Alexandra Shtein’s PhD, in the Geography and Environmental Development of Ben-Gurion University, investigated how to improve estimations of particulate matter (PM) pollutants in the atmosphere over Israel and Italy. Satellites that measure aerosol optical depth are already widely used, but Dr. Shtein combined those measurements with multiple satellite platforms and statistical hybrid modeling approaches. Her research revealed areas in these countries that were affected by high PM concentrations, providing improved exposure assessment and thus an improved method for studying the association between air pollution exposure and epidemiological health outcomes.
Dr. Shtein’s postdoctoral research in the Department of Environmental Health at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health again deals with improving air pollution estimations, this time in the US and in the eastern Mediterranean region. She will integrate data from satellite-based products from geostationary platforms in an improved modeling approach that will apply different machine learning algorithms. One area of focus is the frequent dust storms in the eastern Mediterranean, which both contribute to high levels of PM and make it difficult to estimate these levels accurately during storms. Dr. Shtein’s research is partly funded by the Harvard Chan/Department of Environmental Health Cyprus Program, which supports training that may one day benefit the Cyprus region.