Jeremy Gernand is an Assistant Professor of Industrial Health and Safety 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 8 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. Dr. Gernand’s teaching and research here at Penn State is broadly focused on improving how engineers and policy makers understand and manage environmental health and safety (EHS) risks associated with technology.
Dr. 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.
Dr. Gernand’s 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.
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. Dr. 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, Dr. 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 my 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 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. Dr. 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. A Set of Estimation and Decision Preference Experiments for Exploring Risk Assessment Biases in Engineering Students. Submitted-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. Submitted-In Review.
- 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. Submitted-In Review.
- Banan Z. and Gernand J. Emissions of Particulate Matter due to Marcellus Shale Gas Development in Pennsylvania: Mapping the Implications. Submitted-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. Submitted-In Review.
- Lashgari A., Kohler J., and Gernand J. An Evaluation of a Compliance Sampling Program for Respirable Dust. Submitted-In Review.
- Li M. and Gernand J. Identifying Shelter Locations and Building Air Intake Risk from Release of Particulate Matter in a Three-Dimensional Street Canyon. Submitted-In Review.
- Gernand J. The Occupational Safety Implications of the California Residential Rooftop Solar Photovoltaic Systems Mandate. Submitted-In Review.
- Marone A., Kane C., Jenkins G., and Gernand J. Characterization of Aerosol Bacteria from Dust Events in Dakar, Senegal. Submitted-In Review.
- 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. Revisions Submitted.
- Gernand J. An Analysis of the Trends in US Offshore Oil and Gas Safety and Environmental Performance. Proc. of IMECE2019. Accepted-In Press.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. Occupational Safety Implications of the Changing Energy Mix. Proc. Of IMECE2018. No. 86678. doi:10.1115/IMECE2018-86678. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. 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. 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.
- Casman E. and Gernand J. Seeing the Trees for the Forest. Nature Nanotechnology. doi:10.1038/nnano.2016.5. February 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. 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.
- 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.
- Gernand J. and Casman E. Machine Learning for Nanomaterial Toxicity Risk Assessment. IEEE Intelligent Systems. 29(3): 84-88. May-June 2014. doi:10.1109/MIS.2014.48.
- 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.
- Gernand J. and Bayazitoglu Y. Spiral Methanol to Hydrogen Micro-Reformer for Fuel Cell Applications. Heat Transfer Engineering. 30(14):1188-1196. doi:10.1080/01457630902975903. December 2009.
- Gernand J. Mitigating Crew Health Degradation During Long-Term Exposure to Microgravity through Countermeasure System Implementation. Proc. of IMECE2004. No. 59029. doi:10.1115/IMECE2004-59029. November 2004.
- 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