Loren Hopkins

WEBSITE(S)| Houston Wastewater Epidemiology | Google Scholar | Rice Environmental Statistics & Health

Loren Palmer Hopkins is a nationally recognized expert in environmental science and engineering. Her unique appointment with Rice University’s Department of Statistics and role at the Houston Health Department has played a central role in applied research and the translation of advances in science, engineering, and higher education to inform city policymakers and improve public health. In March 2022, she was named to the National Academies’ Committee on Community Wastewater-based Disease Surveillance.

Hopkins is a Professor in Practice in the Department of Statistics at Rice where she teaches classes in her areas of expertise: human health risk assessment from environmental exposure and environmental statistics. She has been involved in all aspects of human health risk assessment, including as a practitioner in the private sector, regulatory reviewer, policy developer, and instructor. She is currently the Chief Environmental Science Officer for the Houston Health Department. In 2009 Dr. Hopkins served on the U.S. EPA Science Advisory Board and Risk and Technology Review Methods Panel, and in 2014 she served as a visiting scientist on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Air Pollution and Respiratory Health Branch, Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects, National Center for Environmental Health in Atlanta, Georgia.

Since 1998, she has conducted research relating Houston air pollution to human health effects. This air research includes ozone exposure modeling, detection and investigation of dioxins, trends analysis and risk from benzene examination of the association between cardiac arrest/asthma attacks and air pollution, and risks from metal recyclers. Her current research involves estimating the cost of air pollution triggered asthma attacks and identifying city-specific, high-risk asthma days in Houston. 

Research Areas

Environmental statistics, human health risk assessment, association between human health and air pollution exposure and translation of science to policy

Industry Impact & Relevance

Bring environmental statistics, research into action policy changes


Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Engineering, Rice University

M.S. in Environmental Science and Engineering, Rice University

B.S. in Geophysics, University of Texas at Austin

Advisory Role

2018-present Executive Commitie, (Past Chair), Regional Air Quality Planning Advisory Committee

2018-Jan 2020 Chair, Houston Wilderness Executive Board

2016-present Fellow, Kinder Institute of Urban Research

2013-present Environmental Analysis Professional Masters Faculty Advisor, Rice University

2014-17 Vice Chair, Houston Wilderness Executive Board

2017-18 Environmental Protection Agency Air Quality Monitoring Fellow, Department of State, U.S. Embassy Jakarta

2017 Vice Chair, Regional Air Quality Planning Advisory Committee

Teaching Areas

Environmental Statistics

Environmental Risk Assessment & Human Health

Societies & Organizations

Houston Wilderness

Society of Public Health Educators

Regional Air Quality Planning Advisory Committee

Honors & Awards

2017 National Leadership Academy for the Public’s Health, Center for Health Leadership & Practice

2016 Teaching and Mentoring Award, Graduate Student Association, Rice University


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