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Aaron Specht, Ph.D.


Purdue UniversityB.S.2012Honors Physics
Purdue UniversityPhD2016Medical Physics

My long-term research interests are to develop novel technologies to increase understanding of the role of environmental exposures in human health. My academic background has a strong focus on physics and the sub disciplines of medical and health physics and exposure assessment. My research focuses on exposure assessment and, in particular, x-ray fluorescence (XRF) and its uses in public health. I have particular interest in identifying individual exposure levels to metals and health outcomes resultant from exposures. I have developed a handheld XRF for non-invasive measurement of cumulative exposure to toxicants in bone. I have also been developing a method utilizing a novel bench-top XRF allows us to replace typical expensive, destructive, and costly ICP-MS methods for elemental exposure assessment of a variety of different biomarkers and source exposure markers.

Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
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PMC Citations indicate the number of times the publication was cited by articles in PubMed Central, and the Altmetric score represents citations in news articles and social media. (Note that publications are often cited in additional ways that are not shown here.) Fields are based on how the National Library of Medicine (NLM) classifies the publication's journal and might not represent the specific topic of the publication. Translation tags are based on the publication type and the MeSH terms NLM assigns to the publication. Some publications (especially newer ones and publications not in PubMed) might not yet be assigned Field or Translation tags.) Click a Field or Translation tag to filter the publications.
  1. Paudel S, Geetha P, Kyriazis P, Specht A, Hu H, Danziger J. Association of environmental lead toxicity and hematologic outcomes in patients with advanced kidney disease. Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2022 Dec 22. PMID: 36549667.
    Citations:    Fields:    
  2. Hoover C, Specht AJ, Hemenway D. Firearm licensure, lead levels and suicides in Massachusetts. Prev Med. 2023 Jan; 166:107377. PMID: 36493866.
    Citations:    Fields:    
  3. Zhang X, Wells EM, Specht AJ, Weisskopf MG, Weuve J, Nie LH. In vivo quantification of strontium in bone among adults using portable x-ray fluorescence. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2022 Dec; 74:127077. PMID: 36155421.
    Citations:    Fields:    
  4. Ahmid K, Specht A, Morikawa L, Ceballos D, Wylie S. Lead and other toxic metals in plastic play foods: Results from testing citizen science, lead detection tools in childcare settings. J Environ Manage. 2022 Nov 01; 321:115904. PMID: 36104879.
    Citations:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
  5. Golden CD, Ayroles J, Eurich JG, Gephart JA, Seto KL, Sharp MK, Balcom P, Barravecchia HM, Bell KK, Gorospe KD, Kim J, Koh WH, Zamborain-Mason J, McCauley DJ, Murdoch H, Nair N, Neeti K, Passarelli S, Specht A, Sunderland EM, Tekaieti A, Tekiau A, Tekoaua R, Timeon E. Study Protocol: Interactive Dynamics of Coral Reef Fisheries and the Nutrition Transition in Kiribati. Front Public Health. 2022; 10:890381. PMID: 35719655; PMCID: PMC9198247.
    Citations:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
  6. Johnson KM, Specht AJ, Hart JM, Salahuddin S, Erlinger AL, Hacker MR, Woolf AD, Hauptman M, Karumanchi SA, O'Brien K, Wylie BJ. Risk-Factor Based Lead Screening and Correlation with Blood Lead Levels in Pregnancy. Matern Child Health J. 2022 Jan; 26(1):185-192. PMID: 35020085; PMCID: PMC8826746.
    Citations:    Fields:    Translation:HumansPHPublic Health
  7. Bhatia M, Specht AJ, Ramya V, Sulaiman D, Konda M, Balcom P, Sunderland EM, Qureshi A. Portable X-ray Fluorescence as a Rapid Determination Tool to Detect Parts per Million Levels of Ni, Zn, As, Se, and Pb in Human Toenails: A South India Case Study. Environ Sci Technol. 2021 10 05; 55(19):13113-13121. PMID: 34529917; PMCID: PMC8582015.
    Citations:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
  8. Hoover C, Hoover GG, Specht AJ. Firearm licenses associated with elevated pediatric blood lead levels in Massachusetts. Environ Res. 2021 11; 202:111642. PMID: 34252431.
    Citations:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
  9. Specht AJ, Zhang X, Young A, Nguyen VT, Christiani DC, Ceballos DM, Allen JG, Weuve J, Nie LH, Weisskopf MG. Validation of in vivo toenail measurements of manganese and mercury using a portable X-ray fluorescence device. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2022 05; 32(3):427-433. PMID: 34211112; PMCID: PMC8720103.
    Citations:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
  10. Hampton JO, Specht AJ, Pay JM, Pokras MA, Bengsen AJ. Portable X-ray fluorescence for bone lead measurements of Australian eagles. Sci Total Environ. 2021 Oct 01; 789:147998. PMID: 34051503.
    Citations: 1     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimals
  11. Specht AJ, Obrycki JF, Mazumdar M, Weisskopf MG. Feasibility of Lead Exposure Assessment in Blood Spots using Energy-Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence. Environ Sci Technol. 2021 04 20; 55(8):5050-5055. PMID: 33759507.
    Citations:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
  12. Ceballos DM, Young AS, Allen JG, Specht AJ, Nguyen VT, Craig JA, Miller M, Webster TF. Exposures in nail salons to trace elements in nail polish from impurities or pigment ingredients - A pilot study. Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2021 03; 232:113687. PMID: 33445102; PMCID: PMC7854487.
    Citations: 2     Fields:    Translation:Humans
  13. Young AS, Hauser R, James-Todd TM, Coull BA, Zhu H, Kannan K, Specht AJ, Bliss MS, Allen JG. Impact of "healthier" materials interventions on dust concentrations of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, and organophosphate esters. Environ Int. 2021 05; 150:106151. PMID: 33092866; PMCID: PMC7940547.
    Citations: 3     Fields:    Translation:PHPublic Health
  14. Zhang X, Specht AJ, Wells E, Weisskopf MG, Weuve J, Nie LH. Evaluation of a portable XRF device for in vivo quantification of lead in bone among a US population. Sci Total Environ. 2021 Jan 20; 753:142351. PMID: 33207470; PMCID: PMC7677595.
    Citations:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
  15. Johnson KM, Specht AJ, Hart JM, Salahuddin S, Erlinger AL, Hacker MR, Woolf AD, Hauptman M, Karumanchi SA, Wylie BJ, O'Brien K. Lead exposure and association with angiogenic factors and hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. Pregnancy Hypertens. 2020 Oct; 22:93-98. PMID: 32763807.
    Citations: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
  16. Nwanaji-Enwerem JC, Colicino E, Specht AJ, Gao X, Wang C, Vokonas P, Weisskopf MG, Boyer EW, Baccarelli AA, Schwartz J. Individual species and cumulative mixture relationships of 24-hour urine metal concentrations with DNA methylation age variables in older men. Environ Res. 2020 07; 186:109573. PMID: 32361261.
    Citations: 4     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  17. Specht AJ, Dickerson AS, Kponee-Shovein KZ, Nkpaa KW, Weisskopf MG. Toenail Metal Exposures in Fishermen from Bodo City, Nigeria. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol. 2020 Jan; 104(1):90-95. PMID: 31728558.
    Citations: 1     Fields:    Translation:HumansPHPublic Health
  18. Specht AJ, Zhang X, Goodman BD, Maher E, Weisskopf MG, Nie LH. A Dosimetry Study of Portable X-ray Fluorescence in Vivo Metal Measurements. Health Phys. 2019 05; 116(5):590-598. PMID: 30624351; PMCID: PMC6433501.
    Citations: 2     Fields:    Translation:Humans
  19. Specht AJ, Dickerson AS, Weisskopf MG. Comparison of bone lead measured via portable x-ray fluorescence across and within bones. Environ Res. 2019 05; 172:273-278. PMID: 30822560.
    Citations: 2     Fields:    Translation:Humans
  20. Dickerson AS, Hansen J, Specht AJ, Gredal O, Weisskopf MG. Population-based study of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and occupational lead exposure in Denmark. Occup Environ Med. 2019 04; 76(4):208-214. PMID: 30705111; PMCID: PMC6433465.
    Citations: 10     Fields:    Translation:HumansPHPublic Health
  21. Lin Y, Huang L, Xu J, Specht AJ, Yan C, Geng H, Shen X, Nie LH, Hu H. Blood lead, bone lead and child attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-like behavior. Sci Total Environ. 2019 Apr 01; 659:161-167. PMID: 30597466.
    Citations: 3     Fields:    Translation:Humans
  22. Specht AJ, Kponee K, Nkpaa KW, Balcom PH, Weuve J, Nie LH, Weisskopf MG. Validation of x-ray fluorescence measurements of metals in toenail clippings against inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry in a Nigerian population. Physiol Meas. 2018 08 31; 39(8):085007. PMID: 30091720.
    Citations: 4     Fields:    Translation:Humans
  23. Specht AJ, Kirchner KE, Weisskopf MG, Pokras MA. Lead exposure biomarkers in the Common Loon. Sci Total Environ. 2019 Jan 10; 647:639-644. PMID: 30092519.
    Citations: 2     Fields:    
  24. Dickerson AS, Hansen J, Kioumourtzoglou MA, Specht AJ, Gredal O, Weisskopf MG. Study of occupation and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in a Danish cohort. Occup Environ Med. 2018 09; 75(9):630-638. PMID: 29941657; PMCID: PMC6445390.
    Citations: 9     Fields:    Translation:HumansPHPublic Health
  25. Specht AJ, Weisskopf M, Nie LH. Childhood lead biokinetics and associations with age among a group of lead-poisoned children in China. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2019 04; 29(3):416-423. PMID: 29706621.
    Citations: 4     Fields:    Translation:HumansPHPublic Health
  26. Specht AJ, Lin Y, Xu J, Weisskopf M, Nie LH. Bone lead levels in an environmentally exposed elderly population in shanghai, China. Sci Total Environ. 2018 Jun 01; 626:96-98. PMID: 29335178.
    Citations: 3     Fields:    Translation:HumansPHPublic Health
  27. Dickerson AS, Rotem RS, Christian MA, Nguyen VT, Specht AJ. Potential Sex Differences Relative to Autism Spectrum Disorder and Metals. Curr Environ Health Rep. 2017 12; 4(4):405-414. PMID: 28988324.
    Citations: 8     Fields:    Translation:HumansPHPublic Health
  28. Zhang X, Specht AJ, Weisskopf MG, Weuve J, Nie LH. Quantification of manganese and mercury in toenail in vivo using portable X-ray fluorescence (XRF). Biomarkers. 2018 Mar; 23(2):154-160. PMID: 28901783.
    Citations: 4     Fields:    Translation:Humans
  29. Specht AJ, Parish CN, Wallens EK, Watson RT, Nie LH, Weisskopf MG. Feasibility of a portable X-ray fluorescence device for bone lead measurements of condor bones. Sci Total Environ. 2018 Feb 15; 615:398-403. PMID: 28988075.
    Citations: 5     Fields:    Translation:Animals
  30. Specht AJ, Mostafaei F, Lin Y, Xu J, Nie LH. Measurements of Strontium Levels in Human Bone In Vivo Using Portable X-ray Fluorescence (XRF). Appl Spectrosc. 2017 Aug; 71(8):1962-1968. PMID: 28756702.
    Citations: 9     Fields:    Translation:Humans
  31. Specht AJ, Weisskopf MG, Nie LH. Theoretical modeling of a portable x-ray tube based KXRF system to measure lead in bone. Physiol Meas. 2017 03; 38(3):575-585. PMID: 28169835.
    Citations: 1     Fields:    
  32. Wang Y, Specht A, Liu Y, Finney L, Maxey E, Vogt S, Zheng W, Weisskopf M, Nie LH. Microdistribution of lead in human teeth using microbeam synchrotron radiation X-ray fluorescence (µ-SRXRF). Xray Spectrom. 2017; 46(1):19-26. PMID: 32863464; PMCID: PMC7451221.
    Citations: 3     
  33. Specht AJ, Lin Y, Weisskopf M, Yan C, Hu H, Xu J, Nie LH. XRF-measured bone lead (Pb) as a biomarker for Pb exposure and toxicity among children diagnosed with Pb poisoning. Biomarkers. 2016; 21(4):347-52. PMID: 26856822.
    Citations: 17     Fields:    Translation:HumansPHPublic Health
  34. Specht AJ, Weisskopf M, Nie LH. Portable XRF Technology to Quantify Pb in Bone In Vivo. J Biomark. 2014; 2014:398032. PMID: 26317033; PMCID: PMC4437356.
    Citations: 16     
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Funded by the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences through its Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program, grant number UL1TR002541.