Dr Christine Cowie is an environmental epidemiologist and Senior Research Fellow with the UNSW South West Sydney Clinical School and the Centre for Air Pollution, Energy and Health Research (CAR) based at the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research (WIMR). Her major research focus is in quantifying the health effects of air pollution exposures and developing appropriate tools for exposure measurement. She has a special interest in the health effects of traffic related exposures.
She has a broad background in environmental health, encompassing research, teaching at the University of Sydney in the Master of Public Health, and policy implementation with the NSW Health Department for over ten years as well as work with a Public Health Unit. Her work with the NSW Health Department’s Environmental Health Branch (EHB) focussed on water quality and lead contamination issues and she established and managed the Water Unit within the EHB. This involved developing a new regulatory program for NSW Health when it assumed newly established regulatory powers over the Sydney Water Corporation and the Sydney Catchment Authority. It also involved a major restructure of NSW's drinking water monitoring program and laboratory resources to support the program.
Christine is currently project managing, managing fieldwork and contributing expertise to an NHMRC funded project - the Air Pollution, Mortality and Morbidity in Adult Australians (APMMA) Study. The APMMA Study is funding a large body of work in exposure assessment by modelling PM2.5 and NO2 across NSW using cutting edge methods, and will apply these models to estimate exposure to one of the largest cohorts in the Southern Hemisphere, the 45 & Up Study cohort comprising >265,000 participants. The APMMA Study will link health data for these participants to modelled air quality data to examine the relationship between long-term exposure to air pollution and adverse mortality and morbidity outcomes.
Other current work includes development of a land use regression model for estimating NO2 for application to a birth cohort in western Sydney and investigating the effect of genetic polymorphisms on the relationship between air pollution exposure and respiratory outcomes. She has been awarded seed funding to conduct field monitoring of wood heater emissions in Sydney to determine the spatial and temporal changes in these emissions. She is also researching the extent to which current energy transitions policies and documents consider public health in their remit, and separately examining policies and practice in NSW related to waste to energy treatment plants.
For her PhD, awarded in 2013, Christine managed the Air Quality and Respiratory Health Study (AQRHS) which investigated changes to air quality and health before and after opening of the Lane Cove Tunnel in Sydney.
Guest lecturing in air pollution epidemiology in the Master of Public Health.
Previously coordinated the Environmental Health subject in the MPH at The University of Sydney.