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Contaminants of Concern for Human and Environmental Health - Toxicology and Societies Speaker Series


Thursday, December 3, 2020 - 11:00am to 12:00pm



Event Description

Contaminants of Concern for Human and Environmental Health

Organochlorine pesticides were heavily used for agriculture in many locations around the world and even though they are no longer used, they persist in sediments and biota.  In Florida, these pesticides were used heavily to control for pests in farms on the north shore of Lake Apopka.   There are many studies that reveal these types of pesticides have negative impacts in reproduction of wildlife and fortunately they have been banned.  Farmworkers in Florida who were exposed to high concentrations of these pesticides 50 years ago have developed a high incidence of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and other chronic illnesses.  However, it is hard to directly link the exposures to pesticides that occurred so many years before with their illnesses. A pilot study was performed with 20 African- American and Hispanic former farmworkers who had been either directly exposed on the farms or who were children of those exposed.  Blood concentrations of organochlorine pesticides were determined in addition to performing an assay for the presence of anti-nuclear autoantibodies related to SLE. The levels of organo chlorine pesticides in blood samples were higher than the 90th percentile for people over age 20 from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) studies between 1999 and 2004, suggesting that indeed these individuals had been impacted by working on the farms. Eighteen of the individuals did not have a clinical confirmation of lupus, but 15 of these showed the presence of the autoantibodies. Studies with largemouth bass exposed either in the laboratory or in the field to the same pesticides show alterations in molecular pathways that suggest a linkage between the exposures and immune dysfunction. Fish are vertebrates and share many of the same molecular pathways with humans and may indirectly suggest that exposures to organochlorine pesticides may alter the immune system of individuals, making them more susceptible to disease. Novel holistic methods were employed to identify changes in gene and lipid expression in fish that relate to possible adverse outcomes from the exposures.  

View the recorded presentation through the WWU alumni site

About the Speaker: Dr. Nancy Denslow, Center for Environmental and Human Toxicology at the University of Florida

Nancy Denslow is a professor in the Department of Physiological Sciences and in the Center for Environmental and Human Toxicology at the University of Florida.  She received her Ph.D. from the University of Florida in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.  Nancy has pioneered the use of molecular technologies for environmental toxicology especially focusing on high throughput in vitro assays, biomarker development and toxicogenomics approaches for evaluating contaminants of emerging concern. She has specialized in assessing the effects of organochlorine pesticides and endocrine disruptors that are found at relatively high levels in the environment. Nancy has over 250 peer-reviewed publications.  She has received several awards for her research including the Founders Award from the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.  In addition to this society, she is also a member of the Society of Toxicology, and the Association of Biomolecular Research Facilities, a society devoted to the “OMICS” technologies.  Nancy’s research has received funding from EPA, NSF, USGS and NIH.

Registration for this event is closed, but you can watch the recorded presentation through the WWU alumni site.

Dec 3, 2020 11 -12 pm (PST).

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