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Christopher J. Portier, PhD

Christopher J. Portier, Ph.D

Director of the National Center for Environmental Health and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry

Christopher J. Portier, PhD, joined CDC in 2010 as the Director of the National Center for Environmental Health and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Dr. Portier has worked for over 30 years to identify the impacts of our environment on our health and find ways to better protect people from environmental hazards. 

Prior to 2010, Dr. Portier was with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), where he was a Principle Investigator in systems biology.  He also served in many leadership roles at NIEHS including Senior Advisor to the Director, Associate Director, Director of the Environmental Toxicology Program, and Associate Director of the National Toxicology Program.

Dr. Portier is an internationally recognized expert in the design, analysis, and interpretation of environmental health data. His research efforts and interests include such diverse topics as cancer biology, risk assessment, climate change, bioinformatics, immunology, neurodevelopment, genetically modified foods, and genomics.

As Associate Director of the NTP he developed a strategic initiative that is internationally recognized for its innovation. He has contributed to the development of cancer risk assessment guidelines for national and international agencies and has either directed or contributed significantly to numerous national and multinational risk assessments. He led the U.S. evaluation of electromagnetic fields by national and international scientists, which was the first comprehensive review in this field.

Dr. Portier directed efforts of the U.S. government to develop a collaborative research agenda with Vietnam on the health effects of Agent Orange. He directed a multiagency review of research needs for the health effects of climate change for the entire U.S. government. He has served as an advisor to the Finnish Academy of Sciences, as a member of World Health Organization/International Agency for Research on Cancer scientific committees, and as a reviewer for grants for the United States, the European Union, and many other grant-sponsoring organizations.

Dr. Portier graduated from Nicholls State University with a BSc in mathematics and received both his MS and PhD degrees in biostatistics from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. He has authored more than 180 peer-reviewed publications, 30 book chapters, and 40 technical reports. In the past 5 years, he has given more than 70 invited lectures, many of them at international meetings.

He has received numerous awards including the Spiegelman Award from the American Public Health Association and the Outstanding Practitioner of the Year Award from the International Society for Risk Analysis. He is a Fellow of the International Statistics Institute, the World Innovation Foundation, and the American Statistical Association.


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