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Principal Investigator: Keinaenen, Outi Maria
Institute Receiving Award University Of Alabama At Birmingham
Location Birmingham, AL
Grant Number R00ES034053
Funding Organization National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Award Funding Period 15 Sep 2023 to 31 Aug 2026
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): ABSTRACT CANDIDATE: The candidate is a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Zeglis at Hunter College of CUNY. Her proposed research will provide a strong foundation for independent research career following the K99 phase of this grant. Her long-term career goal is to establish a robust program in environmental pollution research utilizing molecular imaging. To achieve this, she has developed a career plan that will (1) broaden her technical and scientific skills (2) strengthen her presentation and communication skills, and cultivate her professional relationships, (3) enrich her mentoring skills, and (4) prepare her for the transition to independence. RESEARCH: The proliferation of micro- and nanoplastics in the environment is increasing at an alarming rate. Micro- and nanoplastics have been found to be persistent and ubiquitous pollutants in a variety of environments, including sea water, fresh water, soil, sewage, and air. In light of this harrowing phenomenon, the evaluation of the possible health effects of microplastic (<5 mm) and nanoplastic (<100 nm) pollutants has emerged as an unmet scientific need. The over-arching goal of this investigation is to study the biodistribution and health effects of micro- and nanoplastics in mammals using a sensitive and quantitative molecular imaging technique: positron emission tomography (PET). The exquisite sensitivity of PET is major advantage of this strategy, as it will facilitate the non-invasive tracking of micro- and nanoplastics at environmentally relevant concentrations. The specific aims are: 1) To determine the bioaccumulation and bioretention of radioplastics in mice after pulmonary and oral exposure, 2) To quantify the bioaccumulation and bioretention of radioplastics in pregnant mice after oral and pulmonary exposure, and 3) To quantify the pro-inflammatory effects of micro- and nanoplastic exposure via non-invasive approaches. ENVIRONMENT: Hunter College is known for its highly collaborative environment to facilitate interdisciplinary research efforts such as those proposed in this application. The candidate is mentored by Dr. Zeglis, a recognized inorganic radiochemist with groundbreaking work in preclinical investigations of radiopharmaceuticals. In addition, she is co-mentored by Dr. Stapleton, an environmental toxicologist who has done pioneering and innovative contributions to the plastic research. Hunter College provides a rich set of collaborative, technical and scientific resources to execute the research and career development proposed here.
Science Code(s)/Area of Science(s) Primary: 78 - Nanotoxicology
Secondary: 03 - Carcinogenesis/Cell Transformation
Publications No publications associated with this grant
Program Officer Lingamanaidu Ravichandran
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