In March 2017, Melissa Friesen, Ph.D., was awarded scientific tenure by the NIH and promoted to senior investigator in the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch. Dr. Friesen is an internationally recognized leader in the field of exposure assessment of occupational risk factors in epidemiologic studies.
An ongoing challenge in large-scale epidemiological studies is the collection, processing, and use of occupational exposure data. Dr. Friesen develops exposure assessment methods and tools to facilitate the use of occupational risk factor data in epidemiologic studies by efficiently transforming the verbatim responses of participants on questionnaires into usable data. One such tool is the SOCcer (Standardized Occupation Coding for Computer-assisted Epidemiological Research) algorithm which automatically codes job descriptions into standardized occupation classification (SOC) codes.
Dr. Friesen’s methodologic research and resulting exposure estimates have directly led to the identification and quantification of associations between common workplace exposures and disease. Her work has influenced policy worldwide and informed scientific recommendations to improve worker health.