Note: If you are entering my blogs on this page, click on any of the topical links above to get to my work.
For most of the other pages, the equivalent to the Table of Contents for this site appears under the Pages heading located a little further down on the right side margin.
The purpose of this site is to pull together most of my research projects engaged in since 1976. A large number of these projects pertain to the the Dutchess County, Orange County, the Hudson Valley and the New York area. Due to my history as an adjunct professor, most of this work is focused on medicine, public health, medical history, and medical botany.
My work on Dutchess County medical history is perhaps my longest, most ongoing project. This work was initiated in 1982 and continues into today, with most of my focus paid on Colonial and early post-colonial physicians and their teachings, and the history of traditional and alternative medicine in the Hudson Valley area from about 1500 to 1850.
Considerable effort and time have also been spent on projects pertaining to a 20 year project focused on Plant-based Natural products chemistry. The purpose of this research was to demonstrate the taxonomic-classification relationship that exists between many important plant chemicals and classes of chemicals and their placement in the plant evolutionary tree. The more evolved a plant is for the most part, the more toxic and selective in the nature of its toxicity it becomes. Likewise, the more evolved a particular class of chemicals are within the plant Kingdom, the more specialized their uses are both ecologically and as medicines.
I also spent a considerable amount of time (15 years about) focused on the ecology and history of the Oregon Trail, including its medical practices from 1845 to 1860 , and a little bit on its ecology and plant medicines. A major part of this work related to the history of endemic and epidemic diseases on the Trail and the history of Cholera as a geographically defined disease that made its way from the heavily populated parts of the Midwest to the Oregon Trail. This work enabled me to spatially different “cholera” in the true Asiatic Cholera form, located in the eastern half of this trail, from the non-vibrio forms of severe diarrhea, or dysentery referred to as “cholera”, that impacted people as they passed through Wyoming, Idaho, Washington and Oregon. The main biological cause for this “cholera” could also be determined based on the spatial relationships between the disease ecology, animal deaths and disease, and the resulting human cases.
Aside from the West Nile work (detailed extensively as a disease ecology topic utilizing GIS), my most recent long term research project that was primarily GIS based was focused on mapping and quantifying the release of toxic or carcinogenic chemicals at chemical release sites in the State of Oregon. These sites were related to several types of cancer that were spatially mapped. This spatial relationship was reviewed in various ways, ranging from length, type and amount of release to specific chemical information provided for each of these sites such as the types and amounts of chemicals released. Due to a review of about 60,ooo chemical reports over a fairly long period of time, certain chemical fingerprints could be related to the Standard Industrial Classification identifier for each industry at a given site. Certain SICs it ends up are indicators of high cancer risk. The most important products of this work include my research on how to spatially analyze toxic release sites using several common spatial review methods and a grid method of analysis I developed using hexagonal grids instead of the common square grids. To date I am still making use of this data to experiment with different methods of chemical release and exposure analysis. [Added note, 1-10-2011: To GIS students, this is my most popular site visited, by about one-third of my visitors; if you are a student and want the formulas, drop me a line via one of the grid analysis pages.]
My most recent and also ongoing research is the West Nile study, for which my emphasis is on disease ecology and the various ways in which west nile ecology can be analyzed using GIS and Remote Sensing tools. In October of 2006, a exceptionally small portion of this work was presented at the ESRI Medical GIS conference held in Denver, Colorado., resulting in my receiving an award for this work, long after my work as a field researcher in this topic was completed. Due to the amounts and complexity of the data I gathered during my fieldwork years, I am still in the process of performing spatial analysis and ecological studies of the disease and its spatio-temporal behaviors.
I have plans to add GIS section on phytochemistry and remote sensing (RS). My interest in RS was almost instant when in one of the classes I took as a student I was given a print out of an AVHRR spectrum sheet and like other students was required to write an essay on how I interpret the spectral pattern. These were of various soils in Antarctica, with one of these soil very different than the others. The purpose of this review was to define a way to perform and experiment in order identify that substance. Well, I could see immediately the peaks indicative of carotenoids in the soil, leading me to pick up on some other identifiable peaks with recognizable nanometrics–all due to photosynthetic materials. But the soils supposedly had no algae in it. It ended up the carotenoid peaks were due to xanthophylls, the remnants of an algae growing due to nearby glacial melt water. The AVHRR Reflection Spectrum was essentially a mirror image of spectra I obtained from plant products extracted in my chemistry lab across campus. That is when I drew up all of the phytochemical pathways onto a single 2′ x 3′ chart and worked out the effects of stresses upon plants and how these stresses impact remotely sensed imagery, NIR readings, and radiographics.