Sep 11, 2020: Pollutants concentrate in the fetal portion of the placenta

Fall 2020 Seminar Series (ENV 847-S/PHARM 847-S)

Duke Integrated Toxicology & Environmental Health Program

Friday, September 11, 2020, 12:00 – 1:15 pm

*Live Zoom Presentation. Register HERE to receive Zoom link!*

MATTHEW RUIS, Ph.D. CANDIDATEMatthew Ruis, PhD Candidate

Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment

Pollutants concentrate in the fetal portion of the placenta: Implications for thyroid hormone regulation

The placenta is an ephemeral organ composed of both maternally- and fetally-derived tissues separated by a semi-permeable membrane that facilitates the exchange of nutrients, gases, hormones and waste between the mother and fetus. Numerous studies have shown that this barrier is permeable to environmental pollutants such as flame retardants (FRs), which are ubiquitously detected in human serum, breast milk & cord blood. Furthermore, several studies have shown a correlation between FRs and thyroid hormone dysfunction. Using in vitro, in vivo, and ex vivo models, we investigated the tissue-specific accumulation FRs, their impact on thyroid hormone regulation, and the mechanism by which FRs are transferred from maternal serum to the fetus.


BIOGRAPHY: Matthew Ruis is a 6th year PhD Candidate in the Integrated Toxicology and Environmental Health Program here at Duke. After completing his undergrad at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY, where he majored in Environmental Science and minored in Biology, he joined Heather Stapleton’s Lab in the Nicholas School of the Environment. His dissertation is highly interdisciplinary, ranging from environmental chemistry to reproductive biology. More specifically, his research focuses on tissue-specific accumulation of environmental contaminants in the placenta and their ability to disrupt thyroid hormone regulation during pregnancy. He also looks at the role transporters in the placenta play in mediating the transfer of environmental contaminants from the mother to the fetus during development.


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