Dr. Frank Gilliland is a physician-scientist who has directed the Center since 2006. Dr. Gilliland is an established leading investigator in air pollution research, respiratory health and cancer epidemiology, and gene-environment interactions, and he has been the principal investigator for many epidemiological investigations. Since arriving at USC in 1997, he has published more than 190 scientific papers. Dr. Gilliland is Hastings Professor of Preventive Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. After obtaining a master’s degree in physics, he received his medical degree from the University of Virginia, followed by a residency and fellowship in occupational and environmental medicine at the University of Minnesota, where he received his M.P.H. and Ph.D. in environmental epidemiology. He also obtained board certification in emergency medicine and in environmental and occupational medicine. Prior to his appointment at USC, Dr. Gilliland was a faculty member at the University of New Mexico, focusing on occupational and environmental determinants of malignant and non-malignant respiratory disease as well as prostate and breast cancer.
Dr. Gilliland’s research contributions at USC have provided new insights into the effects of radon progeny exposure and susceptibility to adverse respiratory effects of air pollution and tobacco smoke exposures, resulting from his focus on investigating the genetic, dietary, and other determinants of environmental and occupational lung disease and cancer. Dr. Gilliland also has an active research program in children’s environmental health and is the principal investigator of the Children’s Health Study (CHS), a groundbreaking study of the chronic effects of air pollution on children’s respiratory health. Results from the CHS have demonstrated that current levels of air pollution have chronic, adverse effects on lung development in children, leading to clinically significant deficits in attained lung function as children reach adulthood. Results from studies of this highly exposed population have been used to illustrate the magnitude of the contribution of outdoor air pollution and the potential for interventions to reduce the burden of respiratory disease.