Curtis Noonan




Curtis Noonan, Professor of Epidemiology, received his Ph.D. in Environmental Health with a specialization in Epidemiology from Colorado State University in 2000. He is also a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley (B.A., 1989) and the George Washington University (M.A., 1995). After receiving his Ph.D., Curtis worked as an epidemiologist at the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry in Atlanta. In 2004, he was hired in the College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences.

Courses Taught

PUBH 510 Introduction to Epidemiology

PHAR 557 Public Health in Pharmacy

PHAR 591 Public Health and Pharamcoeconomics

PUBH 612 Neuroepidemiology

Research Interests

1. Air pollution exposures and respiratory health. Household air pollution due to biomass combustion has been identified as a leading cause of global morbidity and mortality. Exposed populations in lower income countries are primary drivers of these global heath data, but many vulnerable populations in higher income countries are exposed where biomass is used for residential heating. My laboratory has led the first and most comprehensive intervention trials in the United States to improve indoor air quality and health among vulnerable populations living in homes that heat with wood burning. Since my arrival to the University of Montana in 2004 I have been the Principal Investigator or co-Principal Investigator on several studies, including three NIEHS R01s, of biomass combustion smoke exposures and health outcomes. My scientific contributions in this area have included invited participation on several international expert panels.

  1. Giles LV, Barn P, Kuenzli N, Romieu I, Mittleman MA, van Eeden S, Allen R, Carlsten C, Stieb D, Noonan C, Smargiassi A, Kaufman JD, Hajat S, Kosatsky T, Brauer M. From Good Intentions to Proven Interventions: Effectiveness of Actions to Reduce the Health Impacts of Air Pollution. Environ Health Perspect 2011;119:29-36.
  2. Sood A, Assad N, Barnes P, Churg A, Gordon S, Harrod K, Irshad H, Kurmi O, Martin W, Meek P, Mortimer K, Noonan C, Perez-Padilla R, Smith KR, Tesfaigzi Y, Ward T, Balmes J. ERS/ATS Workshop Report on Respiratory Health Effects of Household Air Pollution. European Respiratory Journal 2017. (In Press).
  3. Sigsgaard T, Forsberg Bertil, Annesi-Maesano I, Blomberg A, Bølling A, Boman C, Bønløkke J, Brauer M, Bruce N, Héroux Marie-Eve, Hirvonen M, Kelly F, Künzli N, Lundbäck B, Moshammer H, Noonan C, Pagels J, Sallsten G, Sculier J, Brunekreef B. Health impacts of anthropogenic biomass burning in the developed world. European Respiratory Journal 2015 46(6):1577-88.
  4. Noonan CW, Balmes J. Biomass Smoke Exposures: Health Outcomes and Study Design. Inhal Toxicol. 2010 Feb;22(2):108-12.  PMID: 20044883

2. Biomarkers in people exposed to household air pollution. In connection with our studies of communities and homes with biomass smoke combustion exposures, my laboratory has investigated several biomarkers. These represent some of the first studies in such settings to utilize biomarkers as a tool for characterizing individual-level exposure and health effects. 

  1. Montrose LB, Ward TJ, Semmens EO, Cho YH, Brown BD, Noonan CW. Dietary intake is associated with respiratory health outcomes and DNA methylation in asthmatic children. Allergy Asthma and Clinical Immunology 2017;13:12. doi: 10.1186/s13223-017-0187-8.
  2. Migliaccio CT, Berghauff MA, Palmer CP, Jessop F, Noonan CW, Ward TJ. Urinary Levoglucosan as a Biomarker of Woodsmoke Exposure: Observations in a Mouse Model and in Children. Environ Health Perspect 2009;117:74–79. PMCID: PMC2627869
  3. Bergauff MA, Ward TJ, Noonan CW, Migliaccio CT, Simpson CD, Evanoski1 AR, Palmer CP. Urinary Levoglucosan as a Biomarker for Wood Smoke: Results of Human Exposure Studies. Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology 2010;20:385-92. PMCID: PMC2874078
  4. Ward TJ, Palmer CP, Bergauff M, Jayanty RKM, Noonan CW. Organic/Elemental Carbon And Woodsmoke Tracer Concentrations Following A Community Wide Woodstove Changeout Program. Atmospheric Environment 2011;45:5554-5560.

3. Occupational and environmental exposure to elongated mineral fibers and health effects. Libby, Montana, a rural community with a legacy of exposure to amphibole asbestos, was the first Superfund site to be declared a Public Health Emergency by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Since 2005 I have played key roles on a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional team to answer questions about historical exposure characterization and health impacts among both occupationally and environmentally exposed populations. For the first time in this study population I developed a systematic approach for characterizing exposure and integrating across environmental and occupational pathways. For several studies with this community I have been the primary data analyst on autoimmune, pulmonary function, symptom and radiological outcomes in these populations.

  1. Noonan CW, Pfau JC, Larson TC, Spence MR. Nested Case-Control Study of Autoimmune Disease in an Asbestos-Exposed Population. Environ Health Perspect 2006;114:1243-47.
  2. Noonan CW. Environmental asbestos exposure and risk of mesothelioma. Ann Transl Med 2017; 5(11):234. doi: 10.21037/atm.2017.03.74.
  3. Noonan CW, Conway K, Landguth EL, McNew T, Linker L, Pfau J, Black B, Szeinuk J, Flores R. Multiple pathway asbestos exposure assessment for a Superfund community. Journal Of Exposure Science And Environmental Epidemiology 2015;25:18-25.
  4. Szeinuk J, Noonan C, Henschke C, Pfau J, Black CB, Miller A, Yankelevitz D, Mingzhu L, Liu Y, Yip R, Linker L, McNew T, Flores R. Pulmonary abnormalities as a result of exposure to Libby Amphibole during childhood and adolescence - The preadult latency study (PALS). American Journal of Industrial Medicine 2017; 60: 20-34.

4. Vulnerable communities and health equities. I have collaborated on several extramurally-funded community-based participatory research projects focused on diabetes risk factors and health disparities among Northern Plains American Indian tribes. I played a key role in the study design and data analysis of these studies that seek to translate known diabetes prevention strategies (e.g., Diabetes Prevention Program) to community-based participatory models that impact vulnerable communities.

  1. Ware D, Lewis J, Hopkins S, Boyer B, Noonan C, Ward T. Sources and Perceptions of Indoor and Ambient Air Pollution in Rural Alaska. Journal of Community Health 2013;38:773-780. NIHMSID: 459553.
  2. Ware D, Lewis J, Hopkins S, Boyer B, Montrose L, Noonan C, Semmens E, Ward T.  Household reporting of childhood respiratory health and air pollution in rural Alaska Native communities.  Journal of Circumpolar Health 2014; 73:1-10. doi: 10.3402/ijch.v73.24324. PMC4017618.
  3. Brown B, Noonan CW, Harris KJ, Parker M, Wilson T, Gaskill S, Ricci C, Cobbs G, Gress S, Top Sky W. Developing and Piloting the Journey to Native Youth Health Program in Northern Plains Indian Communities. Diabetes Educator 2013;39:109-18.
  4. Vernon Grant V, Hollist D, Noonan C, Swaney G, Harris K, Gaskill S, Brown B. Community-identified strategies to increase physical activity during elementary school recess on an American Indian reservation: A pilot study. Preventive Medicine Reports. 2015; 2:658-63.

5. Occupational health. As part of my early-career research I was engaged in occupational health studies investigating electric power workers and neurodegenerative disease. More recently, I have turned my attention to occupational exposures related to wildland firefighting. Our laboratory has been among the first to investigate long term exposure and health consequences of working in wildland fire suppression.

  1. Noonan CW, Reif JS, Burch JM, Ichinose T, Yost M, Magnusson K. Relationship between amyloid beta protein and melatonin metabolite in a study of electric utility workers. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2002;44:769-775.
  2. Noonan CW, Reif JS, Yost M, Touchstone J.  Occupational exposure to magnetic fields in case-referent studies of neurodegenerative diseases. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health 2002;28(1);42-48.
  3. McNamara ML, Semmens EO, Gaskill S, Palmer C, Noonan CW, Ward T. Base Camp Personnel Exposure to Particulate Matter During Wildland Fire Suppression Activities. Journal of Occupational & Environmental Hygiene 2012;9:149-56.
  4. Semmens EO, Domitrovich J, Conway K, Noonan CW. A cross-sectional survey of occupational history as a wildland firefighter and health. Am J Ind Med. 2016 Apr;59(4):330-5.