Upcoming Event: Provocative Question Forum: Nanotech and Consumer Products

The Museum of Science, Boston (BU SRP RTC partner) presents:

Provocative Question Forum: Nanotech and Consumer Products

Thursday, March 19 | 7:00 PM | Free

Stain-resistant pants. Odor-proof socks. Anti-bacterial toothpaste. Nanotechnology is addressing some of society's most pressing problems — energy, clean water, computing, and medicine — and now is moving outside the laboratory to the marketplace. Thousands of consumer products, such as sunscreens, cosmetics, textiles, washing machines, car wax, and adhesive bandages, are already available through nanotechnology. However, unlike medications and nano-materials used in carefully controlled laboratory research studies, these products are largely unregulated.

Join us with Sam Lipson of the Cambridge Public Heath Department for this free forum. Share your opinions and recommendations! This program will inform a future component of the Hall of Human Life exhibition at the Museum of Science.

Learn More | Register Online


Upcoming Pardee Center Seminar: Chemicals, Products, and Health: Global Challenges

The next lunchtime seminar sponsored by the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future is titled “Chemicals, Products, and Health: Global Challenges” and will take place Thursday, March 19 at Pardee House, 67 Bay State Road. The seminar will run from 12 noon to 1:30 pm. Lunch will be available starting at 11:30.

Research shows that chemicals commonly used in manufacturing and consumer products are associated with multiple, serious health issues. Policies, regulations, and practices concerning such chemicals vary significantly among countries, having important implications for public health protection as well as transnational supply chain management and the international marketing of products. This seminar explores health issues, business dilemmas, and governance challenges associated with the production and use of hazardous chemicals in a global marketplace.

Featured speakers include BU SPH Prof. Wendy Heiger-Bernays (BU SRP RTC Leader), Mark Rossi (Co-director, Clean Production Action and BizNGO), and Pardee Faculty Fellow Henrik Selin (Pardee School of Global Studies), who will moderate the session.

The seminar will be webcast live as well as videotaped and archived in the multimedia section of the Pardee Center's website.  Check this post again on March 19 for the link to the livestream of the seminar.

Please RSVP here by Monday, March 16.


Neel Aluru receives Outstanding New Environmental Scientist Award

Congratulations to Neelakanteswar (Neel) Aluru, who recently received a ONES (Outstanding New Environmental Scientist) award from NIH's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). Neel has been working with Project 4 for several years, first as a postdoc and most recently as a collaborator in his position as an Assistant Scientist in the Biology Department at WHOI. The RFA states "The Outstanding New Environmental Scientist (ONES) Award is intended to identify the most talented Early Stage Investigators (ESIs) who intend to make a long-term commitment to research in the Environmental Health Sciences and assist them in launching an innovative research program focused on the understanding of environmental exposure effects on people’s health." 

The project title is  "Role of de novo DNMTs in Toxicant Induced Alterations in DNA Methylation" is a 5-year, $2.05M grant for research.  The research proposed by Neel in this project will provide new understanding of the role of DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) enzymes in the mechanisms of epigenetic changes induced by exposure to environmental chemicals.  The studies will use zebrafish as a model system, and the results will be relevant both for human health as well as the health of vertebrate animals (including marine vertebrates) exposed to environmental chemicals. Read more in the WHOI press release and in the March 2015 Environmental Factor story "NIEHS funds six early-career researchers for innovative science"

Neel's BU SRP Project 4 papers:

Aluru, N., Karchner, S.I., Franks, D.G., Nacci, D., Champlin, D., Hahn, M.E., 2015. Targeted mutagenesis of aryl hydrocarbon receptor 2a and 2b genes in Atlantic killifish (Fundulus heteroclitus). Aquat Toxicol 158, 192-201.

Aluru, N., Karchner, S.I., Hahn, M.E., 2011. Role of DNA methylation of AHR1 and AHR2 promoters in differential sensitivity to PCBs in Atlantic Killifish, Fundulus heteroclitus. Aquat Toxicol 101, 288-294.


RESCHEDULED: Upcoming Society for Risk Analysis seminar on fish models and PCBs

The Society for Risk Analysis New England Chapter (SRA-NE), an organizational partner of the Research Translation Core, will be hosting a seminar entitled "Using Small Fish Models to study the Mechanisms and Effects of PCBs" on Wednesday, April 29th in L-301 on the BU Medical Campus. Refreshments will be served at 5:00pm and the presentations followed by discussion will begin at 5:30pm on the BU Medical Campus. The event will feature presentation from Dr. John Stegeman (Project 5) of BUSRP and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. An abstract of the upcoming seminar is found below.  Students and SRP colleagues are encouraged to attend!  More information is available here. To register for the event, please contact Aylin Sertkaya aylin.sertkaya [at]


Animal models have long been used to identify and understand how chemicals contribute to disease processes. Over the past 15 years, efforts involving small fish models have focused most on the zebrafish, but there is renewed interest in other species including the estuarine killifish Fundulus heteroclitis. Fish models are helping to decipher the molecular mechanisms by which dioxins and dioxin-like chemicals including non-ortho polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) cause toxicity, especially during development, and to uncover mechanisms of resistance to that toxicity. But what about the non-dioxin-like (NDL) ortho-PCBs? Our understanding of the toxicity and the mechanisms by which these chemicals are toxic is still fragmentary. Do ortho-PCBs have similar effects in mammals and fish? Can small fish provide insights into such mechanisms, as they have for the dioxin-like compounds? Our gene expression studies with ortho-PCBs in zebrafish are highlighting pathways of response to the NDL PCBs, including induction of P450s via the pregnane X receptor (PXR), as yet a poorly understood participant in NDL-chemical effects in fish. Our studies also point to novel molecular targets that may participate in causing the neurobehavioral effects of NDL PCBs. In the killifish, our results suggest that multigenerational exposure to very high levels of NDL PCBs causes adaptation by altering the function of calcium channels. This raises questions about whether structurally similar persistent environmental chemicals may cause similar effects. We should soon better understand the similarities and differences involved in different species’ responses to NDL compounds.

Affiliated Institutions

The Superfund Research Program at Boston University

Supported with funding from the
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences' Superfund Research Program

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