govern the environmental processes around us, particularly the chemistry/biochemistry that help identify and quantify the effects of environmental exposures. Students will also develop an appreciation of the intertwined nature and fragile equilibrium among the five environmental spheres.

EMAP-502 Statistical Methods in Metrology. teaches concepts and methodologies of statistical methods and interplay between statistics and measurements in metrology through in-depth discussion of the best statistical methods for the assessment and expression of measurement uncertainty. This is a topic that is essential to metrology but not commonly known to even experienced statisticians. Topics to be covered, but are not limited to, include (1) probability modeling of measurement error, (2) elementary one-/two-sample statistical methods and measurement and inter-lab comparison, (3) intermediate-level statistical methods to quantify the importance of sources of variability in measurements, (4) statistical analysis of repeatability and reproducibility (R&R), (5) linear regression and calibration, (6) quantization/digitalization effects, (7) quantifying how measurement precision affects one’s ability to detect differences between measurands, (8) models and methods of spatial statistics applied to environmental problems. The course also introduces R language and its application for environmental statistics and discusses statistical modeling methods used by EPA. Overall, the course is designed to help students understand the quality and reliability of the measurements, acquire the ability to parse a measurement problem, identify the critical sources of variability and bias, and develop approaches to address these using the core concepts of uncertainty, traceability, validation, and quality systems.

EMAP-503 Environmental Economics. Introduction to Environmental Economics will introduce fundamental economic concepts as they relate to the environment. These fundamental concepts will then be used to explore and assess current and potential policy responses to some of the major environmental issues of our time. Examples are drawn from all over the world and include such vital issues as climate change, natural resource use, waste management, water pollution, and loss of biodiversity.

EMAP-504 US and International Environmental Laws and Policies. introduces the variety of important environmental challenges addressed by environmental laws and the legal complexities of environmental regulatory schemes. The course teaches first the US legal system in the context of environmental protection with emphasis on the legal framework for environmental protection as it has evolved in the United States, including an overview of administrative law processes and an examination of the science methodologies that are used to support regulatory decisions. Students is exposed to key constitutional principles, common law, statutes, and regulations that govern the administration of environmental law. The course then examines the history, development, sources and principles of international environmental law and review the role of relevant international organizations in the context of environmental protection. Other key international issues including atmospheric protection, climate change and trans-boundary water are examined in the context of US and international environmental law. This course provides the foundation by covering the “fundamentals” of environmental laws.

EMAP-505 Environmental Toxicology and Epidemiology – Principles and Applications. Toxicology is a multidisciplinary science that investigates the harmful effects of environmental stressors (chemical, physical and biological agents) on humans, animals, and the ecosystem. Toxicology has progressed from a science concerned with poisons and the harmful effects of chemical exposure to a science concerned with safety. It incorporates knowledge and methods from fundamental sciences such as exposure, metrology, chemistry biology, biochemistry, medicine, epidemiology, pharmacology, and even engineering disciplines.

Toxicological and epidemiological assessments employ a multidisciplinary approach to predict what and how environmental agents will potentially cause harm to fauna and flora and how this information could help to protect public health and ecological habitats including regulatory policy-making These assessments could be extremely complicated due to several challenges.

EMAP-511 Environmental Metrology. introduces the basic concepts of measurement science in the context of chemical and biochemical measurements and helps students understand and ensure the quality and reliability of measurements in the context of their advanced studies and professional careers. Appropriate tools will be introduced to enable students to parse a measurement problem, identify the critical sources of variability and bias, and develop approaches to address these using the core concepts of uncertainty, traceability, validation, and quality systems. Students will develop facility with basic measurement uncertainty calculations and the application of these calculations to traceability chains and the validation of measurement processes.

EMAP-512/513 Environmental Metrology Lab I & II. Metrology Lab I (EMAP-512) focuses on instrumental principles and measurements, which introduces students to the operational principles of environmental instruments and methods (e.g., GC/MS/ECD/FPD, HPLC/UV/FLD, LC-MS/MS, ICP-MS). Students will use these instruments and methods to perform measurements in the laboratory setting. These include, but are not limited to, monitoring and assessing water quality, monitoring and assessing air quality, monitoring and assessing soil quality, metal speciation, and antimicrobial testing. Students will learn which instrument is appropriate for a given species, develop a proper measurement procedure, collect samples, operate the instrument, collect the data and analyze them in a metrologically correct way, and report their findings. Metrology Lab II (EMAP-513) requires students to carry out guided independent research formulated either during EMAP-512 or 10-week summer internships the previous summer. The flow of metrology lab I to summer internship to metrology lab II to capstone project offers an integrated rigorous sequence that will maximize the students experiential learning and training in environmental metrology and evidenced policymaking.

EMAP-514 Environmental Risk Assessment and Management. In this course, students learn the science of calculating public health and ecological risks associated with environmental exposures and use such assessment to estimate the risk associated with different risk management choices. For instance, preliminary risk management choices can dictate the level of precision needed in a risk assessment. More specifically, students will learn how does EPA’s IRIS effort estimate reference doses and concentrations (non-cancer effects) and slope factors and unit risk estimates (cancer effects)? What constitutes a reliable study? How is the evidence from clinical, epidemiologic, animal, and computational toxicology studies combined to determine these estimates? How are the points of departure and benchmark doses used? When are appropriate default values to use in the absence of data? How are uncertainty factors determined and applied? How do other agencies, e.g., ATSDR, CA OEHHA, IARC, WHO, perform assessments? To help address the above questions, the course also includes discussion of qualitative and quantitative risk analysis models, life cycle analysis, as well as methods of evaluating the validity and reliability of risk analysis. Bayesian probability models, probabilistic risk analysis, root cause analysis and Failure Mode Analysis using decision analytical tools such as Multi-Attribute Value Models, Bayesian Probability Networks, and Decision Trees are covered. At the end of this course, students will be able to appreciate the scientific process leading to human health and ecological risk assessments.

EMAP-515/516 Advanced Environmental Policy Making Science I & II: A Study of Practical Cases. This is a program’s signature two-semester case-study course in which representative real-world environmental policy cases dealt with by EPA will be studied. These case studies will be used to develop skills, to illustrate problems and solutions and to stimulate discussion. Upon successful completion of this course, students will gain extensive experience on how environmental policy is developed based on best available scientific results of measurements in the real world.

EMAP-517 Data Science and Machine Learning for Environmental Metrology. This course introduces students to the manipulation of scientific data sets and the use of modern programming frameworks for extracting scientific information using machine learning techniques. Introductory material will be focused on the mathematical fundamentals of supervised and unsupervised machine learning with an emphasis on multivariate linear & nonlinear data regression, artificial neural networks, as well as self-organizing maps, the programming of machine learning techniques using Python and supporting libraries, and the implementation, training and validation of machine learning models using the TensorFlow library. Topics within machine learning include deep convolutional networks and graph convolutional networks. By the end of the course, students will have collected an environmentally relevant data set from publicly-available sources, curated the set using software tools, and implemented machine learning models to make qualitative and/or quantitative predictions about features of interest based on selected input features.

EMAP-518 Summative Capstone Project with thesis. This is a summative independent research course. While it is officially in the fourth semester of the program, the conception of the research topic for a given student will actually start during the in-between summer internship and right after the first semester of the year-long metrology lab course (Metrology Lab I) in which students will have learned the principles of instrumental analysis related to environmental chemical and biochemical metrology. Students are required to formulate their research topic for their upcoming capstone project based on their internship research experience. During the second semester metrology lab (the Metrology Lab II) after the summer internship, each student is required to carry out 10 metrology labs selected from the Agilent Environmental Measurements Compendium that contains ~ 250 different environmental lab measurements with only one criterion that the 10 selected have to be relevant to the thematic topic of student’s internship research. At the end of the Metrology Lab II, students will be asked to formulate a draft environmental metrology research proposal based on their past course/training experience that addresses a contemporary environmental issue in preparation for the capstone project course. Students will finalize their research proposal at the very beginning of the capstone project course, then carry through the proposed measurements, write up a summative report that will discuss their results of measurements and address the research’s relevance to policy making related to the chosen contemporary environmental issue that is the focus of students’ capstone project, and finally present their findings at the end-of-the-program symposium. The integrated courses sequence, Metrology Lab I and Advanced Policy Making Science I in the second semester, internship research experience in the in-between summer, Metrology Lab II and Advanced Policy Making Science II in the third semester and then the capstone project course in the fourth semester, will prepare students well for diving deep into independent studies of contemporary environmental issues by bringing metrology and policy aspects synergistically together to bear on those issues. Students are strongly encouraged to turn their multi-semester research into publications.

EMAP-520 Alternatives to Animal Tests. The course will introduce the state of the art of Alternatives to Animal Testing in Toxicology and beyond. The students will learn about new developments and the paradigm shift in toxicology from traditional black box animal testing towards human-relevant mechanism-based approaches as proposed in National Research Council (NRC) 2007 report “Toxicity testing in 21st century: a vision and a strategy. The course will give a historical perspective of the developments in the field of toxicology in a series of lectures: 1. Need for Change: Current approaches in toxicology, history of the 3Rs (Replacement, Refinement, Reduction). 2. NRC report: Paradigm shift in toxicology; REACH and TSCA. 3. New in vitro method development and validation: from the past to now. 4. Early successfully validated and accepted in vitro alternative methods. 5. Not only Replacement: Refinement and Reduction. 6. The new generation of in vitro methods: 3D microphysiological systems and organ-on-a chip. 7. Quality assurance and Good Cell Culture Practice. 8. High-throughput screening programs toward Toxicology of 21st century: ToxCast, Tox21, EDSP. 9.In silico alternative methods: computational modeling. 10. Read-across and artificial intelligence for chemical safety. 11. Modeling of toxicokinetics (ADME) and toxicodynamics. 12. Alternatives methods beyond toxicology: drug screening, vaccine testing, pyrogen testing etc. 13. Evidence-based Toxicology. 14. Summary of the course and future perspectives

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