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Exposome

During the past decade, significant conceptual changes have occurred in relation to how researchers think about health and diseases, the role the environment plays in disease etiology, and how best to assess human exposure to environmental pollutants and dietary chemicals. A key overarching concept that emerged is the ‘exposome’, which the CDC defines as “the measure of all the exposures of an individual in a lifetime and how those exposures relate to health”. Exposomics is the study of the exposome and relies, among others, on biomonitoring to assess internal exposure and its effects through the measurement of biomarkers. A biomarker is “a key molecular or cellular event [or molecule] that links a specific environmental exposure to a health outcome”. According to the CDC, biomonitoring provides the most health-relevant assessments of exposures because it measures the amount of a chemical that is actually present internally in people, and not the amount of the chemical that is present in the environment. We propose to identify specific environmental and dietary factors that affect the health of New Yorkers.  Specifically, we propose to address the role of economic, ethnic, and geographic disparities in disease incidence, focusing on cancer, cardiovascular and neurological diseases, diabetes and other obesity-related diseases. To this effect we will employ both a comprehensive biomonitoring approach and a specific disease-focused approach.

Research Area Profile

  • Kenneth M. Aldous, Ph.D.

    Kenneth M. Aldous, Ph.D.

    • Director of the Division of Environmental Health

    We investigate the human exposome utilizing mass spectrometry techniques and analytical methods for the detection of trace elements and organic compounds in biological and environmental samples.

  •  Kurunthachalam Kannan

    Kurunthachalam Kannan, Ph.D.

    • Biomonitoring

    We focus on biomonitoring sources and pathways of human exposure to organic pollutants and their association with health outcomes, providing information for mitigating environmental burdens of diseases in humans.

  • David A. Lawrence

    David A. Lawrence, Ph.D.

    • Clinical and Experimental Endocrinology and Immunology

    We study the immunological aspect of the system biology effects from genetic susceptibilities and environmental stress defined as the exposome on autoimmune diseases, immune deficiencies, and neurodegenerative and neurobehavioral illnesses.

  • Patrick J. Parsons

    Patrick J. Parsons, Ph.D.

    • Deputy Director of the Division of Environmental Health Sciences

    We study human exposure to toxic metals/metalloids (biomonitoring) and long-lived nuclides (radiobioassay); and develop novel speciation methods by coupling LC and GC to ICP-MS, while using portable XRF for field-based studies.

  • Robert Rej, Ph.D.

    Robert Rej, Ph.D.

    • Clinical Chemistry and Hematology

    The Clinical Chemistry and Hematology Section carries out appropriate proficiency testing of laboratories, evaluates performance and recommends corrective actions for raising performance levels to meet and exceed acceptable standards.

  • David C. Spink

    David C. Spink, Ph.D.

    • Director of the Organic and Analytical Chemistry Laboratory

    Current research efforts are focused on the role of estrogens and estrogen metabolism in the genesis of breast cancer. We are investigating the effects of exposure to environmental toxicants.

  •  Qing-Yu Zhang

    Qing-Yu Zhang, Ph.D.

    • Molecular Toxicology

    We study the regulation of intestinal P450 gene expression and function by physiological, pathological, and environmental factors, and the function of P450 in drug clearance, chemical-induced toxicity, and inflammatory bowel disease.