EH Faculty


Justin Remais  

Updated: 05/22/2014    [update]
Associate Professor (Graduate Faculty)

Global Environmental Heath

Department of:
Environmental Health

Rollins School of Public Health
1518 Clifton Road, NE
Claudia Nance Rollins Bldg, Room 2023
Atlanta, GA 30322
tel: 404.712.8908
fax: 404.727.8744

MS, Civil and Environmental Engineering, 2002, University of California at Berkeley
PhD, Environmental Health Sciences, 2006, University of California at Berkeley
Additional Appointment(s):
Director, Graduate Program in Global Environmental Health
Associate Professor of Population Biology, Ecology and Evolution, Jointly Appointed
Adjunct Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology
Associate Professor of Environmental Studies, Associated Faculty
Courses Taught:
EH 582: Global Climate Change: Health Impacts and Response
EH 586: Advanced Seminar in Climate Change and Health: Research and Policy
EHS 750: The Environmental Determinants of Infectious Disease
GH 582: Env, Climate & Infect Disease
Career Overview:


Prof. Remais awarded $2.5 million to address waterborne disease risks in a changing and variable climate (August 2014)
Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health has received a five-year, $2.5 million research grant from the National Science Foundation to develop new computational approaches for better understanding and responding to infectious disease risks that result from a changing and variable climate, led by PI Dr. Justin Remais. Our research team will develop open-source computational models of surface water quality and waterborne disease risk that account for complex relationships between meteorological phenomena and pathogen growth, survival and transport, using as test sites well-studied regions in western China and northern Ecuador. The new NSF project makes this research possible by bringing together top earth scientists, environmental engineers, mathematical modelers, social scientists and epidemiologists from Emory, University of Florida, Georgia Institute of Technology, Trinity College and University of Michigan. The research is funded by the NSF's Water, Sustainability and Climate Program, which is part an NSF-wide initiative in Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability. To read more, see this press release.

Climate Change Mitigation: Assessing Strategies that Offer Potential Human Health Benefits (May 2014)
Climate change mitigation strategies, including efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, are not specifically designed to improve human health but can potentially do so. In our manuscript in the May 2014 issue of EHP, we critically examine modeling approaches for estimating health co-benefits of GHG mitigation, and highlight model improvements that could help assess which mitigation strategies are the most promising for both climate and human health. See also the associated EHP Science Selections news item.

China faces major challenges to ensure food safety and supply (July 2013)
China's vast population and global economic importance make the stability and safety of the country's food supply a global public health priority and a major concern for international markets and trading partners. Our collaborative study published in the The Lancet examines why food supply issues have historically been of prime importance to China’s policymakers and citizens alike, and it analyzes the country's recent shift in attention from food supply issues to food safety concerns.

Infectious and non-communicable diseases converge in developing countries (April 2013)
Our paper on the Convergence of non-communicable and infectious diseases in low- and middle-income countries was critically discussed by three invited commentaries in the most recent issue of the International Journal of Epidemiology. The three commentators expanded on our discussion of infection-related cancers, the links between TB, diabetes and smoking, and the social causes of disease.

News Release: Significant disparities in disease from unsafe water and sanitation in China (August 2012)
While the global community has struggled to meet the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals regarding provision of safe water and sanitation, China is rightfully held up as a model, having dramatically expanded access to both over the past few decades. Our recent work in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization reveals gaps in China’s tremendous progress towards providing safe water and adequate sanitation. Read the full article (PDF) and see also this piece in the ASPH Friday Letter.

A call for improved balance between environmental and clinical responses to infectious disease (April 2012)
In a commentary appearing in The Lancet, colleague Joe Eisenberg and I argue that management of many infectious diseases of global importance could benefit from increased attention paid to environmental interventions. We call for setting funding priorities to address both clinical and environmental knowledge gaps, and for a combination of clinical and environmental interventions for infectious diseases that are implemented on the basis of the evidence. See the full article here and this piece in the ASPH Friday Letter.

News Release: Urbanization in China pushes up disease rates and health-care disparities (March 2012)
In the past three decades, China has seen a staggering rate of urbanization, and this shift from rural to urban has important public-health consequences, according to our recent work appearing in The Lancet. See this piece in the ASPH Friday Letter.
中国的城市化与健康《柳叶刀》 (Mandarin version of the article)

Our recent review paper made the cover of the April 2011 issue of PLoS Pathogens. (April 2011)

News Release: Greening China's Indoor Fuel Use (March 2011)
Anaerobic digesters could reduce greenhouse emissions while improving health in rural China, according to our recent work in the journal Environmental Science & Technology..

News Release: Air, Water Pollution Major Cause of Death and Disease in China (March 2010)
Pollution causes a significant number of deaths and diseases in China, according to our work published in The Lancet. Also see AFP, VOA radio and UK Independent coverage of the paper.
中国的环境卫生:向空气清新、水质安全迈进《柳叶刀》 (Mandarin version of the article)


Positions Held

Associate Professor, Emory University, March 2013 - Present
Assistant Professor, Emory University, August 2008 - March 2013
Research Scientist, University of California at Berkeley, January 2007 - July 2008

Areas of Interest/Research:
Global Health
Infectious Disease
Risk Assessment
Safe Water
Selected Research Projects:

2006 - 2013: Environmental Change and Parasite Diffusion in China (NSF EEID)

2009 - 2012: Assessing the Cumulative Climate-Related Health Risks in the Eastern U.S. (CDC)

2011 - 2016: Models for improving surveillance of environmentally-mediated infectious diseases in China (NIAID)

2012 - 2014: Flood-related pathogen risk models appropriate for low resource settings (NSF CBET)

2014 - 2019: Analytical methods for estimating the joint climatological-social drivers of water quality and supply in contrasting tropical zones (NSF WSC)

Selected Publications:

See all current publications on the Remais Research Group website
Moore J,
Remais, J

Developmental models for estimating ecological responses to environmental variability: structural, parametric, and experimental issues
Acta Biotheoretica
, 62: 69-90, 2014.
Remais, J
, Hess J, Ebi K, Markandya A, Balbus J, Wilkinson P, Haines A, Chalabi Z
Estimating the health effects of greenhouse gas mitigation strategies: addressing parametric, model and valuation challenges
Environmental Health Perspectives
, 22: 447-455, 2014.
Remais, J
, Zeng G, Li G, Tian L, Engelgau M
Convergence of non-communicable and infectious diseases in low- and middle-income countries
International Journal of Epidemiology
, 42: 221-227, 2013.
Wu J, Dhingra R, Gambhir M,
Remais, J

Sensitivity analysis of infectious disease models: methods, advances and their application
Journal of the Royal Society Interface
, 10: 2013.
Remais, J
, Eisenberg J
Balancing Clinical and Environmental Responses to Infectious Diseases
The Lancet
, 379: 1457-1459, 2012.
Gong P, Liang S, Carlton E, Jiang Q, Wu J, Wang L,
Remais, J
Urbanization and Health in China
The Lancet
, 379: 843-852, 2012.
Carlton E, Liang S, McDowell J, Li H, Luo W,
Remais, J

Regional disparities in the burden of disease attributable to unsafe water and sanitation in China
Bulletin of the World Health Organization
, 90: 578-587, 2012.
Moore J, Liang S, Akullian A,
Remais, J

Cautioning the use of degree-day models for climate change projections: predicting the future distribution of parasite hosts in the presence of parametric uncertainty
Ecological Applications
, 22: 2237-2247, 2012.
Xiao N,
Remais, J
, Brindley P, Qiu D, Spear R, Lei Y, Blair D
Polymorphic microsatellites in the human bloodfluke, Schistosoma japonicum, identified using a genomic resource
Parasites & Vectors
, 4: 2011.
Remais, J
, Zhang J.
Environmental Lessons from China: Finding Promising Policies in Unlikely Places
Environmental Health Perspectives
, 119: 893-895, 2011.
Worrell C, Xiao N, Vidal J, Chen L, Zhong B,
Remais, J

Field Detection of Schistosoma japonicum Cercariae in Environmental Water Samples by Quantitative PCR
Applied and Environmental Microbiology
, 11: 2192–2195, 2011.
Dhingra R, Christensen ER, Liu Y, Zhong B, Wu C-F, Yost MG,
Remais, J

Greenhouse gas emission reductions from domestic anaerobic digesters linked with sustainable sanitation in rural China
Environmental Science & Technology
, 45: 2345–2352, 2011.
Remais, J
, Xiao N, Akullian A, Qiu D, and Blair D
Genetic assignment methods for gaining insight into the management of infectious disease by understanding vector, host and pathogen movement
PLoS Pathogens
, 7: 4, 2011.
Zhang J, Mauzerall D, Zhu T, Liang S, Ezzati M,
Remais, J

Environmental health in China: challenges to achieving clean air and safe water
The Lancet
, 375: 1110 - 1119, 2010.
Remais, J
, Akullian A, Ding L, Seto E.
Analytical methods for quantifying environmental connectivity for the control and surveillance of infectious disease spread
Journal of the Royal Society Interface
, 7: 1181-93, 2010.
Gambhir M, Bockarie M, Tisch D, Kazura J,
Remais, J
, Spear R and Michael E
Geographic and ecologic heterogeneity in elimination thresholds for the major vector-borne helminthic disease, lymphatic filariasis
BMC Biology
, 8: 22, 2010.
Remais, J
, Zhong B, Carlton EJ, Spear RC
Model approaches for estimating the influence of time-varying socio-environmental factors on macroparasite transmission in two endemic regions
, 1: 213-220, 2009.
Remais, J
, Liang S, Spear RC
Coupling hydrologic and infectious disease models to explain regional differences in schistosomiasis transmission in southwestern China
Environ. Sci. Technol.
, 42: 2643–2649, 2008.
Hung, YW,
Remais, J

Quantitative detection of Schistosoma japonicum cercariae in water by real-time PCR
PLoS neglected tropical diseases
, 2: e337, 2008.
Remais, J
, Hubbard A, Wu Z, Spear RC
Weather-driven dynamics of an intermediate host: mechanistic and statistical population modelling of Oncomelania hupensis
Journal of Applied Ecology
, 44: 781-791, 2007.
Liang S, Seto E,
Remais, J
, Zhong B, Yang C, Hubbard A, Davis G, Gu X, Qiu D, Spear RC
Environmental effects on transmission and control of parasitic diseases exemplified by schistosomiasis in Western China
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
, 104: 6879-6880, 2007.
Driscoll AJ, Kyle JL,
Remais, J

Development of a novel PCR assay capable of detecting a single Schistosoma japonicum cercaria recovered from Oncomelania hupensis
, 131: 497-500, 2005.
Other affiliations and Activities:

Associate Professor of Population Biology, Ecology and Evolution, Jointly Appointed
Associate Professor of Environmental Studies, Associated Faculty
Adjunct Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology

Research website:

Dr. Remais is Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Health at Emory's Rollins School of Public Health. His research bridges host, environmental, and parasitic disease phenomena using mathematical and statistical modeling of host-environment interactions, landscape genetics, and field epidemiology to illuminate the fundamental processes of disease spread in changing environments. His NIH- and NSF-funded research in China examines the spatial and temporal factors that propagate environmentally-mediated infectious diseases, with the goal of improving the timing and targeting of control and surveillance activities. He also develops risk models aimed to protect populations from, and prepare populations for, the various health risks associated with climate change. His current project in this area (with colleagues at Emory, funded by the U.S. CDC) quantitatively examines multiple health risks that are directly, proximally, and distally related to climate change: infectious disease vectors, heat stress and outdoor air pollution. His teaching has included undergraduate and graduate level courses in Climate Change and Health, Global Environmental Health and Environmental Determinants of Infectious Disease. Dr. Remais holds a master’s in Civil and Environmental Engineering and a doctorate in Environmental Health Sciences, both from the University of California at Berkeley.

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