Previous Events

Developmental Origins of Non-Communicable Diseases: Role of Environmental Exposures

Wednesday, April 9, 2014; HSPH FXB G13; 12:30-1:20
Jerry Heindel, PhD; Scientific Program Administrator, Population Health Branch, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Dr. Heindel earned his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Michigan and worked in the area of reproductive biology and toxicology while on the faculty at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston and the University of Mississippi before coming to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health (NIEHS) to head their reproductive and developmental toxicology group. Twenty years ago, he moved to the Division of Extramural Research and Training at NIEHS, where as a scientific program administrator he is responsible for designing, developing, administering, and assessing the impact of the NIEHS grants programs in endocrine disruptors, developmental basis of diseases, reproductive toxicology, and obesity/diabetes. He is also the coordinator for the virtual consortium of researchers studying the effects of BPA.

Assessing the Body Burden of Environmental Chemicals and Nutrition on Liver Health Using Weighted Quantile Sum Regression

Tuesday, February 11, 2014; HSPH Kresge 502; 12:30-1:20
Chris Gennings, PhD; Professor of Biostatistics and Director of the Research Incubator at the Center for Clinical and Translational Research, Virginia Commonwealth University

As the rate of obesity continues to reach staggering levels, diseases that are associated with obesity are also on the rise. One such disease is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is also referred to as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) in more severe cases. Environmental chemicals have been associated with an increase in liver damage as measured by serum ALT (alanine aminotransferase), a diagnostic biomarker for NAFLD. The research objective is to investigate the potential impact improved nutrition may have on mitigating the effect of environmental toxins on liver health. Both environmental chemicals and nutrients are complex mixtures of highly correlated components, making standard regression strategies problematic. This talk will demonstrate the use of weighted quantile sum (WQS) regression to identify sets of environmental toxins and nutrients associated with changes in ALT. Characteristics of WQS regression will be described and compared to other variable selection methods (lasso, adaptive lasso, and elastic net) through simulation studies.

Developmental Dioxin Exposure Disrupts Reproductive Function Over Multiple Generations

Thursday, January 16, 2014; HSPH Kresge 502; 12:30-1:20
Kevin Osteen, PhD; Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, Pierre Soupart Chair in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center; Adjunct Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Meharry Medical College

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this presentation, participants should be able to 1) give specific examples of experimental data revealing transgenerational effects of early life toxicant exposure on reproductive success; and 2) describe the role of inflammation in toxicant-mediated disruption of fertility and pregnancy outcomes.

Kevin Osteen came to Vanderbilt University School of Medicine as an instructor in obstetrics and gynecology in 1983. He is currently a professor of obstetrics and gynecology, a professor of pathology, and the director of the Women’s Reproductive Health Research Center. In 2013, Dr. Osteen was awarded an endowed chair named for the renowned scientist and Vanderbilt professor, Dr. Pierre Soupart, a pioneer in in vitro fertilization.

Professor Osteen maintains an active research program and has served on numerous study sections at the National Institutes of Health. He has frequently served as an adviser to both biotechnology and large pharmaceutical companies, and he directs the International Endometriosis Association Research Program at Vanderbilt. His current research interests include developmental reproductive toxicology, endometrial function, and the pathophysiology of reproductive tract disease.

Workshop: Tools for Creative Thinking in Science, Research, and Medicine

Thursday, November 14, 2013; HSPH Kresge 204; 12:30-2:30
Rodney Dietert, PhD; Professor of Immunotoxicology in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University

When are LEGO® bricks not just for kids? When they are a valuable problem-solving tool for your scientific research. Overcoming roadblocks during a research career can be a challenge particularly when you are using the same set of tools that got you into the roadblock in the first place. Traditional research training often emphasizes linear approaches and the value of greater focus and harder work. Yet, history tells us that many of the most remarkable scientific breakthroughs occur when our attention has been diverted. Nonlinear approaches to problem solving provide additional avenues for the budding researcher. This workshop on enhancing creativity in scientific research will provide lecture material and hands-on exercises including the use of play, meditation, sleep, music, dance, art, improv, language, and body adjustments, concept maps, synchronicity, and strategies for becoming the observer of your own research progress.

Dr. Rodney Dietert has taught the course, “Tools for a Lifelong Career in Research,” published the book, Science Sifting: Tools for Innovation in Science and Technology, and led sold-out workshops on building and maintaining meaningful research careers that incorporate creativity into the investigative process. Don’t miss this opportunity to take part in this free, hands-on workshop to explore how you can incorporate creativity into your research career.

Prenatal Exposure to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals, Male Reproductive Health, and Obesity

Thursday, November 7, 2013; HSPH 1-1302; 12:30-1:20
Tina Kold Jensen, MD, PhD; Professor of Environmental Medicine, University of Southern Denmark

Learning Objectives: Participants will be able to 1) describe how development is a sensitive window for later development of obesity and reproductive disorders; 2) explain that exposure to endocrine disruptors in low doses during development may promote early obesity and metabolic disorders in adult life; 3) discuss the methodological challenges in the analysis and interpretation of these data; and 4) explain that these chemicals, including plasticizers, solvents, and lubricants, are widely used in manufacturing of consumer products such as children’s toys, medical equipment, sunscreen, cosmetics, building materials, hard plastics, protective coatings of clothes, furniture, non-stick cookware, and food packaging.

Environmental Epigenomics: Methods and Tools to Investigate Environmental Programming of Health and Disease

Monday, September 16, 2013; HSPH FXB G12; 12:30-1:20
Andrea Baccarelli, MD, MPH, PhD; Mark and Catherine Winkler Associate Professor of Environmental Epigenetics, Harvard School of Public Health

Epigenetics investigates heritable changes in gene expression that occur without changes in DNA sequence. Several epigenetic mechanisms, including DNA methylation and histone modifications, can change genome function under exogenous influence. Results obtained from animal models indicate that in utero or early-life environmental exposures produce effects that can be inherited transgenerationally and are accompanied by epigenetic alterations. The search for human equivalents of the epigenetic mechanisms identified in animal models is in progress.

I will present evidence from human environmental studies indicating that epigenetic alterations may mediate effects caused by exposure to environmental toxicants. In these investigations, we have shown that environmental exposures, including air pollution, lead, arsenic, nickel, and PAHs, are associated with altered methylation of human repetitive elements or genes. In recent preliminary studies, we have shown alterations of histone modifications and miRNAs in subjects exposed to metal-rich airborne particles. I will present original data demonstrating that altered DNA methylation in blood and other tissues is associated with environmentally-induced disease, such as cardiovascular disease and asthma. On the basis of current evidence, I will propose possible models for the interplay between environmental toxicants and the human epigenome.

Seminar Recording:

Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals, Inflammation, and Comorbid Chronic Disease

Tuesday, February 5, 2013; HSPH Kresge 502; 12:30-1:20
Rodney Dietert, PhD; Professor of Immunotoxicology in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University

Rodney Dietert is Professor of Immunotoxicology in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY and has served on the Cornell faculty for 35 years. He has held the posts of Director of the Institute for Comparative and Environmental Toxicology (ICET), Director of Graduate Studies for the Graduate Field of Immunology, Senior Fellow in the Cornell Center for the Environment and Director of the Cornell Program on Breast Cancer and Environmental Risk Factors (BCERF). Dietert’s research concerning health risks and the developing immune system has produced more than 300 publications including three books and over 180 research papers divided among 60 scientific journals. He has served on advisory panels for the NIH, the DOD, the IOM, the EPA, the USDA and the WHO. Presently he is editor of the books series Molecular and Integrated Toxicology for Springer.

Dietert’s most recent Cornell initiative involves instruction in tools to enhance creativity and innovation in science and research. Information is provided via a new course, seminars, half-day workshops, and a forthcoming textbook.

Seminar Recording:

Toxic Flame Retardants and Public Health: A Global Concern

Tuesday, March 6, 2012; HSPH Kresge G2 ; 12:30-1:20
Arlene Blum, PhD; Visiting Scholar in Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley; Executive Director, Green Science Policy Institute

Participants will be able to 1) explain why our government does not protect us from known toxics in consumer products; 2) discuss whether the benefit of flame retardants in consumer products justifies the health harm; 3) explain why organohalogens should not be used in consumer products; and 4) explain how bringing peer-reviewed science to decision makers can protect health.

Seminar Recording:

Low Dose Environmental Exposures and Fetal Health

Tuesday, January 31, 2012; HSPH Kresge 502; 12:30-1:20
Larissa Takser, MD, PhD; Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Université de Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada

Participants will be able to 1) discuss the potential health effects related to low dose environmental exposures during in utero life with a special focus on brominated flame retardants; and 2) evaluate currently used research and policy approaches in regards to low dose exposures to environmental chemicals.

Obesogens, Stem Cells and the Maternal Programming of Obesity

Wednesday, November 30, 2011; HSPH FXB G13; 12:30-2:00
Bruce Blumberg, PhD; Professor, Departments of Developmental and Cell Biology and Pharmaceutical Science, University of California, Irvine

Participants will be able to: 1) describe the link between developmental programming and subsequent chronic disease such as obesity, 2) explain what obesogens are, 3) describe the nature and extent of the evidence for the existence of obesogens, and 4) discuss the variety of mechanisms through which obesogens might act to alter stem cell programming.

PFOA* Contamination in the Mid-Ohio Valley and Reproductive Health Outcomes

Monday, October 3, 2011; HSPH FXB G13; 12:30-2:00
David Savitz, PhD; Professor, Departments of Epidemiology and Obstetrics and Gynecology, Brown University

Before Dr. Savitz joined the faculty at Brown University in August 2010, he had held faculty appointments at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, the University of North Carolina, and Mount Sinai Medical Center. His current positions at Brown University include Professor of Epidemiology, and he is the associate director for perinatal research at Women & Infants Hospital in Providence, RI.

Dr. Savitz has published on a variety of issues associated with pregancy, fertility, and reproductive outcomes, including smoking, stress, drinking water disinfection by-products, and serum levels of perfluorooctanoic acid. His research is at the intersection of environmental exposures and pregnancy, and research outcomes that are relevant to policy applications. Dr. Savitz was elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies in 2007.

*Perfluorooctanoic Acid

Theories of Carcinogenesis: Exclusivity or Compromises?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Carlos Sonnenschein, MD; Professor of Anatomy & Cellular Biology, Sackler School of Biomedical Sciences, Tufts University

Thyroid Disruption

Monday, December 14, 2009; HSPH FXB G13; 12:00-2:00
Tom Zoeller, PhD; Professor of Biology, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Breast Cancer, Bisphenol A, and DES

Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Ana Soto, MD; Professor of Anatomy & Cellular Biology, Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, Tufts University
Kat Coser; Massachusetts General Hospital
Julie Palmer, MPH, ScD; Professor of Epidemiology, Boston University School of Public Health

Research Results from Both Animal and Epidemiologic Studies Regarding Environmental Obesogens

Thursday, October 30, 2008
Jessica Nelson; Doctoral Student, Boston University
Jane Burns, ScD; Research Scientist, Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health
Elizabeth Hatch, MS, PhD; Professor of Epidemiology, Boston University School of Public Health
Beverly Rubin, PhD; Associate Professor of Anatomy & Cellular Biology, Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, Tufts University

The Male Predicament: The Role of the Environment

Thursday, April 10, 2008
Theo Colborn, MA, PhD;  Founder and President of The Endocrine Disruption Exchange; Professor Emeritus of Zoology at the University of Florida, Gainesville; Author of Our Stolen Future

Organizational Meeting

Wednesday, December 5, 2007