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Biostatistics and Epidemiology

Faculty Profile

  • Zorimar Rivera-Núñez, PhD, MS

  • Assistant Professor

  • Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology

  • CV

Keywords

Environmental epidemiology, biomarkers, measurement error, endocrine disruptors, pregnancy, placenta, drinking water contaminants, big data.

Biography
Dr. Rivera-Núñez holds a BS in Microbiology and a MS in Environmental Health Sciences from the University of Puerto Rico. Her doctoral degree is from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI. She completed a National Academies post-doctoral fellowship at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Center for Environmental Assessment in Cincinnati, OH. Dr. Rivera-Núñez joined the Rutgers School of Public Health in 2019. She is also a resident faculty member at the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute.

Research Interests
Current exposure assessment tools such as biomarkers potentially allow for increasingly sensitive measures of exposure-related impending adverse health effects. However, developing biomarkers that correlate with specific time windows that are more susceptible to environmental insult is an ongoing challenge. To develop such biomarkers we need to improve epidemiological study design and increase our knowledge on the biological mechanisms behind a chemical’s toxicity. Dr. Rivera-Núñez research focuses on: (1) the utility of biomarkers identifying windows of exposure and susceptibility, particularly for emergent chemicals, (2) the impact of these chemicals in fetal and child growth, and (3) the endocrine and placental mechanisms behind these associations. Dr. Rivera-Núñez is currently funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) to study zearalenone exposure during pregnancy and early infant growth (R01ESO2275-02S1, R21ES032047). She also receives funding from the NIH Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) program to study how placental transporters influence the associations between maternal exposures and child outcomes.

Select Publications
Rivera-Núñez, Z., Ashrap, P., Barrett, E. S., Watkins, D. J., Cathy, A. L., Vélez-Vega, C. M., Rosario, Z., Cordero, J. F., Alshawabkeh, A., Meeker, J. D. (2021) "Association of Biomarkers of Exposure to metals and metalloids with maternal hormones in pregnant women from Puerto Rico", Environ Int. Vol. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33321388/

Jimenez, M. E., Rivera-Núñez, Z., Crabtree, B. F., Hill, D., Pellerano, M. B., Devance, D., MacenaT, M., Lima, D., Martínez Alcaráz, E., Ferrante, J. M., Barrett, E. S., Blaser, M. J., Panettieri, R. A., Hudson, S. V. (2021) "Black and Latinx Community Perspectives on COVID-19 Mitigation Behaviors, Testing, and Vaccines", JAMA Network Open Vol. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34264327/

Kinkade, C. W., Rivera-Núñez, Z., Gorczyca, L., Aleksunes, L. A., Barrett, E. S. (2021) "Impact of Fusarium-Derived Mycoestrogens on Female Reproduction: A Systematic Review", Toxins Vol. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34073731/

Padula, A. M., Rivera-Núñez, Z., Barrett, E. S. (2020) "Combined Impacts of Prenatal Environmental Exposures and Psychosocial Stress on Offspring Health: Air Pollution and Metals", Curr Envi Health Rpt Vol. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32347455/

Rivera-Núñez, Z., Barrett, E., Szamreta, E., Shapses, S., Qin, B., Lin, Y., Zarbl, H., Buckley, B., Bandera, E. (2019) "Urinary mycoestrogens and age and height at menarche in New Jersey girls.", Environmental health : a global access science source Vol. 18 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30902092/

Wright, J. M., Evans, A., Kaufman, J. A., Rivera-Núñez, Z., Narotzky, M. G. (2017) "The association between disinfectant by-product exposures and risk of cardiac birth defects in Massachusetts", Environ. Health Perspect Vol. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27518881/

Rivera-Núñez, Z., Meliker, J. R., Meeker, J. D., Nriagu, J. O. (2012) "Urinary arsenic species, toenail arsenic, and estimates of arsenic intake in a southeastern Michigan population with low-to-moderate exposure to arsenic in drinking water", Expo. Sci. Environ. Epidemiol Vol. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21878987/

Rivera-Núñez, Z., Wright, J. M., Blount, B. C., Silva, L. K., Jones, E., Chan, R. L., Pegram, R. A., Singer, P. C., Savitz, D. A. (2012) "Comparison of trihalomethanes in tap water and blood: a case study in the United States", Environ. Health Perspect Vol. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22281753/

Scholarly Activities
Early Career Reviewer Program National Institute of Health

Society of Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology Research

International Society of Exposure Science

International Society of Environmental Epidemiology

Social Media & Websites
MyNCBI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/myncbi/zorimar.rivera-nunez.1/bibliography/public/