PhD, Duke University, 2011
BS, Aquinas College, 2005
I am examining the molecular mechanisms of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)-induced teratogenesis in zebrafish. I have shown that the aryl hydrocarbon receptor 2 (AHR2) not only mediates expression of genes containing xenobiotic response elements (XREs) but also expression of genes known to contain antioxidant response elements, as morpholino gene knockdown of AHR2 prevents the upregulation of these genes that is caused by PAH exposure. I have also shown that glutathione s-transferase pi 2 (GSTp2), which conjugates glutathione with intermediate PAH metabolites, plays a protective role in PAH but not PCB toxicity.
I am currently focusing on the role of AHR1 isoforms (zebrafish have three known AHRs, AHR1A, AHR1B, and AHR2) in PAH-induced toxicity. I have shown that knockdown of AHR1A exacerbates toxicity; this is contradictory to the effect of AHR2 knockdown, which provides protection from PAH, PCB, and dioxin toxicity. I am also analyzing microarray data to elucidate heart-specific aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR)-dependent and independent genes involved in PAH mixture toxicity.