Jeremy Gernand is an associate professor who arrived at Penn State in August 2013 following the completion of his Ph.D. in engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. Gernand previously spent eight years as a safety and reliability engineer in the aerospace and defense industries working on projects ranging from astronaut exercise equipment and air quality monitors to aircraft radar and mail sorting machines. During that experience as a professional, he became aware of the need for better data-focused analytical tools for engineers seeking to mitigate safety and environmental risks. Gernand’s teaching and research here at Penn State is broadly focused on improving how engineers and policymakers understand and manage environmental health and safety (EHS) risks associated with technology.
Gernand’s current research objectives range from better quantifying the exposure risks associated with engineered nanoparticles, typical ambient mixtures of particulate matter, and consumer products; to evaluating potential policy responses to protect occupational and public health and safety; to better understanding how engineers make actual decisions regarding questions of risk.
Gernand’s research focuses 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.
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 organic chemicals. Gernand’s 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. This research is sponsored by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
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 characterizes aerosol exposures by the mass concentration of PM10 or PM2.5, this research involves performing detailed size and chemical composition breakdowns of these complex mixtures to reveal the size and shape distributions of each particle type present in these complex aerosol mixtures. In addition to direct sample collection, Gernand’s group conducts 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.
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 Gernand's research is to evaluate the effectiveness and the efficiency of actual and proposed policies to reduce real risks to people.
Understanding and Ameliorating Biases in Engineers’ Estimates, Judgments, and Decisions Regarding Risk
All humans have cognitive biases when considering risks 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. Gernand’s 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.
- Gernand, J. (2023). A Set of Estimation and Decision Preference Experiments for Exploring Risk Assessment Biases in Engineering Students. ASME J. Risk Uncertainty Part B 9(1), 9. DOI: 10.1115/1.4055156
- Ramchandran, V., & Gernand, J. (2023). Evaluation of Risk and Uncertainty for Model-Predicted NOAELs for Engineered Nanomaterials Based on Dose-Response-Recovery Clusters. ASCE-ASME Journal of Risk and Uncertainty in Engineering Systems 9(1), 10. DOI: 10.1115/1.4055157
- Midlick, M., & Gernand, J. (2022). "Economic Viability vs. Risk Mitigation: An Experimental Investigation of Project Budget Investment Decisions in Engineering Students." Proceedings of the ASME 2022 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition. 9, (pp. 14). DOI: 10.1115/IMECE2022-95484
- Gernand, J. (2022). The Occupational Safety Implications of the California Residential Rooftop Solar Photovoltaic Systems Mandate. Journal of Safety Research 82, 144-150. DOI: 10.1016/j.jsr.2022.05.005
- McDonald, A., Gernand, J., Geyer, N., Wu, H., Wang, Y., & Wang, M. (2022). Ambient Air Exposures to Arsenic and Cadmium and Overall and Prostate Cancer-Specific Survival among Prostate Cancer Cases in Pennsylvania, 2004-2014. Cancer 128(9), 1832-1839. DOI: 10.1002/cncr.34128 Revisions submitted.
- Ilci, F., Li, M., & Gernand, J. (2021). Detailed Physico-Chemical Characterization of the Ambient Fine and Ultrafine Particulate Matter at a Construction Site. Aerosol Science and Engineering 5, 344–356. DOI: 10.1007/s41810-021-00108-3
- Banan, Z., & Gernand, J. (2021). Emissions of Particulate Matter due to Marcellus Shale Gas Development in Pennsylvania: Mapping the Implications. Energy Policy 148, 41. DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2020.111979
- Marone, A., Kane, C., Jenkins, G., & Gernand, J. (2020). Characterization of Aerosol Bacteria from Dust Events in Dakar, Senegal. AGU GeoHealth 4(6), 18. DOI: 10.1029/2019GH000216 Developed aerosol sampling plan. Trained students in viable aerosol sampling protocols and equipment.
- Lai, K., Looi, S.-W., Li, M., Ilci, F., Naushad, H., & Gernand, J. (2020). Characterization of User PM Exposure During the Application of Aerosol Mineral-Based Sunscreens Shows Minimal Risk. Aerosol Science and Engineering, 25. DOI: 10.1007/s41810-020-00079-x
- Ramchandran, V., & Gernand, J. (2020). Examining the In Vivo Pulmonary Toxicity of Engineered Metal Oxide Nanomaterials Using a Genetic Algorithm-Based Dose-Response-Recovery Clustering Model. Computational Toxicology 13, 43. DOI: 10.1016/j.comtox.2019.100113, ISBN/ISSN: 10.1016/j.comtox.2019.100113
- Li, M. & Gernand, J. (2020). Identifying Shelter Locations and Building Air Intake Risk from Release of Particulate Matter in a Three-Dimensional Street Canyon. Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health 12, 1387–1398. DOI: 10.1007/s11869-019-00753-1, ISBN/ISSN: 10.1007/s11869-019-00753-1
- Mol, M. F., Li, M., & Gernand, J. (2020). Particulate Matter Emissions Associated with Marcellus Shale Drilling Waste Disposal and Transport. Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association 70(8), 795-809. DOI: 10.1080/10962247.2020.1772901
- Agrawal, S., & Gernand, J. (2020). Quantifying the Economic Impact of Hydraulic Fracturing Proppant Selection of Light of Occupational Particulate Exposure Risk and Functional Requirements. Risk Analysis 40(2), 319-335. DOI: 10.1111/risa.13419
- Gernand, J. (2019). An Analysis of the Trends in US Offshore Oil and Gas Safety and Environmental Performance. Proceedings of IMECE 2019. (pp. 10). ASME. DOI: 10.1115/IMECE2019-11857, ISBN/ISSN: 10.1115/IMECE2019-11857
- Ramchandran, V., & Gernand, J. (2019). A dose-response-recovery clustering algorithm for categorizing carbon nanotube variants into toxicologically distinct groups. Computational Toxicology 11, 25-32. ISBN/ISSN: 10.1016/j.comtox.2019.02.003
- Eslambolchi, S. S., Grayson, R. L., & Gernand, J. (2019). Policy changes in safety enforcement for underground coal mines show mine-size-dependent effects. Safety Science 112, 223-231. ISBN/ISSN: 10.1016/j.ssci.2018.10.005
- Gernand, J. (2018). Understanding and Preparing for Human Bias in the Assessment of Risks. Safety Leadership and Professional Development (pp. 319-332). American Society of Safety Professionals. Peer-reviewed/refereed. ISBN/ISSN: 978-0-939874-18-7
- Gernand, J. (2018). A Set of Preliminary Model Experiments for Studying Engineering Student Biases in the Assessment and Prioritization of Risks. Proceedings of IMECE 2018. (pp. 8). ASME. DOI: 10.1115/IMECE2018-87888
- Ramchangran, V., & Gernand, J. (2018). Examining Pulmonary Toxicity of Engineered Nanoparticles Using Clustering for Safe Exposure Limits. Proceedings of IMECE 2018. (pp. 10). ASME. DOI: 10.1115/IMECE2018-87431
- Gernand, J. (2018). Occupational Safety Implications of the Changing Energy Mix. Proceedings of IMECE 2018. (pp. 7). ASME. DOI: 10.1115/IMECE2018-86678
- Banan, Z., & Gernand, J. (2018). Evaluation of gas well setback policy in the Marcellus Shale region of Pennsylvania in relation to emissions of fine particulate matter. Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association 68(9), 988-1000. ISBN/ISSN: 10.1080/10962247.2018.1462866
- Edinger, S. R., & Gernand, J. (2018). N2-BET is a Proxy for Primary Particle Size and May Not Be Representative of Available Specific Surface Area for Aggregated Nanoparticle Aerosols. Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology 18(5), 3049-3058. ISBN/ISSN: 10.1166/jnn.2018.15353
- Silva, J., Li, L., & Gernand, J. (2018). Reliability analysis for mine blast performance based on delay type and firing time. International Journal of Mining Science and Technology 28(2), 195-204. ISBN/ISSN: 10.1016/j.ijmst.2017.07.004
- York, J. C., & Gernand, J. (2017). Evaluating the Performance and Accuracy of Incident Rate Forecasting Methods for Mining Operations. ASCE-ASME Journal of Risk and Uncertainty in Engineering Systems, Part B: Mechanical Engineering 3(4), 16. ISBN/ISSN: 10.1115/1.4036309
- Gernand, J. (2016). Evaluation of the Risk Reduction Effectiveness in OSHA’s Workplace Atmosphere Sampling Activities. Proceedings of IMECE 2016. (pp. 6). ASME. DOI: 10.1115/IMECE2016-65942
- Gernand, J. (2016). Limitations on the Reliability of In Vitro Predictive Toxicity Models to Predict Pulmonary Toxicity in Rodents. Proceedings of IMECE 2016. (pp. 13). ASME. DOI: 10.1115/IMECE2016-67151
- Casman, E. A., & Gernand, J. (2016). Nanotoxicology: Seeing the trees for the forest. Nature Nanotechnology 11(5), 405. ISBN/ISSN: 10.1038/nnano.2016.5 Invited Commentary.
- Stone, V., Johnston, H. J., Balharry, D., Gernand, J., & Gulumian, M. (2016). Approaches to develop alternative testing strategies to inform human health risk assessment of nanomaterials. Risk Analysis 36(8), 1538-1550. ISBN/ISSN: 10.1111/risa.12645
- Gernand, J. (2016). Evaluating the effectiveness of mine safety enforcement actions in forecasting the lost-days rate at specific worksites. ASCE-ASME Journal of Risk and Uncertainty in Engineering Systems, Part B: Mechanical Engineering 2(4), 6. ISBN/ISSN: 10.1115/1.4032929
- Gernand, J., & Casman, E. A. (2016). Nanoparticle characteristic interaction effects on pulmonary toxicity: a random forest modeling framework to compare risks of nanomaterial variants. ASCE-ASME Journal of Risk and Uncertainty in Engineering Systems, Part B: Mechanical Engineering 2(2), 13. ISBN/ISSN: 10.1115/1.4031216
- York, J. C., & Gernand, J. (2015). Ascertainment of the Archetype Statistical Method for Incident Rate Forecasting Through Forecast Performance Evaluations. Proceedings of IMECE 2015. (pp. 16). ASME. DOI: 10.1115/IMECE2015-53138
- Gernand, J. (2015). Educating Engineering Students on Probabilistic Risk: Effects on the Perception of Ethics, Professional Responsibility, and Personal Agency. Proceedings of IMECE 2015. (pp. 9). ASME. DOI: 10.1115/IMECE2015-53055
- Gernand, J. (2015). Particulate Matter: Fine and Ultrafine—How Emerging Data on Engineered Nanomaterials May Change How We Regulate Worker Exposures to Dust. Proceedings of IMECE 2015. (pp. 6). ASME. DOI: 10.1115/IMECE2015-53056
- Gernand, J., & Casman, E. A. (2013). Selecting Nanoparticle Properties to Mitigate Risks to Workers and the Public--A Machine Learning Modeling Framework to Compare Pulmonary Toxicity Risks of Nanomaterials. Proceedings of IMECE 2013. (pp. 15). ASME. DOI: 10.1115/IMECE2013-62687
- Gernand, J., & Casman, E. A. (2014). 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. ISBN/ISSN: 10.1111/risa.12109
- Gernand, J. (Primary Author, 80%), & Casman, E. A. (2014). Machine learning for nanomaterial toxicity risk assessment. IEEE Intelligent Systems 29(3), 84--88. ISBN/ISSN: 10.1109/MIS.2014.48 Invited Research Article.
- Gernand, J., & Bayazitoglu, Y. (2009). Spiral Methanol to Hydrogen Micro-Reformer for Fuel Cell Applications. Heat Transfer Engineering 30(14), 1188-1196. ISBN/ISSN: 10.1080/01457630902975903
- Gernand, J. (2004). Mitigating Crew Health Degradation During Long-Term Exposure to Microgravity Through Countermeasure System Implementation. Proceedings of IMECE 2004. (pp. 10). ASME. DOI: 10.1115/IMECE2004-59029
- Joseph Kreutzberger Early Career Professorship in Earth and Mineral Sciences, 2022–2025
- Gladys Snyder Junior Faculty Grant, Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, 2019
- Virginia S. and Phillip L. Walker Faculty Fellowship, 2014–2015
- Gladys Snyder Junior Faculty Grant, Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, 2014
- Bertucci Graduate Fellowship, Carnegie Mellon University, Dec. 2012
- Bushnell Fellowship in Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, Jan. 2012
- Prim Narain Srivastava Legacy Fellowship, Carnegie Mellon University, Jan. 2011
- Student Merit Award, Society for Risk Assessment, Emerging Nanoscale Materials Specialty Group, Society for Risk Analysis (SRA), Dec. 2010
- National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship – Honorable Mention, Apr. 2010
- Carnegie Institute of Technology Dean’s Fellowship, Carnegie Mellon University, Sept. 2009
- Northrop Grumman President’s Leadership Award – Division Level, Mar. 2008
- NASA Quality Assurance Special Achievement Recognition (QASAR) Johnson Space Center, Oct. 2002
- NASA Group Achievement Award (CEVIS Failure Investigation Team), Sept. 2002