Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship Program

"Assessing genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of the developmental origin of cancer associated with exposure to environmental chemical contaminants"

About the Project

Project Time & Type:
Full-Year 2018 - CPIP
Research area(s):
Endocrine disruption, molecular and environmental toxicology, cancer, melanoma, epigenetics
Project Description:
Over 10,000 chemicals are used in commerce today in our society. Most of these chemicals have limited to no toxicity information available, limiting knowledge distribution on potential adverse health impacts to the public when environmental exposure occurs. Ongoing studies in the Freeman laboratory are investigating the immediate toxic effects of a developmental exposure to environmental chemicals and the later in life impacts of the developmental exposure on disease pathogenesis including cancer. Studies are using the zebrafish model system as a tool to define the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of toxicity. Current projects are assessing an endocrine disrupting herbicide that commonly contaminates drinking water supplies in the Midwestern U.S., perfluoroalkyl substances, metals, and other emerging chemical contaminants. Furthermore, as environmental chemical exposures are generally not limited to a single chemical, studies are also identifying toxicity profiles of chemical mixtures. The overall goal of these studies is to provide further information pertinent to the evaluation of the risk of carcinogenicity associated with exposure to these environmental chemicals to inform regulatory decisions and prevent cancer and other diseases.
Expected Student Contributions:
The student will actively participate in collecting and analyzing research data including genomics, targeted gene and protein expression, epigenetics, and morphological/histological endpoints.
Related Website(s):
Desired Qualifications:
GPA 3.0 or greater with some background in biology, chemistry, biochemistry, and genetics.
Estimated Weekly Hours:
Department awards independent research credits for this project?
Yes, 2 credit hours

Professor in Charge

Freeman, Jennifer
School of Health Sciences

Student Supervisor

Jennifer Freeman
Associate Professor

Cooperating Faculty

Marisol Sepulveda
Forestry and Natural Resources