To All Veterans: Thank you for your service!
Before working to protect human health and the environment, EPA scientists Swinburne A. J. (Jason) Augustine, Ph.D. and Heriberto Cabezas, Ph.D. worked to protect our country while serving in the U.S. Military. Both scientists recently shared some thoughts about their work for our “EPA Researchers@Work” website, and we are highlighting those interviews on Veterans Day, 2012 as part of our efforts to thank Veterans everywhere for their service.
Dr. Swinburne A. J. Augustine (Jason), Ph.D. is an EPA Research Microbiologist/Immunologist. His research is aimed at developing and applying rapid, cost-effective and multiplexed immunoassays to determine and/or measure human exposures to environmental pathogens using antibodies in human saliva as biomarkers of exposure. He is a member of the American Association of Immunologists and the American Society for Microbiology. Dr. Augustine also served in the U.S. Army.
How does your science matter?
Every day, we are exposed to a myriad of harmful environmental (airborne, food-borne, and waterborne) organisms. Sometimes they make us sick but more often than not, our immune system protects us from these pathogens. My research uses antibodies in human saliva to measure levels of exposure to environmental pathogens. Epidemiologists use this data to determine if the levels of exposure are high enough to be harmful to humans. This information helps inform Agency decisions on what measures should be taken to protect human health. My research partners and I are analyzing multiple pathogens simultaneously, which saves EPA time and money.
Dr. Heriberto Cabezas, Ph.D. is currently the Senior Science Advisor to the Sustainable Technology Division in EPA’s National Risk Management Research Lab, where he works to advance the scientific understanding, development, and application of science and technologies to address a variety of areas related to sustainability. He was formerly an Acting Director of the Division, and Chief of the Sustainable Environments Branch.
How does your science matter?
My work focuses on preventing environmental problems from happening in the first place. I mostly work on designing processes that have the smallest environmental footprint.
More recently, I have been working on sustainability. We have to ask ourselves, “How can we successfully manage the environment so that we avoid environmental problems in the long term?” The kinds of things that my coworkers and I do matter because it’s the best way to protect the environment and human health: being proactive. We’re not trying to fix a problem after it has already occurred, but trying to see if we can prevent the problems from occurring in the first place. I think that is important.
Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.