Faculty Profile

Sara Adar

Sara Dubowsky Adar, ScD, MHS

  • Associate Professor, Epidemiology
  • Associate Chair, Epidemiology
  • Associate Professor, Global Public Health

Dr. Adar uses modern principles of epidemiology, environmental health, exposure science, and biostatistics to characterize the impacts of environmental hazards on human health. Her research primarily focuses on the effects of air pollution and noise on healthy aging, with additional interests in global health, extreme weather events, and intervention strategies to improve health. She currently leads several large cohort studies on the impacts of exposures on cognitive aging and dementia.

Dr. Adar is an Associate Editor at Environmental Health Perspectives and a member of the Review Committee for the Health Effects Institute. She also formerly served as the Secretary/Treasurer of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology and was awarded the Sandra A. Daugherty Award for Excellence in Cardiovascular Epidemiology from the American Heart Association and the Excellence in Teaching Award from the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

  • ScD, Environmental Epidemiology, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, 2005
  • MHS, Environmental Health, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, 1998
  • BS, Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1996

Research Interests:
Air pollution, noise, aging, cardiovascular disease, interventions, epidemiological methods

Research Projects:
Air Pollution and Aging. Dr. Adar is investigating the associations between long-term exposures to air pollution from different emission sources and healthy aging in several nationally representative cohorts from around the world. Her group specifically focuses on cognitive and mobility declines, dementia and disability, as well as health care costs related to lost independence. This work is highly collaborative with connections to scientists at the University of Southern California, University of Exeter, University of British Columbia, All India Institute for Medical Sciences (AIIMS), India Institute of Technology (IIT) in Delhi and Mumbai, Peking University, University of Chile, University College of London, Trinity College Dublin, Queen's University, University of Texas, University of Pennsylvania, and University of Sao Paulo.

Evaluating the Impacts of Clean Air Technologies and Fuels on School Bus Riders.
This project is investigating the exposures to air pollution inside of American school buses and examines the benefits of a bus replacement program on educational and health outcomes.

Landscapes of Structural Racism and Health. Dr. Adar is collaborating with historians, sociologists, psychologists, epidemiologists, and statisticians to study the link between cultural and structural racism and population health inequities. We are examining the interplay of historical and contemporary racial violence and control with air pollution and environmental justice on epigenomics and population health.

Air Pollution, Noise, Cognitive Aging, and Neuropathology. In collaboration with scientists at Boston University and University of Washington, Dr. Adar is investigating the impacts of long-term exposure to traffic-related air pollution and noise on the rate of cognitive decline, risk of incident Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, MRI-based markers of cerebrovascular disease and structural integrity, and olfaction.

Air Pollution as a Risk Factor for ALS. With investigators at Michigan Medicine, Dr. Adar is investigating the impacts of long-term exposure to air pollution on the severity and progression of ALS.

Adar, SD, Klein R, Klein BEK, Szpiro AA, Cotch MF, Wong T, O'Neill MS, Shrager S, Siscovick D, Daviglus M, Sampson P, Kaufman J. Air pollution and the microvasculature: A cross-sectional assessment of in vivo retinal images in the population-based Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis cohort. PLoS Med. 2010. 7(11):31000372. 

Adar SD, D'Souza J , Sheppard L, Jahnke J, Halstrand T, Kaufman JD, Davey ME, Sullivan JR, Koenig J, Lewtas J, Liu LJS. Adopting clean fuels and technologies on school buses: Pollution and health impacts in children. Am J Resp Crit Care Med. 2015. 191(12): 1413-1421. doi: 10.1164/rccm.201410-1924OC

Kaufman JD, Adar SD, Barr RG, Budoff M, Burke GL, Curl CL, Daviglus ML, Diez Roux AV, Gassett AJ, Jacobs DR Jr, Kronmal R, Larson TV, Navas-Acien A, Sampson PD, Sheppard L, Siscovick DS, Stein JH, Szpiro AA, Watson KE. Air pollution and acceleration of coronary artery calcification. The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis and Air Pollution. Lancet. 2016. 388(10045): 696-704. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(16)00378-0 

Adar SD, Chen YH, D'Souza J, O'Neill MS, Szpiro AA, Auchincloss AH, Park SK, Daviglus ML, Diez-Roux AV, Kaufman JD. Longitudinal analysis of long-term air pollution exposures and blood pressure: A cautionary tale from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Environ Health Perspect. 2018. 126(10):107003-1-11. doi.org/10.1289/EHP2966 

Morishita M, Adar SD, D'Souza J, Spino C, Bard RL, Ziemba RA, Brook R. Effect of portable air filtration systems on personal exposure to fine particulate matter and blood pressure among residents in a low-income senior facility: A randomized clinical trial. JAMA Intern Med. 2018. 178(10):1350-1357. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.3308 

Weuve J, D'Souza J, Beck T, Evans DA, Kaufman JD, Mendes de Leon C, Adar SD. Long-term community noise exposure in relation to dementia, cognition, and cognitive decline in older adults. Alzheimer's Dement. 2021. 2020:00:1-9. doi:10.1002/alz.12191 

View full list of publications at https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=z4ucdHEAAAAJandhl=en

Email: sadar@umich.edu

Office: 734-615-9207

Address: 5539 SPH II
1415 Washington Heights
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

For media inquiries: sph.media@umich.edu