Skip to main content

About Us

The Lab

The Curl Agricultural Health Lab is located in the Environmental Research Building, Room 3106, and is a part of the College of Health Sciences.

Inside the lab 1

Inside the lab 2



The People

Cynthia Curl, PhD, MS

“The goal of our research is to develop evidence-based public health messages about how various agricultural systems affect the health of both workers and consumers.”

Cynthia Curl with vegetable produce

Cynthia Curl earned her PhD (Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences) from the University of Washington in 2014, and her MS from the same program in 2000. She earned her BA (Chemistry) from Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania in 1998.

Dr. Curl’s research interests are focused on environmental health and exposure science, with a particular emphasis on understanding exposures to agricultural chemicals and their effects on farmworkers, agricultural communities and the general public. She has authored numerous peer-reviewed publications on this topic, describing studies of the effectiveness of various agricultural re-entry periods on worker exposures, research on the “take-home” pathway of exposure on families of agricultural workers, and investigations of the effect of organic diets on pesticide exposures to the general public.

Dr. Curl joined Boise State University in the spring of 2015 as an Assistant Professor after earning her doctoral degree in environmental and occupational health sciences at the University of Washington (UW). Dr. Curl also worked for several years as a researcher for the Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center at UW. She also spent time working in both the private and non-profit sectors as an environmental consultant and as a researcher.

Carly Hyland – Post-Doctoral Fellow

Carly Hyland earned her PhD (Environmental Health Sciences) in 2021 and her MS (Global Health and Environment) in 2017 from the University of California Berkeley. She earned her BA (Environmental Science) from Carthage College in Wisconsin in 2015.

Dr. Hyland’s dissertation work focused on the neurodevelopmental impacts of prenatal and early-life exposure to pesticides and social adversity among youth living in an agricultural community in California. She has conducted fieldwork in agricultural communities in Costa Rica and Guatemala and is broadly interested in farmworker health, global health, and children’s health. She aims to continue research highlighting methods to reduce exposure to pesticides and environmental chemicals among children, those living in agricultural communities, and the general public.

Meredith Spivak – Lab Coordinator

Meredith earned her BS in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2009. She worked at a medical facility for many years before completing her MS in Epidemiology from the State University of New York at Albany in 2018. She is currently an epidemiologist for the Center for Environmental Health and Safety at Boise State University, and oversees the Curl Agricultural Health Lab. Her research interests include nutrition, pregnancy, developmental origins of health and disease, and women and children’s health.

Annica Balentine  – Graduate Research Assistant

Annica graduated from Gonzaga University in 2018 with a double major in psychology and sociology, and a pre-med concentration. She is currently a student in the Masters of Public Health program, with a concentration in Systems Analysis. She is interested health disparities that predominantly occur at the intersection of gender and race.

Alejandra Hernandez – Volunteer

Alejandra is currently a junior at Boise State University studying Health Science with a general emphasis, and minors in sociology, psychology, and family studies. She previously completed a legislative fellowship with Planned Parenthood, where she discovered her passion for public health and advocating for a better and accessible public health system for all. She plans to continue her education and earn a doctoral degree in Public Health. Her research interests include women’s health, social inequalities, health disparities, and machismo and marianismo.

Brianna Ellison – INBRE Fellow

Brianna Ellison

Brianna is an undergraduate student at Boise State University. She is pursuing an interdisciplinary major in the fields of psychology, anthropology, and criminal justice, as well as a minor in creative writing. She is on track to graduate in 2023, following which she will pursue an MFA in poetry as well as further education and a career in forensic anthropology. She is interested in research that will have a direct impact on the community around her as well as expose her to a variety of fields and corresponding issues, especially those regarding the environment and human health.

Allison O’Brien – Volunteer

Allison O'Brein

Allison earned a BS in Health Science and Minor in Psychology at Boise State University in 2020. During that time she volunteered with Healthy Habits Healthy You, a collaboration between Boise State, Boise Public school district and MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives. She is currently in the nursing program at Boise State and hopes one day to continue her education and become a women’s health nurse practitioner and certified nurse midwife.

Jenna RappJenna Rapp – Volunteer

Jenna was born and raised in Southern California and moved to Idaho to attend Boise State University in 2017. She graduated with her BS in Health Science in 2019 and currently works as a scribe and x-ray technician. She has worked as a home health aide and a CNA, where she worked in a skilled nursing facility for 1 ½ years. In October 2019, she went on a 2 week medical mission to Kenya and discovered her passion to work in rural communities and areas with inadequate access to health care. She aspires to become a Physician Assistant with a desire to provide rural areas access to preventative care and health education.