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Your Environment. Your Health.

News Items: University of California-San Diego

Superfund Research Program

Detection and Models of Toxicant Exposure

Center Director: Robert H. Tukey
Grant Number: P42ES010337
Funding Period: 2000-2022
View this project in the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT)

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News Items List

  • Triclosan and a High-fat Diet Worsen Liver Disease in Mice
    Research Brief - February 2021
    A new study funded by the NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) shows triclosan exposure, in combination with a high-fat diet, can worsen nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Led by Robert Tukey, Ph.D., researchers at the University of California San Diego SRP Center described the molecular mechanisms by which triclosan alters metabolism and gut microbiota, resulting in fat buildup in the liver.
  • SRP Centers Combat COVID-19
    SRP News Page - June 2020
    NIEHS SRP Centers across the country are contributing their expertise to respond to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. From increasing testing capacity and improving personal protective equipment to creating online tools and outreach materials, SRP researchers are fighting COVID-19 from the local to the global level.
  • Fighting COVID-19 using data science
    Environmental Factor - June 2020
    NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) grantees and in-house scientists are lending their expertise in data integration and online tool development to explore how COVID-19 spreads and why some communities experience higher risk of infection. The projects described below represent just some of the diverse research underway at SRP centers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • NRF2 activation leads to enlarged liver
    Paper of the Month - May 2020
    An NIEHS-funded study suggested that prolonged activation of a protein nuclear factor called erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2) may contribute to liver enlargement and fatty liver diseases. Normally, NRF2 plays an important role in regulating antioxidant defenses. In this study, researchers found that NRF2 also activated a protein called AKT, which is involved in glucose metabolism and other cell processes, and led to persistent production of growth factors associated with liver enlargement.
  • Plants take up heavy metals, help reduce pollution
    Environmental Factor - April 2020
    Julian Schroeder, Ph.D., visited NIEHS Feb. 24 to speak about his institute-funded research into how plants respond to environmental stress from toxic metals. The University of California at San Diego (UCSD) professor's talk was part of the Keystone Science Lecture Seminar Series.
  • Plant Testing Informs Safe Community Gardening Practices
    SRP News Page - March 2020
    In a new NIEHS-funded study, SRP Center researchers revealed elevated levels of heavy metals and arsenic in a local community garden grown on a Brownfields site. By installing raised garden beds on the site, they found that they could grow fruits and vegetables that did not accumulate contaminants.
  • How High-Fat Diets Drive Colorectal Cancer Growth
    SRP News Page - March 2019
    New research identifies a pathway that explains how high-fat diets can lead to colorectal cancer, a cancer that starts in the colon or rectum. The new findings may help explain why colorectal cancer rates are increasing in adults under 50 years old and open new possibilities for treating cancer.
  • Caspase-2 enzyme implicated in fatty liver disease
    Paper of the Month - November 2018
    NIEHS grantees discovered that a protein-cleaving enzyme known as caspase-2 is a major driver of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which is the most aggressive form of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). They reported that caspase-2 controls the buildup of cholesterol and triglycerides in liver tissue by activating sterol regulatory element binding proteins, the master regulators of fatty tissue formation in the liver.
  • Researchers Pinpoint Molecule Fueling Liver Cancer Development
    Research Brief - August 2018
    New research out of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center explains how liver cells with DNA damage manage to survive and divide, fueling liver cancer. The study highlights the importance of a family of molecules called CD44 proteins, which are located on the surface of cells.
  • How carcinogens turn liver cells into cancer cells
    Paper of the Month - August 2018
    A new study by NIEHS grantees and colleagues explains how DNA damage to liver cells can potentially lead to liver cancer. The researchers looked at CD44 proteins, which are located on the cell surface and are involved in binding with other molecules. They found that CD44 proteins may play a role in overriding the body's natural protective response to DNA damage.
  • Distinguished Lecture Highlights Mechanisms of Liver Cancer
    SRP News Page - June 2018
    In a May 15 seminar at NIEHS, Michael Karin, Ph.D., detailed the sequence of molecular changes in the liver that eventually lead to liver cancer. Karin, a Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology and Pathology at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine, is part of the UCSD Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center.
  • Distinguished Lecture highlights mechanisms of liver cancer
    Environmental Factor - June 2018
    NIEHS Distinguished Lecturer Michael Karin, Ph.D., began his presentation by saying the war on cancer has been successful- except when it comes to liver cancer. According to estimates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. has seen a significant reduction in mortality from organ-specific cancers in the past 30 years. Nonetheless, the nation s incidence of liver cancer tripled during the same time, with a three percent increase each year. Karin wants to know why liver cancer is the outlier. Could what Americans eat be responsible?
  • Chronic Inflammation Suppresses Immune Cells that Fight Liver Cancer
    Research Brief - February 2018
    Researchers at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) showed that chronic liver inflammation can promote cancer by suppressing one of the body's natural mechanisms to fight cancer development. The study, funded in part by the Superfund Research Program (SRP), explains the success of some types of cancer immunotherapy and suggests novel targets for new therapies.
  • New tumor-promoting pathway for liver cancer discovered
    Paper of the Month - January 2018
    A new study from NIEHS grantees showed that chronic liver inflammation can promote cancer by suppressing one of the body's natural mechanisms to fight cancer development. The discovery of this new tumor-promoting pathway could lead to new liver cancer treatments.
  • Inflammation promotes liver cancer through battle of immune cells
    Environmental Factor - December 2017
    Researchers at the University of California San Diego (UCSD), funded in part by NIEHS, reported a new mechanism by which long-term liver inflammation promotes cancer. The study, published Nov. 8 in the journal Nature, explains the success of some types of cancer immunotherapy and suggests novel targets for new therapies.
  • NIEHS Distinguished Lecture Series Features SRP Grantee
    SRP News Page - February 2017
    During an NIEHS Distinguished Lecture on February 7, Ronald Evans, Ph.D., discussed how a large family of molecules discovered in his lab, called nuclear hormone receptors, respond to hormones, lipids, vitamins, and xenobiotics, and how they can be used as targets to treat disease.
  • UCSD Professor and Nobel Prize Winner Roger Tsien Dies
    SRP News Page - September 2016
    Roger Tsien, Ph.D., a biochemist at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and founding member of the UCSD Superfund Research Program Center since 2000, died on August 24 in Oregon. He was 64.
  • Identifying Mechanisms for Regulating Gas Exchange in Plants
    Research Brief - August 2016
    Superfund Research Program (SRP) researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) are identifying important mechanisms that plants use to respond to changes in the environment. They recently discovered molecular mechanisms that enhance the activity of proteins essential to closing stomata, or pores found on the surface of leaves, in response to environmental stressors.
  • Possible new marker and therapeutic target for liver cancer
    Paper of the Month - August 2016
    High levels of the protein p62 in human liver samples are associated with cancer recurrence and reduced patient survival, according to a new study by NIEHS-funded researchers. The researchers also found that p62, a protein known to recognize cellular waste that needs to be degraded, is required to induce liver cancer in mice.
  • A key protein implicated in control of inflammation
    Environmental Factor - March 2016
    A protein known as p62 is central to regulating inflammation in the body, to avoid excessive damage while eliminating infectious agents and toxic chemicals, said NIEHS-funded researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), in a study published Feb. 25 in the journal Cell.
  • Pezzoli Receives UC System President's Award
    SRP News Page - December 2015
    Keith Pezzoli, Ph.D., from the University of California (UC) San Diego, received an Award for Outstanding Faculty Leadership in Presidential Initiatives from Janet Napolitano, J.D., president of the UC system.
  • Newly Discovered Cells Regenerate Liver Tissue Without Forming Tumors
    Research Brief - September 2015
    The mechanisms that allow the liver to repair and regenerate itself have long been a matter of debate. Now researchers, through the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center, have discovered a population of liver cells that are better at regenerating liver tissue than ordinary liver cells, or hepatocytes.
  • Newly discovered cells repair liver without cancer risk
    Environmental Factor - September 2015
    The liver is unique among organs for its ability to regenerate after being damaged. The repair mechanism remained controversial until recently, when researchers funded by NIEHS discovered a type of cell responsible for the process.
  • Crossing Geographic and Discipline Borders at the PBC Meeting
    SRP News Page - August 2015
    The NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) and the Center for Global Health at the National Cancer Institute were among the cosponsors of the 16th International Conference of the Pacific Basin Consortium for Environment and Health (PBC), held August 10-13 at the University of Indonesia.
  • A Community Garden as a Living Laboratory
    SRP News Page - April 2015
    On March 24, Superfund Research Program (SRP) staff members visited the Ocean View Community Garden in San Diego. SRP scientists from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), are working with local residents to transform a vacant lot into a community garden.
  • Triclosan promotes liver tumor growth in mice, say SRP researchers
    Environmental Factor - January 2015
    A collaborative study performed by NIEHS-funded scientists from the University of California (UC) San Diego and UC Davis showed that long-term exposure to triclosan promotes the growth of liver tumors in laboratory mice, raising concerns about its safety for humans. 
  • Bioregional planning to improve public and environmental health
    Environmental Factor - November 2014
    Disease doesn’t stop at national boundaries, presenting unique international challenges. A new framework, called One Bioregion/One Health, provides an approach to transboundary regional planning that considers relationships between people and nature in the quest for healthier living spaces.
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