GIS-based Pesticide Exposures, Biologic Signatures, and Parkinson’s Disease in California
December 7th @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Department of Epidemiology Seminar Series
Beate Ritz, MD, PhD
Professor, Departments of Epidemiology and Environmental Health Sciences, Fielding School of Public Health, University of California Los Angeles
This talk will present an overview over challenges and opportunities faced in epidemiologic studies of chronic diseases that require long-term environmental exposures assessment. To illustrate this, I will present results from a case-control study of Parkinson’s disease (PD) in California’s central valley that we conducted at UCLA over the past two decades. This study assessed PD risk due to ambient and occupational pesticide exposures, modeled gene-environment (GxE) interactions, and identified biomarkers of long-term environmental exposure. Specifically, we will discuss how we built exposures histories using surveys, geographic information system (GIS) tools and pesticide use reporting, and developed and applied novel biomarkers of long-term exposure. This will also show how GxE and omics-based analyses can be used to interrogate the validity of different exposure measures and how agricultural pesticide use assessed with GIS tools can be combined with information gained from bio-fluid sampling in epidemiologic studies to generate exposure signals in biological systems such as metabolomic, methylation, and gut microbiome signatures. The combination of such varied data sources helped us to identify physiologic responses to chronic pesticide exposures and suggested biologic mechanisms by which low-level chronic exposures may contribute to neurodegenerative brain disorders in real world exposure scenarios.