Daniel Costa

Adjunct Professor
Department of Environment Sciences and Engineering


(Retired) National Research Program Director for Air, Climate and Energy Research Program
US Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), Research Triangle Park (RTP

Dan Costa, Sc.D., DABT recently retired as the National Program Director (NPD) for the Air Climate & Energy Research Program (ACE).  Dan earned his B.S. in Biology / Chemistry from Providence College, RI, an M.S. in Environmental Sciences from Rutgers, an M.S. and a Sc.D. (doctor of science) in Physiology / Toxicology from the Harvard School of Public Health.  He previously served as NPD for the Clean Air Research Program and was Chief of the Pulmonary Toxicology Branch of the National Health and Environmental Research Laboratory (NHEERL) for 18 years, where he led an active group investigating the health effects of ozone, particulate matter as well as other air pollutants.  He was a Diplomat and Past-President of the American Board of Toxicology (1994) and is Past-President of the Inhalation Specialty Section of the Society of Toxicology (1996) from which he received the Career Achievement Award (2003).   He has served on a number of national and international review committees involving grants and air quality issues. He has authored / co-authored more than 160 refereed publications, 4 book editorships, and over 30 book chapters, conference proceedings and monographs. His research included collaborations with NHEERL investigators, mainly focusing on the role of lung derived neurogenic modulation of cardiac function due to various stressors in animal models of cardiopulmonary disease.  Dan is the father of five grown children and through them has had a continued role in sports and other activities. He is a high school basketball referee, plays basketball regularly, and coaches a Special Olympics basketball team. He has always carried these team principles to the workplace.

Honors and Awards

Val Vallyathan Senior Investigator Award
2016, Assembly on Environmental and Occupational Public Health (ATS)

Special Achievement Award
2006-2015, Immediate Office of the Assistant Administrator (IOAA), US EPA

Bronze Medal for Commendable Service
2014, So. Oxidant Aerosol Study Leadership and Vision Team

Exceptional/Outstanding ORD Technical Assistance to the Regions or Program Offices: Diesel Exhaust Studies Team

Bronze Medal for Commendable Service
2012, ORD Budget and Program Structure Implementation Team, US EPA

Teaching Interests

Guest lectures in TOXC 707 Advanced Toxicology (Swenberg) and ENVR 430 Health Effects of Environmental Agents (Ball)

Research Activities

•    Air pollution health effects and the factors that underly susceptibility

•    The investigation of respiratory neural pathways emanating from irritant reflexes that impact cardiac as well as respiratory function. Revealing “priming” pathways that sensitize rodents (and likely people) to over-respond to normal daily changes typically under homeostatic control.

Key Publications

Rat models of cardiometabolic diseases: baseline clinical chemistries, and rationale for their use in examining air pollution health effects. Kodavanti UP, Russell JC, Costa DL (2015). Inhal Toxicol, 27(Suppl 1), 2-13.

Air Pollution Regulatory Science. Sacks J, Fann N, Owens EO, Costa DL (2015). Air Pollution and Health Effects, -(Chapter 15), 403-436.

Practical Lung function in comparative respiratory physiology of the normal lung. Tepper JS and Costa DL (2015). Comparative Biology of the Normal Lung, -(Chapter 17), 305-551.

A single exposure to acrolein desensitizes baroreflex responsiveness and increases cardiac arrhythmias in normotensive and hypertensive rats. Hazari MS, Griggs J, Winsett DW, Haykal-Coates N, Ledbetter A, Costa DL, Farraj AK (2014). Cardiovascular Toxicology, 14(1), 52-63.

Acute pulmonary toxicity of particulate matter (PM) filter extracts in rats: Coherence with epidemiological studies in Utah Valley residents. Dye, J.A., Lehmann, J.R., McGee, J.K., Winsett, D.W., Ledbetter, A.D., Everitt, J.I., Ghio, A.J. (2001). Environ. Health Perspec., 109((Suppl. 3)), 395-403.


  • Sc.D., Physiology (Toxicology-Occupational Health), Harvard University, School of Public Health, 1977
  • MS, Physiology, Harvard University, School of Public Health, 1973
  • MS, Environmental Sciences, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 1973
  • BS, Biology, Chemistry (cum laude), Providence College (Rhode Island)