Rob McConnell, MD

Professor of Population and Public Health Sciences



Dr. Rob McConnell is a physician and environmental epidemiologist, and Professor of Preventive Medicine. He directs the NIH/Environmental Protection Agency-supported Southern California Children's Environmental Health Center. He has studied the effects of air pollution on children's health, including the development of asthma and lung function deficits, and early markers for cardiovascular disease. Dr. McConnell has investigated susceptibility to the effects of environmental exposures conferred by psychosocial stress and social factors, exercise, genetics and co-exposures associated with housing conditions. He has interest, in addition, in the development of methods for estimating the burden of disease associated with near-roadway air pollution and for assessing exposure in environmental epidemiology. Currently funded research is focused on environmental determinants of autism and of obesity and its metabolic consequences in children; on respiratory hazards of e-cigarette use; and on the determinants of tobacco product use as a project director in the USC Tobacco Center for Regulatory Science. He co-directs the NIEHS T32 training program in environmental genomics and the Career Development Program of the NIEHS-supported Southern California Environmental Health Sciences Center. Prior to coming to USC, he directed a World Health Organization regional environmental health center for Latin America and the Caribbean. Dr. McConnell is a member of EPA's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) Particulate Matter Panel. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Selected peer-reviewed publications (from over 140):

1. Impact of air pollution on childhood respiratory disease and lung function and asthma.

a. McConnell R, Berhane K, Gilliland F, London SJ, Islam T, Gauderman WJ, Avol E, Margolis HG, Peters JM. Asthma in exercising children exposed to ozone: a cohort study. Lancet. 2002 Feb 2;359(9304):386-91. PubMed PMID: 11844508
b. Gauderman WJ, Vora H, McConnell R, Berhane K, Gilliland F, Thomas D, Lurmann F, Avol E, Kunzli N, Jerrett M, Peters J. Effect of exposure to traffic on lung development from 10 to 18 years of age: a cohort study. Lancet. 2007 Feb 17;369(9561):571-7. PubMed PMID: 17307103.
c. McConnell R, Islam T, Shankardass K, Jerrett M, Lurmann F, Gilliland F, Gauderman J, Avol E, Künzli N, Yao L, Peters J, Berhane K. Childhood incident asthma and traffic-related air pollution at home and school. Environ Health Perspect. 2010 Jul;118(7):1021-6. PubMed PMID: 20371422; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2920902.
d. *Urman R, McConnell R, Islam T, Avol EL, Lurmann FW, Vora H, Linn WS, Rappaport EB, Gilliland FD, Gauderman WJ. Associations of children's lung function with ambient air pollution: joint effects of regional and near-roadway pollutants. Thorax. 2014 Jun;69(6):540-7. PubMed PMID: 24253832; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4191894.
e. Gauderman WJ, Urman R, Avol E, Berhane K, McConnell R, Rappaport E, Chang R, Lurmann F, Gilliland F. Association of improved air quality with lung development in children. N Engl J Med. 2015 Mar 5;372(10):905-13. PubMed PMID: 25738666; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4430551.

2. Novel risk factors for respiratory disease and their interactions with air pollution that may provide clues to relevant biological pathways.

a. McConnell R, Berhane K, Molitor J, Gilliland F, Künzli N, Thorne PS, Thomas D, Gauderman WJ, Avol E, Lurmann F, Rappaport E, Jerrett M, Peters JM. Dog ownership enhances symptomatic responses to air pollution in children with asthma. Environ Health Perspect. 2006 Dec;114(12):1910-5. PubMed PMID: 17185284; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1764158.
b. *Shankardass K, McConnell R, Jerrett M, Milam J, Richardson J, Berhane K. Parental stress increases the effect of traffic-related air pollution on childhood asthma incidence. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Jul 28;106(30):12406-11. PubMed PMID: 19620729; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2718368.
c. *Islam T, McConnell R, Gauderman WJ, Berhane K, Avol E, Peters JM,Gilliland FD. Glutathione-S-Transferase (GST) P1, exercise, ozone and asthma incidence in school children. Thorax. 2009 Mar; 64(3):197-202. PubMed PMID: 18988661; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2738935.
d. *Islam T, Urman R, Gauderman WJ, Milam J, Lurmann F, Shankardass K, Avol E, Gilliland F, McConnell R. Parental Stress Increases the Detrimental Effect of Traffic Exposure on Children's Lung Function. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2011 Oct 1;184(7):822-7. PubMed PMID: 21700914; PMCID: PMC3208647.
3. Neurological effects of diverse environmental exposures in studies of children and workers.
a. Rosenstock L, Keifer M, Daniell WE, McConnell R, Claypoole K. Chronic central nervous system effects of acute organophosphate pesticide intoxication. The Pesticide Health Effects Study Group. Lancet. 1991 Jul 27;338(8761):223-7. PubMed PMID: 1676786.
b. *Volk HE, Hertz-Picciotto I, Delwiche L, Lurmann F, McConnell R. Residential proximity to freeways and autism in the CHARGE study. Environ Health Perspect. 2011 Jun;119(6):873-7. PubMed PMID: 21156395; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3114825.
c. *Volk HE, Lurmann F, Penfold B, Hertz-Picciotto I, McConnell R. Traffic-related air pollution, particulate matter, and autism. JAMA Psychiatry. 2013 Jan;70(1):71-7. PubMed PMID: 23404082; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4019010.
d. *Volk HE, Kerin T, Lurmann F, Hertz-Picciotto I, McConnell R, Campbell DB. Autism spectrum disorder: interaction of air pollution with the MET receptor tyrosine kinase gene. Epidemiology. 2014 Jan;25(1):44-7. PubMed PMID: 24240654; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4019012.

4. Associations of air pollution in children with obesogenic and cardiometabolic outcomes.

a. Breton CV, Wang X, Mack WJ, Berhane K, Lopez M, Islam TS, Feng M, Lurmann F, McConnell R, Hodis HN, Künzli N, Avol E. Childhood air pollutant exposure and carotid artery intima-media thickness in young adults. Circulation. 2012 Sep 25;126(13):1614-20. PubMed PMID: 22896588; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3474843.
b. Jerrett M, McConnell R, Wolch J, Chang R, Lam C, Dunton G, Gilliland F, Lurmann F, Islam T, Berhane K. Traffic-related air pollution and obesity formation in children: a longitudinal, multilevel analysis. Environ Health. 2014 Jun 9;13:49. PubMed PMID: 24913018; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4106205.
c. McConnell R, Shen E, Gilliland FD, Jerrett M, Wolch J, Chang CC, Lurmann F, Berhane K. A longitudinal cohort study of body mass index and childhood exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke and air pollution: the Southern California Children's Health Study. Environ Health Perspect. 2015 Apr;123(4):360-6. PubMed PMID: 25389275; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4384197.
d. *Ghosh R, Gauderman W, Minor H, Youn H, Lurman F, Cromar K, Chatzi L, Belcher B, Ren Fielding C, McConnell R. Air pollution, weight loss and metabolic benefits of bariatric surgery: A potential model for study of metabolic effects of environmental exposures. International Journal of Pediatric Obesity in press.

5. Emerging risks of e-cigarettes, cigarettes, and other alternative tobacco products

a. *Barrington-Trimis, JL, Samet, JM, McConnell, R. Flavorings in Electronic Cigarettes: An Unrecognized Respiratory Health Hazard? JAMA. 2014 Dec 17;312(23):2493-4.doi:10.1001/jama.2014.14830.
b. *Barrington-Trimis JL, Urman R, Berhane K, Unger JB, Cruz TB, Pentz MA, Samet JM, Leventhal AM, McConnell R. E-Cigarettes and Future Cigarette Use. Pediatrics. 2016;138(1). PubMed PMID: 27296866; PMCID: PMC4925085.
c. *Barrington-Trimis JL, Urman R, Leventhal AM, Gauderman WJ, Cruz TB, Gilreath TD, Howland S, Unger JB, Berhane K, Samet JM, McConnell R. E-cigarettes, Cigarettes, and the Prevalence of Adolescent Tobacco Use. Pediatrics. 2016; 138(2). PubMed PMID: 27401102; PMCID: PNC4960723.
d. McConnell R, Barrington-Trimis JL, Wang K, Urman R, Hong H, Unger J, Samet J, Leventhal A, Berhane K. Electronic-cigarette Use and Respiratory Symptoms in Adolescents. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2017;195(8):1043-1049. PubMed PMID: 27806211.

6. Novel methods for assessing burden and cost of disease associated with near-roadway air pollution and applications to engagement of Southern California stakeholders

a. Künzli N, Perez L, Lurmann F, Hricko A, Penfold B, McConnell R. An attributable risk model for exposures assumed to cause both chronic disease and its exacerbations. Epidemiology. 2008;19(2):179-85. PubMed PMID: 18300703
b. *Brandt S, Perez L, Künzli N, Lurmann F, McConnell R. Costs of childhood asthma due to traffic-related pollution in two California communities. European Respiratory Journal. 2012 Aug;40(2):363-70. PubMed PMID: 22267764; PMCID: PMC4396740.
c. *Perez L, Lurman F, Wilson J, Pastor M, Brandt S, Kunzli N, McConnell R. Near-Roadway Pollution and Childhood Asthma: Implications for Developing ?Win-Win? Compact Urban Development and Clean Vehicle Strategies. Environ Health Perspect. 2012; 120(11):1619-26. PubMed PMID: 23008270; PMCID: PMC3556611.
d. Brandt, S, Perez, L, Kunzil, N, Lurman, F, Wilson, J, Pastor, McConnell, R. Cost of near-roadway and regional air pollution?attributable childhood asthma in Los Angeles County.Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2014,134:5;1028-1035. PubMed PMID: 25439228; PMCID: PMC4257136.
e. *Ghosh R, Lurmann F, Perez L, Penfold B, Brandt S, Wilson J, Milet M, Künzli N, McConnell R. Near-Roadway Air Pollution and Coronary Heart Disease: Burden of Disease and Potential Impact of a Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategy in Southern California. Environ Health Perspect. 2016 Aug;124(2):193-200. PubMed PMID: 26149207; PMCID: PMC4749075.

*Student or junior faculty mentored by McConnell

A complete list of peer reviewed publications is available at:'sort=date&direction= descending

Courses Taught

  • Environmental Health: An Epidemiological Approach
  • Biological Effects of Environmental Toxins