Dr. Courtney Woods

Courtney G. Woods, PhD

Associate Professor
Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering
MPH Program Director
Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering


Courtney Woods is an associate professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering. Dr. Woods serves a lead for the Master of Public Health (MPH) program’s Environmental Health Solutions concentration and co-lead for the Health Equity, Social Justice and Human Rights concentration, which she helped develop.

For over a decade, Dr. Woods has applied participatory action research approaches to support communities experiencing environmental racism. As an engineering and toxicology trained scientist, she uses mixed methods to assess risk perception and hazard exposure for a range of environmental health issues, including landfills, petrochemical refineries, industrial animal agriculture facilities and natural disasters. She leads the Environmental Justice Action Research Clinic. Similar to a law clinic, the EJ Clinic provides technical assistance for residents facing urgent environmental health threats.

Dr. Woods co-leads a course on environmental justice (ENVR 784) with the
NC Environmental Justice Network (NCEJN), a well-established grassroots organization addressing environmental justice issues across the state. She also is a founding member of Earthseed Land Collective, a BIPOC-led organization that applies cooperative principles for sharing access to land, redefining the human-natural environment relationship and that works towards food sovereignty.

Courtney Woods in the Gillings News

Honors and Awards

Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholar, Class VII
2018-2020, UNC-Chapel Hill

Steve Wing International Environmental Justice Award
2017, NC Environmental Justice Network

Newton Underwood Award for Excellence in Teaching
2015, UNC Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering

UJMT Fogarty Global Health Fellow
2014, UNC-Chapel Hill

Fulbright Fellow for Brazil
2014, UNC-Chapel Hill

Representative Courses

ENVR 600: Environmental Health

ENVR 610: Global Environmental Health Inequities

ENVR 784: Community-Driven Research and Environmental Justice

SPHG 713: Understanding Public Health Issues

Key Publications

Modeling drug- and chemical-induced hepatotoxicity with systems biology approaches. Melvin Andersen, M Andersen, Sudin Bhattacharya, S Bhattacharya, Brett Howell, B Howell, Patrick McMullen, P McMullen, Lisl Shoda, L Shoda, Scott Siler, S Siler, Paul Watkins, P Watkins, Jeffrey Woodhead, J Woodhead, Courtney Woods, C Woods, Yuching Yang, Y Yang, Qiang Zhang, Q Zhang (2012). Frontiers in Physiology, 3.

Low-level arsenic impairs glucose-stimulated insulin secretion in pancreatic beta cells: Involvement of cellular adaptive response to oxidative stress. Melvin Andersen, Sheila Collins, Jingqi Fu, Jingbo Pi, Guifan Sun, Victoria Wong, Courtney Woods, Einav Yehuda-Shnaidman, Qiang Zhang (2010). Environmental Health Perspectives, 118(6), 864-870.

A systems biology perspective on Nrf2-mediated antioxidant response. Melvin Andersen, Jingbo Pi, Courtney Woods, Qiang Zhang (2010). Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 244(1), 84-97.

Dose-dependent transitions in Nrf2-mediated adaptive response and related stress responses to hypochlorous acid in mouse macrophages. Melvin Andersen, Jingqi Fu, Yongyong Hou, Jingbo Pi, Linda Pluta, Russell Thomas, Courtney Woods, Peng Xue, Longlong Yang, Qiang Zhang (2009). Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 238(1), 27-36.

Time course investigation of PPARα- and Kupffer cell-dependent effects of WY-14,643 in mouse liver using microarray gene expression. Blair Bradford, Amanda Burns, Michael Cunningham, Joseph Ibrahim, Oksana Kosyk, Pingping Qu, Pamela Ross, Ivan Rusyn, Courtney Woods (2007). Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 225(3), 267-277.


  • PhD, Environmental Sciences and Engineering, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2007
  • MS, Chemical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2003
  • BA, Chemical Engineering, University of Tennessee, 2001