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Research Themes

Research in my lab is mainly focused in understanding the mechanisms by which exposure to environmental chemicals and other stressors affect human and animal health. Our interest is mainly in investigating the epigenetic mechanisms particularly DNA methylation and non-coding RNAs. There is growing evidence suggesting that epigenetic mechanisms plays an important role in determining the long-term consequences of exposure to stressors. We are interested in characterizing the mechanisms involved in toxicant-induced alterations in epigenetic patterns. Insights into these mechanisms will help in predicting the potential adverse effects of exposure to contaminants and developing better prevention strategies.

Epigenetic Toxicology

One of the main focus of my resarch is understading the role of environmental chemicals on epigenetic mechanisms, particularly DNA methylation and non-coding RNAs (microRNAs). Using zebrafish (Danio rerio) and killifish (Fundulus heteroclitus) as a model system, we are conducting studies to determine the effects of exposure to environmental chemicals on DNA methylation and microRNAs expression. Relevant publications can be found in the publications section.

Environmental Epigenetics

Another area of interest is in understanding the epigenetic processes involved in determining phenotypic plasticity. Recent studies have demonstrated that in addition to genetic mechanisms, epigenetic mechanisms are involved in conferring phenotypic plasticity (e.g., social insects). Using Atlantic killifish (Fundulus heteroclitus) that show resistance to PCBs and Daphnia that display environment induce phenotypes, my lab is exploring the role of epigenetic mechanisms in phenotypic plasticity.