The Toxicology research within the Department of EMT range in topics from detecting chemicals in the environment to gain molecular insight upon toxicant exposure. Research area expertise within the program includes (but not limited to) fate and transport of chemicals in the environment, detecting, interpreting, and understanding the distribution of chemicals, elucidating the mechanism of system-specific toxicity, application of molecular and computational approaches to understand mechanisms of susceptibility and develop therapeutics, and using zebrafish to identify structure-activity relationships of chemicals and nanomaterials.
There is a growing need for interdisciplinary scientists that can help link environmental quality and health and translate their research to the public. A weekly research EMT Seminar Series is hosted with invited speakers, students/postdocs to present and discuss their research.
The Garcia-Jaramillo’s Lab focuses on the detection, identification, and monitoring of legacy and emerging contaminants in both natural bodies of water and treated drinking water, using mass spectrometry-based targeted and non-targeted analyses. Ongoing research activities aim to implement data driven cumulative risk assessments by testing the exposure, bioavailability, toxicity, and mode of interaction of contaminant mixtures. Our lab is particularly interested in the effects of emerging drinking water contaminants on host-associated microbiota, as well as in the discovery and validation of blood-based biomarkers associated with their exposure.
The Kolluri’s Lab research efforts are directed toward discovering molecular targets that are selective for cancer, developing agents that are selectively toxic to cancer cells, and devising optimal combinations of therapeutic agents aimed at different molecular pathways for the prevention and treatment of cancer. We are currently focusing our efforts to (i) Develop small molecules to treat Bcl-2 overexpressing cancers and (ii) Therapeutic targeting of the Ah Receptor in cancer and autoimmune diseases.
The Marcus’s Lab research focus is on the role of P450 enzymes in environmentally-induced human diseases. His research focuses on alternative splicing in the P450 superfamily of enzymes and identifying endogenous substrates of P450s with important cell regulatory functions
The Tanguay Lab is the world’s leader in using zebrafish as a systems toxicological model. Her research focus lies on exploiting the unique advantages of zebrafish to protect and improve human and environmental health. Her lab aims to discover these chemicals and their biological targets. The central hypothesis is that chemical and nanomaterial bioactivity are governed by their inherent structures, and these structures permit interactions with biological targets and systems to alter biological activity. The lab uses chemical and nanomaterial structural information, coupled with the biological responses they produce in zebrafish, as anchors for mechanistic and structure response relationship research.
The Tilton’s Lab utilizes molecular and computational approaches to understand mechanisms of susceptibility from combined dietary and environmental factors in lung disease to identify signatures and early biomarkers that are predictive of disease outcome. We are also interested in understanding mechanisms of toxicity from complex environmental mixtures compared to their individual components.
The William’s Lab interests focus on environmental carcinogens with an emphasis on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), formed from the incomplete combustion of carbon materials (coal, wood, petroleum, etc.). We seek to determine not only how these chemicals cause cancer but also approaches for prevention and intervention, primarily by diet.
The Anderson’s Lab research is focused on the field of environmental forensic chemistry which involves the application of chemical concepts to the interpretation, distribution, speciation, and bioavailability of chemicals in the environment (often litigious). We focus on persistent, bioaccumulative, toxic chemicals. We work in several eco-system compartments: dominantly fish, surface waters and sediments. Also, to classical techniques, we work on the development and evaluation of in-situ techniques that mimic organisms, to better understand bioavailability.
The Field’s Lab research focuses on the development and application of quantitative analytical methods for organic micropollutants and their transformation products in natural and engineered systems. She was a pioneer in the area of fluorochemical occurrence and behavior with a focus on groundwater contaminated by firefighting foams, municipal wastewater treatment systems, and in municipal landfill leachates. Her current research in the area of environmental analytical chemistry concentrates on the use of large-volume injections with liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry as a quantitative yet cost- and time-saving approach for the analysis of aqueous environmental samples.
The Harper Lab investigates the environmental, health, and safety impacts of nanotechnology and microplastics. Our current lack of information on the environmental fate and toxic potential of nanomaterials and the impacts of microplastics prohibits us from performing valid risk assessments. Issues of particle behavior, bioavailability, and toxicity are central to quantitative risk assessment. Integrative studies in the Harper laboratory are designed to effectively improve our understanding of how and why nanomaterials and nanoplastics interact with and sometimes alter living systems.
The Jenkin’s Lab research interest include field studies to examine the impact of pesticide use on air and water quality, studies designed to investigate human and wildlife exposure as a result of pesticide use in both agricultural and urban settings, studies which investigate how sub-lethal exposures affect fitness and survival, and studies that may assist in the development of technologies that mitigate adverse human and environmental impacts.
The Simonich’s Lab focuses on the measurement, fate, transport, and toxicity of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) transformation products during remediation and atmospheric transport. She did this by applies analytical chemistry to the field of environmental studies to increase our knowledge of which compounds are present in the environment, what reactions they undergo in the environment, and how their presence affects environmental and human health.
The Stubblefield’s Lab research in the general area of environmental toxicology and the effects of chemicals and/or environmental stressors on ecological receptors. Ongoing research activities focus on the evaluation of metals and hydrocarbons in terrestrial and aquatic environments. Current projects are targeted toward conduct laboratory-based studies to determine the mechanistic basis for the effects of metals on aquatic organisms. This data is then utilized to develop deterministic models that can be used to predict toxicant bioavailability and potential effects on receptor organisms