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Jeremy M. Gernand, PhD, CRE, CSP
Assistant Professor | Environmental Health and Safety Engineering
John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering
The Pennsylvania State University
121 Hosler Building | University Park, PA 16802 | jmgernand
[at] psu [dot] edu | 814.865.5861

© 2013-2019 by Jeremy M. Gernand | Created with WebPlus X6 by www.serif.com | Last Updated: 15 November 2019

My research activities focus on using quantitative risk analysis including probabilistic models and data informatics to make recommendations on environmental health and safety policy including assessing the feasibility or effectiveness of system design mandates or regulations. A few short descriptions of current research initiatives follow below.

*Though some grants and publications could conceivably apply to more than one of the broad initiatives below, each is only recorded once.

Understanding the Characteristics Influencing Nano- and Ultrafine Particle Toxicity, and Possible Policy Responses

The number of variations between different batches of nanomaterials (e.g. carbon nanotubes) makes the determination of the causes of observed differences in their toxicity more complicated than it is for organic chemicals. Our group develops and employs novel data mining techniques on the accumulated toxicity information on nanomaterials to help guide materials designers and regulators on the characteristics associated with increased toxic potential.

Grants and Contracts

“Forecasting Pulmonary Inflammation from In Vitro Assay Results for Nanoparticles.” PI: Gernand J. Total Budget: $133,470. Period of Performance: Sept 2015 to Aug 2017. Sponsor: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

Testing the Predictive Power of Nanoparticle Characteristics for In Vitro and In Vivo Toxicity.” PI: Gernand J. Total Budget: $87,795. Period of Performance: Jul 2014 to Aug 2015. Sponsor: Center for the Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (CEINT), Duke University

“Connecting Cells to Worms to Mice to Workers: Extending Nanomaterial Toxicity Modeling for Environmental and Occupational Risk Assessment.” PI: Gernand J. Total Budget: $3,036. Period of Performance: Feb 2014 to Dec 2014. Sponsor: College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, Penn State University


Ramchandran V. and Gernand J. “Examining the In Vivo Pulmonary Toxicity of Engineered Metal Oxide Nanomaterials Using a Genetic Algorithm-Based Dose-Response-Recovery Clustering Model.” Computational Toxicology. Revisions Submitted.

Ramchandran V. and Gernand J. “A Dose-Response-Recovery Clustering Algorithm for Categorizing Carbon Nanotube Variants into Toxicologically Distinct Groups.” Computational Toxicology. doi:10.1016/j.comtox.2019.02.003. 11:25-32. August 2019.

Ramchandran V. and Gernand J. “Examining Pulmonary Toxicity of Engineered Nanoparticles Using Clustering for Safe Exposure Limits.” Proc. Of IMECE2018. No. 87431. doi:10.1115/IMECE2018-87431. November 2018.

Edinger S. and Gernand J. “N2-BET is a Proxy for Primary Particle Size and is Not Representative of Biologically Available Specific Surface Area for Aggregated Nanoparticles.” J. of Nanosci. and Nanotech. doi:10.1166/jnn.2018.15353 18(5):3049-3058. May 2018.

Gernand J. “Limitations on the Reliability of In Vitro Toxicity Experiments to Predict Pulmonary Toxicity in Rodents.” Proc. of IMECE2016. No. 67151.  doi: 10.1115/IMECE2016-67151. November 2016.

Stone V., Johnston H., Balharry D., Gulumian M., and Gernand J. “Approaches to Develop Alternative Testing Strategies to Inform Human Health Risk Assessment of Nanomaterials.” Risk Analysis. doi:10.1111/risa.12645. 36(8):1538-1550. August 2016.

Gernand J. and Casman E. “Nanoparticle Characteristic Interaction Effects on Pulmonary Toxicity - A Random Forest Modeling Framework to Compare Risks of Nanomaterial Variants.” J. of Risk and Uncertainty in Engineering Systems. doi:10.1115/1.4031216. 2(2):021002. January 2016.

Gernand J. and Casman E. “A Meta-Analysis of Carbon Nanotube Toxicity Experiments - How Physical Dimensions and Purity Affect the Toxicity of Carbon Nanotubes.” Risk Analysis. 34(3):583-597. doi:10.1111/risa.12109. March 2014.

Gernand J. and Casman E. “Selecting Nanoparticle Properties to Mitigate Risks to Workers and the Public - A Machine Learning Modeling Framework to Compare Pulmonary Toxicity Risks of Nanomaterials.” Proc. of IMECE2013. No. 62687. doi:10.1115/IMECE2013-62687. November 2013.

Characterizing Real World Particulate Exposures, Estimating Health Impacts, Evaluating Relevant Policy

While exposure experiments to nanoparticles in the laboratory are highly controlled and present just one type of particle at a time to the animal or cellular subjects, real world exposures are quite complex. Although most existing research just characterizes aerosol exposures by the mass concentration of PM10, PM2.5 or PM0.1, our group is performing a detailed size and chemical composition breakdown of these complex mixtures to reveal the size distributions of each particle type present in these complex aerosol mixtures. In addition to direct sample collection, we conduct PM dispersion modeling to predict exposures for various groups of people at risk of exposure including heavy metals from coal fired power plants and diesel engine emissions at hydraulic fracturing sites.  


“Investigating Indoor Air Pollutant Variability, Source Contributions, and Respiratory Health in Senegal.” PI: Gernand J. Total Budget: $50,000. Period of Performance: Nov 2018 to Jun 2020. Sponsor: Penn State Institute for Energy and the Environment

“Heavy Metal Exposures and Aggressive Prostate Cancer.” PI: McDonald A. (Gernand J. - Collaborator). Total Budget: $50,000. Period of Performance: Jul 2018 to Jun 2020. Sponsor: Penn State Institute for Energy and the Environment

Collecting and Characterizing Saharan Dust and Associated Pathogens for Evaluating Disease Risk across the Meningitis Belt and Cape Verde.” PI: Jenkins G. (Gernand J. - Co-PI). Total Budget: $25,000. Period of Performance: Mar 2016 to Dec 2016. Sponsor: Penn State Institute for Energy and the Environment

“Characterizing the Ambient Background Nanoparticle Distributions in Workplaces.” PI: Gernand J. Total Budget: $12,960. Period of Performance: Apr 2014 to Aug 2015. Sponsor: National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)


Banan Z. and Gernand J. “Model Predicted Distribution of PM2.5 Exposure-Related Health Effects from Marcellus Shale Gas Development in Pennsylvania, 2005-2017.” In Review.

Lai K., Looi S., Li M., Ilçi F., Naushad H., and Gernand J. “Characterization of User PM Exposure During the Application of Aerosol Mineral-Based Sunscreens Shows Minimal Risk.” In Review.

Ilçi F., Li M., and Gernand J. “Detailed Physico-Chemical Characterization of the Ambient Fine and Ultrafine Particulate Matter at a Construction Site.” In Review.

Marone A., Kane C., Jenkins G., and Gernand J. “Characterization of Aerosol Bacteria from Dust Events in Dakar, Senegal.” In Review.

Mol M.F., Li M., and Gernand J. “Particulate Matter Emissions Associated with Marcellus Shale Drilling Waste Disposal and Transport.” J. of Air & Waste Management Association. Revisions Requested.

Banan Z. and Gernand J. “Emissions of Particulate Matter due to Marcellus Shale Gas Development in Pennsylvania: Mapping the Implications.” Environmental Research. Revisions Requested.

Li M. and Gernand J. “Identifying Shelter Locations and Building Air Intake Risk from Release of Particulate Matter in a Three-Dimensional Street Canyon.” Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health. Accepted.

Banan Z. and Gernand J. “Evaluation of Gas Well Setback Policy in the Marcellus Shale Region of Pennsylvania in Relation to Emissions of Fine Particulate Matter.” J. of Air & Waste Management Association. doi:10.1080/10962247.2018.1462866. 68(9):988-1000. May 2018.

Assessing the Efficiency and Efficacy of Policy Aimed at Protecting Worker and Public Health and Safety

To ensure equity in terms of occupational and public risks to health and safety, governments typically turn to regulations to limit exposures, ensure reporting of problems, and reduce the risk of injuries and disease. These policies have limitations and one aim of my research is to evaluate the effectiveness and the efficiency of actual and proposed policies to reduce real risks to people.


Lashgari A., Kohler J., and Gernand J. “An Evaluation of a Compliance Sampling Program for Respirable Dust.” In Review.

Gernand J. “The Occupational Safety Implications of the California Residential Rooftop Solar Photovoltaic Systems Mandate.” Journal of Safety Research. Revisions Submitted.

Agrawal S. and Gernand J. “Quantifying the Economic Impact of Hydraulic Fracturing Proppant Selection of Light of Occupational Particulate Exposure Risk and Functional Requirements.” Risk Analysis. Accepted.

Gernand J. “An Analysis of the Trends in US Offshore Oil and Gas Safety and Environmental Performance.” Proc. of IMECE2019. Accepted.

Eslambolchi S., Grayson R., and Gernand J. “Policy Changes in Safety Enforcement for Underground Coal Mines Show Size-Dependent Effects.” Safety Science. doi:10.1016/j.ssci.2018.10.005. 112(2019):223-231. February 2019.

Gernand J. “Occupational Safety Implications of the Changing Energy Mix.” Proc. Of IMECE2018. No. 86678. doi:10.1115/IMECE2018-86678. November 2018.

Silva-Castro J., Li L., and Gernand J., “Reliability Analysis for Mine Blast Performance Based on Delay Type and Firing Time.” Intl. J. Of Mining Science and Tech. doi:10.1016/j.ijmst.2017.07.004. 28(2):195-204. March 2018.

Gernand J. “Evaluation of Risk Reduction Effectiveness in OSHA’s Workplace Sampling Activities.” Proc. of IMECE2016. No. 65942. doi:10.1115/IMECE2016-65942 November 2016.

Gernand J. “Evaluating the Effectiveness of Mine Safety Enforcement Actions in Forecasting the Lost-Days Rate at Specific Work Sites.” J. of Risk and Uncertainty in Engineering Systems. doi:10.1115/1.4032929. 2(4):041002. March 2016.

York J. and Gernand J. “Evaluating the Performance and Accuracy of Incident Rate Forecasting Methods for Mining Operations.” J. of Risk and Uncertainty in Engineering Systems. doi:10.1115/1.4036309. 3(4):041001. June 2017.

York J. and Gernand J. “Ascertainment of the Archetype Statistical Method for Incident Rate Forecasting Through Forecast Performance Evaluations.” Proc. of IMECE2015. No. 53138. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-53138. November 2015.

Gernand J. “Particulate Matter: Fine and Ultrafine - How Emerging Data on Engineered Nanomaterials May Change How We Regulate Worker Exposures to Dust.” Proc. of IMECE2015. No. 53056. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-53056. November 2015.

Gernand J. “Machine Learning Classification Models for More Effective Mine Safety Inspections.” Proc. of IMECE2014. No. 38709. doi:10.1115/IMECE2014-38709. November 2014.

Understanding and Ameliorating Biases in Engineers’ Estimates, Judgments, and Decisions Regarding Risk

All humans have cognitive biases when considering risk and potential choices to mitigate those risks. However, engineers, who must make decisions about the risks to others, continually evaluate very consequential and very unlikely events, which can be prone to their own particular characteristics and challenges. My research in this area attempts to experimentally explore these biases and decision making processes through techniques developed in experimental psychology and behavioral economics to understand how to help engineers make better decisions regarding the risks of technology.


“An Engineering Design Simulator for Risk-Related Decision Making.” PI: Gernand J. Total Budget: $3,972. Period of Performance: Jan 2019 to Dec 2019. Sponsor: College of Earth and Mineral Science, Penn State University


Gernand J. “A Set of Estimation and Decision Preference Experiments for Exploring Risk Assessment Biases in Engineering Students.” In Review.

Gernand J. “A Set of Preliminary Model Experiments for Studying Engineering Student Biases in the Assessment and Prioritization of Risks.” Proc. Of IMECE2018. No. 87888. doi:10.1115/IMECE2018-87888. November 2018.

Gernand J. “Understanding and Preparing for Human Bias in the Assessment of Risks.” Chapter 24 in Safety Leadership and Professional Development. Eds: Olawoyin R. and Hill D. American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP). Park Ridge, IL. pp. 319-332. ISBN: 978-0-939874-18-7. 2018.

Gernand J. “Educating Engineering Students on Probabilistic Risk: Effects on the Perception of Ethics, Professional Responsibility, and Personal Agency.” Proc. of IMECE2015. No. 53055. doi:10.1115/IMECE2015-53055. November 2015.

Additional information including some linked and downloadable content is available from my publications page or any of my public research profile sites:

Research Gate Profile

Google Scholar Profile

ORCID Profile

Scopus Profile

Mendeley Profile