Faculty Profile: Joseph Braun, MPSH, PhD

Joseph Braun, MPSH, PhD
Assistant Professor-Tenure Track
Public Health-Epidemiology
Work: +1 401-863-5397


Dr. Braun is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology in the Program in Public Health. He was formerly a school nurse in Milwaukee, WI before going on to receive his MSPH and PhD in Epidemiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Braun is interested in studying whether early life environmental chemical exposures impact children's health, with a special interest in studying obesity and neurodevelopmental disorders like ADHD and autism. He is also interested in identifying modifiable sources of environmental chemical exposures in pregnant women and children.

Research Description

I am interested in determining whether environmental chemical exposures during fetal development or early childhood adversely affect infant and child health. The developing fetus and child may be more sensitive to environmental chemicals because of immature detoxification pathways and rapidly developing organ systems. Some environmental chemicals, specifically endocrine disrupting chemicals, may disrupt endogenous hormone signaling and metabolism to adversely affect development. These chemicals might increase the risk of disorders like learning disabilities, ADHD, autism, anxiety, and depression.

In addition, these chemical may act as obesogens and reprogram the developing fetus and child to more efficiently store excess calories. Recently, I have begun studying whether early life endocrine disrupting chemical exposures can affect growth and metabolism to increase the risk of obesity or cardiometabolic disorders in children.

Finally, I am interested in identifying modifiable sources of chemical exposures in pregnant women and children so that individuals can take steps to reduce their body burden of chemicals and regulators can effectively target public health interventions.

Grants and Awards

2013: University of Milwaukee-Wisconsin Graduate of the Last Decade
2010-2013: Environmental Health Perspectives Reviewer of the Year


The International Society for Children's Health and the Environment
The International Society of Environmental Epidemiology

Funded Research

R00 ES020346 (J. Braun, PI)
February 2013-January 2016
Prenatal Sex Steroids, Bisphenol A, Phthalates, and Sexually Dimorphic Behaviors
Role: PI

R01 ES021357 (A. Baccarelli, PI)
September 2012-July 2017
BPA, Phthalates & Stress: Mechanisms and Interactions for Childhood Obesity
Role: Co-Investigator

Selected Publications

  • Braun JM, Lucchini R, Bellinger D, Hoffman E, Nazzaro M, Smith DR, Wright RO. Predictors of virtual radial arm maze performance in adolescent Italian children. Neurotoxicology. In Press. (IN PRESS)
  • Kalkbrenner AE, Braun JM, Durkin MS, Maenner MJ, Cunniff C, Lee LC, Pettygrove S, Nicholas JS, and Daniels JL. Maternal smoking during pregnancy and the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders using data from the Autism and Develomental Disabilities Monitoring network. Environ Health Perspect. In Press. (IN PRESS)
  • Braun JM, Smith KW, Williams PL, et al. Variability of Urinary Phthalate Metabolite and Bisphenol A Concentrations before and during Pregnancy. Environ Health Perspect. Jan 19 2012. (2012)
  • Smith KW, Braun JM, Williams PL, Ehrlich, Berry K, Calafat, AM, Ye X, Ford J, Keller M, Meeker JD, and Hauser R. Predictors and variability of urinary paraben concentrations in men and women, including before and during pregnancy. Environ Health Perspect. 2012 (2012)
  • Braun JM, Hoffman E, Schwartz J, Sanchez B, Schnaas L, Mercado-Garcia A, Solano-Gonzalez M, Bellinger DC, Lanphear BP, Hu H, Tellez-Rojo MM, Wright RO, Hernandez-Avila M. Assessing windows of susceptibility to lead-induced cognitive deficits in Mexican children. Neurotoxicology. May 2012. (2012)
  • Rauch SA, Braun JM, Barr DB, Calafat AM, Khoury J, Motesano JA, Yolton K, and Lanphear BP. Associations of prenatal exposure to organophosphate pesticide metabolites with gestational age and birthweight. Environ Health Perspect. 2012 (2012)
  • Sathyanarayana S, Braun JM, Yolton K, Liddy S, Lanphear BP. A Case Study of High Prenatal Bisphenol A Exposure and Infant Neonatal Neurobehavior. Environ Health Perspect. 2011;23(2): 233-9. (2011)
  • Braun JM, Kalkbrenner AE, Calafat AM, et al. Impact of early-life bisphenol a exposure on behavior and executive function in children. Pediatrics. Nov 2011;128(5):873-882 (2011)
  • Braun JM, Kalkbrenner AE, Calafat AM, et al. Variability and Predictors of Urinary Bisphenol Concentrations During Pregnancy. Environ Health Perspect. 2011;119(1):131-7. (2011)
  • Anderko L, Braun JM, Auinger P. Contribution of Tobacco Smoke Exposure to Learning Disabilities. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing. 2010;39(1):111-117. (2010)
  • Kalkbrenner AE, Hornung RW, Bernert JT, Hammond SK, Braun JM, Lanphear BP. Determinants of serum cotinine and hair cotinine as biomarkers of childhood secondhand smoke exposure. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2010;20(7):615-24. (2010)
  • Braun JM, Daniels JL, Poole C, et al. Prenatal Tobacco Smoke Exposure and Early Childhood BMI. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiolgy. 2010; 24(6):524-34. (2010)
  • Braun J, Daniels J, Poole C, et al. A prospective cohort study of biomarkers of prenatal tobacco smoke exposure: The correlation between serum and meconium and their association with infant birth weight. Environmental Health. 2010;9:53 (2010)
  • Braun JM, Yolton K, Dietrich KN, et al. Prenatal bisphenol A exposure and early childhood behavior. Environ Health Perspect. Dec 2009;117(12):1945-1952. (2009)
  • Braun JM, Daniels JL, Kalkbrenner A, Zimmerman J, Nicholas JS. The Effect of Maternal Smoking during Pregnancy on Intellectual Disabilities among 8-Year Old Children in Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina, and Utah. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2009; 23(5): 482-491. (2009)
  • Froehlich TE, Lanphear BP, Auinger P, Hornung R, Epstein JN, Braun J, Kahn RS. Association of tobacco and lead exposures with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Pediatrics. 2009;124(6):e1054-1063. (2009)
  • Baker AM, Braun JM, Salafia CM, et al. Risk factors for uteroplacental vascular compromise and inflammation. Am J Obstet Gynecol. Sep 2008;199(3):256 e251-259. (2008)
  • Braun JM, Froehlich TE, Daniels JL, et al. Association of environmental toxicants and conduct disorder in U.S. children: NHANES 2001-2004. Environ Health Perspect. Jul 2008;116(7):956-962. (2008)
  • Braun JM, Froehlich TF, Kahn RS, Auinger P, Lanphear BP. Exposures to environmental toxicants and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in U.S. children Environ Health Perspect. 2006;114 (12):1904-1909. (2006)