UC Couple Reaches A Major Milestone

University of Cincinnati doctoral candidates Jeff and Camille Lodwick have a lot more in common than their last names. Both were in separate doctoral programs at UC, but shared related research and even a lab at one time. Then, they decided to share a lifetime together, and got married in 2001. They even shared the same date when they  defended their research projects: Tuesday, July 22. Jeff presented his research in environmental and industrial hygiene in the Kettering Lab Complex at the UC Medical Center. Camille, a doctoral candidate in the College of Engineering, followed with her defense in which she used computer modeling to measure lead levels in human bone. She presented her research at the Engineering Research Center.

“Both Jeff and Camille are doing work that should be of high interest in the Tristate area,” says their advisor Henry Spitz, professor of mechanical and industrial engineering and director of Graduate Studies. “Lead remains a common neurotoxin, and it can accumulate in bone. So, measuring and predicting exposure levels as accurately as possible are important advancements in protecting both workers and children from lead poisoning.”

It was their research that brought them together, and evolved into a support system for two people attaining a very demanding goal. Jeff, a 32-year-old doctoral candidate in the Department of Environmental Health, College of Medicine, is originally from Carlisle, Ohio and earned his undergraduate degree in nuclear engineering from UC’s College of Engineering. He then earned his UC master’s degree in health physics from the Nuclear and Radiological Engineering Program, College of Engineering, before pursuing his doctoral studies in the Environmental Health Program.

Camille, 27, first joined the UC master’s degree program in health physics and came here from Oregon, earning her bachelor’s degree in radiation health physics from Oregon State University.

Jeff explains that his research uses X-Ray fluorescence to measure lead in human bone. The work is not directly done on humans. Instead, his research focused on the design and fabrication of tissue surrogates for human muscle and bone that are used to calibrate devices for measuring lead levels. The calibration devices were awarded a U.S patent that Jeff shares with some of his colleagues. “We’re looking at ways to improve measurement precision. The XRF method is used to measure occupationally and environmentally exposed populations. There’s been some thought given to using this method to measure lead levels in exposed children.”

Camille’s research involved mathematical simulations using Monte Carlo analysis to investigate the uncertainty associated with X-ray fluorescence measurements of lead in human bone. The computer code Monte-Carlo N-Particle (MCNP) was modified for simulating photon interactions associated with X-ray fluorescence of lead in bone. She utilized MCNP to help determine variation in lead measurements that may occur due to slight differences between individuals. These differences include variations in the thickness of tissue overlying the bone and the density of the bone. “This is important in improving the precision of the X-ray fluorescence for use in epidemiological studies,” she said.

Their same UC advisor, Henry Spitz, director of graduate studies for the College of Engineering, first brought them together in 1998 as they shared the same lab space in UC’s Old Chemistry Building. “I don’t think we really spoke with each other for the first couple of months,” Camille says. “We did travel together to a conference for the American Nuclear Society, and that’s when I think I discovered that we had a lot in common. Plus, we had such a fun time together. I felt like I could really be myself around him.”
They married in 2001 and have worked ever since to reach each of their own milestones this summer: their doctoral degrees. “It’s been a high-stress time but we’ve been able to help each other out,” says Jeff. “There’s someone there to ask questions to. Both of us were just trying to get done.”

“You have someone to talk with about what you’re trying to do, and I definitely took advantage of that more than he did,” Camille said. “The challenge has been just the time it’s taken to get here. Occasionally we’d be e-mailing each other from upstairs and downstairs. But, we didn’t necessarily make it our lives.”

The couple currently reside in Pleasant Ridge, but will be moving to Salt Lake City in the fall, where Jeff will take a job as a health physicist for the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). He’ll be working on plans to prepare for a “radiological event, whether it’s a workplace accident or a scare involving a dirty bomb. We’re coordinating with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.”

Camille has not pinned down a permanent position as of yet, but will be doing some consulting with the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).


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