Joan E. Roberts


Professor of Chemistry

Positive and Negative Effects of Light on Human Health
Office: Lincoln Center 813
[email protected]
  • I received my Bachelor's in Chemistry from Marymount Manhattan College, and my Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from St. John's University.

  • Dr. Roberts's main area of expertise is the positive and negative effects of light on the human health. With her collaborators in Milan, Italy; Shanghai, China; Brookhaven National Laboratories, Long Island, and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, she studies how UV and blue visible light enhance the formation of cataracts and macular degeneration and studies ways of preventing these age related diseases. In Locarno, Switzerland, Dr. Roberts studies how modification of circadian rhythm influences the human immune system, jet lag and mood (seasonal depression). In addition to over 100 publications in peer reviewed scientific journals, Joan’s work has been published in several prominent “lay journals” including New Scientist, Essence Magazine, Sky & Telescope and on several medical websites, such as ABC, Reuters and BBC News. Joan has been featured on ABC World News Tonight with Bill Blakemore for her research on melatonin/circadian immune responses, ITV (UK) on the dangers of St. John's Wort and on PBS Brian Lehrer discussing proper lighting for sight and sleep.

  • Joan E. Roberts. Techniques to Improve Photodynamic Therapy. Photochemistry and Photobiology (2020) 96: 524–528

    Joan E. Roberts and Baozhong Zhao. (2016) Singlet Oxygen in the Human Eye: Chapter 37. Book Title: Singlet Oxygen: Applications in Biosciences and Nanosciences; Royal Society of Chemistry, London, United Kingdom Nanosciences; Edited by Santi Nonell and Cristina Flors Royal Society of Chemistry,
    London, United Kingdom pp 229-250.

    Joan E. Roberts and Jessica Dennison.The Photobiology of Lutein and Zeaxanthin in the Eye. Journal of Ophthalmology (2015) pp: 1-8.

    Joan E. Roberts, Light and Dark and Human Health. J. of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. December ( 2012 ) 11-14.

    Daniel B Caton and Joan E Roberts "Sleep and the Amateur Astronomer" Sky & Telescope, December 2006, pp. 48-52

    Dan Ning Hu, Joan E. Roberts and Allan F. Wiechmann. “ Melatonin and Melanoma”Chapter 27, pp.421-431 in Melatonin in the Promotion of Health, 2nd Edition, R.R. Watson, Editor, Taylor and Francis, UK. 2011

    Roberts, J.E.;The Effects of Visible and Near Infrared Light in Humans;. In: Biophysical and Physiological Effects of Solar Radiation on Human Skin, edited by Paolo U. Giacomoni, Chapter 8, pp 209-223 (2008). Royal Society of Chemistry Publishing , Cambridge, UK (2007)

    Roberts, J. E. Screening for Ocular Phototoxicity. International Journal of Toxicology 21:491-500 (2002)