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Your Environment. Your Health.

Baylor College of Medicine

Superfund Research Program

Research Support Core

Project Leader: Dean Edwards
Co-Investigators: Shixia Huang, Sung Yun Jung, Daniel Kraushaar, Nagireddy Putluri
Grant Number: P42ES027725
Funding Period: 2020-2025

Project Summary (2020-2025)

The Research Support Core (RSC) provides a wide range of high-quality quantitative analytical technology platforms spanning metabolomics, epigenomics, transcriptomics, and proteomics. The RSC leader is Dr. Dean P. Edwards, executive director of the Advanced Technology Cores at Baylor College of Medication (BCM). The RSC co-leader is Dr. Nagireddy Putluri, who also serves as director of the Metabolomics Core and is a recognized leader in mass spectrometry-based metabolomics profiling. The RSC has the following specific aims:

  1. Effectively support the Superfund projects with cutting-edge quantitative multi-omics technologies. Available core technologies include mass spectrometry-based targeted and unbiased metabolomics, unbiased proteomic profiling by mass spectrometry, targeted proteomics by antibody-based reverse phase protein array (RPPA), and genomics platforms such as whole genome sequencing, transcriptomics by RNA-seq, smallRNA sequencing and epigenetics by ChIP-Seq. RSC support includes intellectual input from faculty-level core directors for consultation and experimental design, hosting of advanced instrumentation, executing state-of-the-art analytical procedures by research staff of cores, and processing and analysis of "omics" datasets. RSC technology platforms are used primarily in the Investigating the Role of PAH Exposures Associated with Superfund Site Proximity in Preterm Birth Etiology Through Placental Transcriptomics and Metagenomics and Role of Cytochrome P450 (CYP)1A/1B1 Enzymes in the Potentiation of Neonatal Lung Injury in Newborn Mice Exposed Prenatally to PAHs and Increased Risk of Premature Infants to Chronic Lung Disease projects to identify biomarkers and molecular signatures of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) exposures associated with preterm birth (PTB) and to define the molecular mechanisms underlying the potentiating effects of PAH and its derivatives on chronic lung disease / bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) and neurobehavioral deficits in experimental models and in human studies. The metabolomics core will additionally be instrumental for measuring and quantification of PAH and its metabolites by GC-MS as a standard for development of more sensitive and less sophisticated assays in the Streamlined Identification of PAHs/PACs in Environmental Samples Using Ultracompact Spectroscopy Platforms and Machine Learning Strategies and Investigating the Role of PAH Exposures Associated with Superfund Site Proximity in Preterm Birth Etiology Through Placental Transcriptomics and Metagenomics projects.
  2. Continuously work with project leaders and investigators to develop, validate, and deploy novel methods during the course of the grant that are not currently standard core procedures. This initially includes MS identification of novel PAH derivatives and metabolites and unbiased metabolomics profiling, epigenetic profiling of histone modifications and chromatin modifying enzymes by RPPA, genome-wide DNA methylation by bisulfite sequencing, and Redox proteomics by MS methods.
  3. Train investigators in designing, executing, and interpreting results of the state-of-the-art analytical techniques conducted by the RSC. This is accomplished by providing tutorials, workshops, and some hands-on opportunities for principal investigators of the Superfund grant and their postdoctoral and graduate student trainees.

The goal of the RSC is to provide cutting-edge technical and the highest quality scientific solutions available for the Superfund investigators for use in their aims of understanding PAH exposures at molecular mechanistic and genetic levels.

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