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On Friday, September 29, at 12:00 pm in Environment Hall’s Field Auditorium, Dr. Andrea Baccarelli will present a talk entitled “Mitochondriomics and Epigenetics in Human Air Pollution Studies – New Findings and Methodological Challenges.” Dr. Baccarelli serves as the Environmental Health Sciences Department Chair and the Director of the Laboratory of Precision Environmental Biosciences at Columbia University. His research explores epigenetic and molecular mechanisms as potential functional pathways linking exposures to environmental pollutants to human disease.
Please see the abstract for his talk below:
The amount of scientific research linking environmental exposures and human health outcomes continues to grow; yet few studies have teased out the mechanisms involved in environmentally-induced diseases. Cells can respond to environmental stressors in many ways: inducing oxidative stress/inflammation, changes in energy production and epigenetic alterations. Mitochondria, tiny organelles that each retains their own DNA, are exquisitely sensitive to environmental insults and are thought to be central players in these pathways. While it is intuitive that mitochondria play an important role in disease processes, given that every cell of our body is dependent on energy metabolism, it is less clear how environmental exposures impact mitochondrial mechanisms that may lead to enhanced risk of disease. My presentation will highlight (i) the importance of exploring environmental mitochondriomics in environmental health sciences, (ii) why environmental mitochondriomics is well suited to biomarker development in this context, and (iii) how molecular and epigenetic changes in mitochondria and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) may reflect exposures linked to human health outcomes.