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Opportunity at U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Interactions between Chemical Stressors and Factors that Impact Children’s Health and Development

Location

Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Toxicity Assessment Division

RO# Location
22.02.08.B8348 Research Triangle Park, NC 27711

Advisers

Name E-mail Phone
Lau, Christopher Si-Lung lau.christopher@epa.gov 919.541.5097

Description

A complex array of environmental factors can influence human health and well-being. Included are exposures to multiple manmade and naturally occurring chemicals, which may occur at critical stages across the life-course; responses to such insults may be modified by psychosocial, behavioral, and nutritional stressors. Epidemiological studies in low-income urban and agricultural communities have shown linkages between chemical exposures in pregnant women and increased ill health in their children, suggesting that factors such as psychosocial stress and poor nutrition encountered in these “at risk” communities may exacerbate the adverse effects of environmental pollutants on pregnancy, early childhood development, and adult health. To ascertain the underpinnings of these linkages, research with animal models will be conducted to examine the interactions between maternal exposures to chemical and non-chemical stressors, the latter of which focusing on psychosocial stress and poor diet during pregnancy. Multiple target organ/system endpoints will be assessed in the offspring at various life-stages. Among them, maturation and functional development of the heart will be evaluated by in vitro and in vivo studies with cardiac stem cells and precursor cells. These will entail (1) establishing scalable in vitro assays to screen chemicals that alter cardiac precursor cell differentiation and function, (2) identifying species translatable (to humans) biomarkers to detect alterations of cardiac stem cells and precursor cells in vivo after exposure to chemical insults, and (3) identifying systemic biomarkers that will predict these cardiac stem cell alterations and correlate with functional deficits of the heart.

 

Keywords:
Cardiac stem cells; Cardiovascular function; Developmental toxicology; Environmental toxicology; Biomarkers;

Eligibility

Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens and permanent residents
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral and Senior applicants
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