2015 Pilot Project Awards

Zeljka Smit-McBride, PhD - Ophthalmology and Vision Science

September 29, 2016
Dysregulation of MicroRNAs in Ocular Tissue Exposed to Cigarette Smoke Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a blinding disease having both genetic and environmental components, is the most common form of visual impairment in elderly individuals of the Western world, and smoking is the leading identified associated environmental insult. Recently, a central regulatory role for a novel type of molecule, microRNA (miRNA), had been discovered in many human diseases.

Carolyn Slupsky, PhD - Department of Nutrition

September 29, 2016
Maternal Metabolome, PON1 Status, Organophosphate Exposure and Childhood Autism With the rapid rise in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnoses over the last three decades, identification of the causes and mechanisms of this condition is urgently needed. Building on recent findings that children prenatally exposed to pesticides have an increased risk of an ASD diagnosis, serum from children was previously analyzed. A distinct metabolic pattern was found in children with ASD who were exposed to pesticides in utero that revealed associations with insulin regulation.

Melanie Gareau, PhD - Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Cell Biology

September 29, 2016
Gastrointestinal Pathophysiology Following Early Life Environmental Exposure The microbiota-gut-brain axis (MGB axis) is an important pathway for maintaining health and well-being. Disruptions in the axis have been identified in numerous disease states, including inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes and autism spectrum disorder. Early development is an important life stage for normal establishment of the microbiota, development of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and neurobiological growth and maturation, which together modulate the MGB axis.

Keith Bein, PhD - Air Quality Research Center

August 09, 2016
Facilitating Real-Time Exposure Studies on Traffic Related Air Pollution Toxicological studies continue to demonstrate causal relationship between exposures to traffic related air pollution (TRAP), including gases and particles, and various metrics of adverse pulmonary, cardiovascular and neurological health effects. The key challenge in these studies is replicating true human exposure in models that mimic human biology on accelerated time scales with sufficient resolution in physiological and/or behavioral response to demonstrate statistical significance.