Faculty Profile

Olivier  Jolliet, PhD

Olivier Jolliet, PhD

  • Professor of Environmental Health Sciences
  • 6635 SPH I
  • 1415 Washington Heights
  • Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2029

Professor Jolliet's research and teaching programs aim to assess environmental risks and impacts of chemicals and of innovative technologies. He co-initiated the UNEP (United Nations Environment Program)/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative and is the scientific manager of its Life Cycle Impact Assessment program. He is editor and reviewer for several scientific journals.

Olivier Jolliet obtained a PhD in building physics in 1988 at the EPFL. He worked as a postdoc at the Silsoe Research Institute (GB) and as a visiting scholar at MIT (USA) and Berkeley. Between 1998 and 2005, he was assistant professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), heading the Industrial Ecology & Life Cycle Systems Group. In 2005, Olivier Jolliet was appointed as Associate Professor at the University of Michigan and is one of the founding members of the Risk Science Center.

  • PhD, Physics, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), 1988
  • M.S., Physics, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), 1983

Prof. Jolliet's teaching and research aim to a) assess and mitigate exposure to chemicals in products and their life cycle impacts, b) support decisions towards heathy and sustainable food products and systems, c) model the exposome and multi-compartmental human and environmental exposure from the molecular to global level, and d) develop Life Cycle Impact and Comparative Risk Assessment methods focusing on human health.

The recent availability of high dimensional data and models open a very exciting era, enabling us to address environmental health challenges and to further develop chemical alternatives assessment and life cycle toxicity assessment in an unprecedented way.

a) Chemicals in consumer products: We are presently pioneering the assessment of exposure to chemical in consumer products using Big Data for chemical screening in Alternatives Assessment, Life Cycle Assessment and Risk Assessment. We model the entire continuum from source emission to human health impacts, combining multimedia fate and exposure models with toxicokinetic and toxicodynamic model. We have defined the product intake fraction (PiF) as an adequate metrics to assess both far-field and near-field exposures. We have assessed exposures to more than 10,000 product-chemical combinations in toys, cosmetics, building materials, cleaning products and food contact materials. For UN environment, Prof. Jolliet co-authored the chapters of the Global Chemical Outlook II on exposure to chemicals in products, and he is presently one of the lead investigator for a UN project on chemicals in toys (focus on China) and building materials (focus on Sri Lanka).

b) Heathy and sustainable food products and systems: For healthy and sustainable foods, we have developed the Combined Nutritional and Environmental LCA (CONE-LCA) framework that compares environmental and nutritional effects of foods in a common end-point metric, Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALY). We applied this framework to determine the minutes of life lost and saved via consumption of 7000 items of the US food diet, analyzing their nutritional and environmental impacts and benefits. We lose 40 minutes of life per hot dog and gain 30 minutes for each serving of nuts. Our findings demonstrate how small but targeted dietary changes can bring considerable nutritional and environmental benefits, of 50 minutes of healthy life saved per person per day and 40% carbon footprint reduction. It sets the scene for realistic targeted and efficient dietary changes, one food at a time.

c) Exposome modeling from molecular to global level: We developed PANGEA, a global spatial environmental multiscale multimedia model of fate & exposure from local to global scale, presently used to assess the impacts of pesticides and Household & Personal Care Products at global level, from 10km resolution to world scale. The comparison of population predictions with urine biomarkers demonstrates a good concordance between predicted and NHANES distributions of parabens urine. We have run high throughput biomarker study for 140+ compounds from NHANES, identifying chemicals trends with age and chemicals with high exposures in children. We have special interest is in the modeling of "lifetime exposome" using Big Data and Big Models, to be able to trace and predict the lifetime exposure of individuals to chemicals, physical exercise, foods and occupational hazards.

d) Life Cycle Impact and Comparative Risk Assessment methods focusing on human health: At international level, Prof. Jolliet co-Initiated the Life Cycle Initiative (a collaboration between the United Nations Environment Program and the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry), managing the effort of more than 100 scientists worldwide towards development of impact assessment approaches, including the USEtox consensus model, which can be used to screen the toxic impacts of 3000 chemicals. He co-developed Impact World+, a comprehensive spatial Life Cycle Impact Assessment method. He is presently extending the approach to include worker exposure to volatile organic compounds and to noise in a life cycle perspective.

It has been most rewarding for Prof. Jolliet to mentor more than 50 MS students, 19 PhD graduate students and 9 post-docs, with 7 of his mentees who have become faculty in Universities worldwide.

  • Stylianou KS, Fulgoni III VL, Jolliet O (2021). Small targeted dietary changes can yield substantial gains for human health and the environment. Nature Food, 2, 616–627 (https://rdcu.be/cuVht).
  • Aurisano N, Huang L, Mila I Canals L, Jolliet O, Fantke P (2021). Chemicals of concern in plastic toys. Environment International, 146, 106194. (https://doi.org/10.1016/j. envint.2020.106194).
  • Bulle C, Jolliet O et al. (2019). IMPACT World+: A Globally Regionalized Life Cycle Impact Assessment Method. Int J of LCA 24 (9), 1653–1674. (https://doi.org/10.1007/s11367-019-01583-0)
  • Alpizar F, Fantke P, Jolliet O et al. (2019). UN Environment Global Chemicals Outlook II-From Legacies to Innovative Solutions: Implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. SAICM/OEWG.3/INF/25. https://www.unenvironment.org/explore-topics/chemicals-waste/what-we-do/policy-and-governance/global-chemicals-outlook
  • Jolliet O, Frischknecht R et al. (2018). Global guidance on environmental life cycle impact assessment indicators: impacts of climate change, fine particulate matter formation, water consumption and land use. Int J Life Cycle Assess, 23 (11), 2189–2207 (https://doi.org/10.1007/s11367-018-1443-y)
  • Wannaz C,  Franco A, Kilgallon J, Hodges J, Jolliet O (2018). A global framework to model spatial ecosystems exposure to home and personal care chemicals in Asia. Science of the Total Environment, 622-623, 410-420 (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.11.315)
  • Liang S, Stylianou KS, Jolliet O, Supekar S, Qu S, Skerlos SJ and Xu M (2017). Consumption-based human health impacts of primary PM2.5: The hidden burden of international trade. Journal of Cleaner Production, 167, 133-139 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.08.139)
  • Csiszar SA, Ernstoff AS and Jolliet O (2017). Stochastic Modeling of Aggregate Exposure to Chemicals in Personal Care Products: Paraben Case Study. Journal of epidemiology and exposure science, 27, 152-159 (www.dx.doi.org/ 10.1038/jes.2015.85)
  • Fantke P, Ernstoff AS, Huang L, Csiszar SA and Jolliet O (2016). Coupled Near-Field and Far-Field Exposure Assessment Framework for Chemicals in Consumer Products, Environment International, 94, 508-518 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2016.06.010)
  • Jolliet O, Saadé-Sbeih M, Shanna S, Jolliet O and Crettaz P (2015). Environmental Life Cycle Assessment, CRC-Press, ISBN 9781439887660, pp.302. (https://doi.org/10.1201/b19138)