Zorimar Rivera-Núñez, PhD, MS
Zorimar Rivera-Núñez, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the Rutgers School of Public Health. She is also a member of the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute. Dr. Rivera-Núñez holds a bachelor’s degree in microbiology and a master’s degree in environmental health sciences from the University of Puerto Rico. She earned her doctoral degree from the University of Michigan. She completed a National Academies post-doctoral fellowship at the United States Environmental Protection Agency, National Center for Environmental Assessment.
Dr. Rivera-Núñez’s research focuses on the utility of biomarkers identifying windows of exposure and susceptibility, the impact of these chemicals in fetal and child growth, and the endocrine and placental mechanisms behind these associations. 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.