James P Fabisiak

  • Associate Professor, Vice Chair of Practice
  • Director, Center of Healthy Environments and Communities, Environmental and Occupational Health

As a toxicologist I have a long standing interest in trying to understand how various chemical exposures come to adversely affect our health. Specifically, I try to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which various air pollutants, and other inhaled toxicants produce lung injury and respiratory dysfunction. Past projects have explored such concepts as interactions between airborne particulate-derived metals and microbial infection, bifunctional role of the metal binding protein, metallothionein, as both a pro- or anti-oxidant, and the significance of selective phospholipid oxidation as a signal in the execution of the cell death processes, such as apoptosis. My laboratory extensively utilizes in vitro cell culture methods and mouse animal models to interrogate these questions. New challenges and needs constantly emerge which require us to constantly refine our research. We have recently begun initiatives into the study of how differences in cellular bioenergetics and energy metabolism may determine genetic susceptibility to chemical induced acute lung injury. Exposure to these lung damaging agents can occur as acts of terrorism or large scale industrial accidents and our studies may lead to new modes of treatment for casualties of these incidents. I have also recently turned attention toward human exposures of local importance. The safety of unconventional natural gas drilling, or "fracking" is controversial and occurring in PA at an unprecedented rate. By conducting air pollution monitoring studies in the vicinity of residences in close proximity to gas extraction activities we hope to assist communities and stakeholders in making the transition to this booming industry in a safe and responsible manner. Productive research frequently requires extensive collaboration and at times I have worked closely with many other faculty in our department and university.


1976 | Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY | BS Biology/Psychology
1980 | N.Y.S. College of Veterinary Med., Cornell University, Ithaca, NY | MS Veterinary Science
1986 | Milton S. Hershey Med. Ctr., Penn State University, Ithaca, NY | PhD Pharmacology
1986-1989 | University of Vermont, Burlington, VT | Post-doctoral Fellowship


Course Director
EOH 2175: Principles of Toxicology
2000 – present
3 credits

EOH 2180/2181: Introduction to Risk Assessment/Environmental Risk Assessment.
2014 – present
3 credits


EOH 1212: Health, Disease, & the Environment
2004 – present
3 credits

EOH 2310: Molecular Fundamentals
2012 – present
3 credits

PUBHLT 1003: Introduction to Public and Global Health (undergraduate)
2013 – present
3 credits