Donna Zhang

Research

The SWEHSC plays an important role in stimulating collaborative interactions among researchers. This is evidenced by a significant number of new, funded research projects, as well as a notable number of planned initiatives involving collaborations. The SWEHSC promotes and enhances collaborative research within and between the members through Research Focus Groups.

The themes of the three Research Focus Groups are seen below:

UA Science Internship Pairs High School Students, Research Mentors

Each year many SWEHSC researchers host high school students in their laboratories. Facility managers assits them process their samples and understand their data. SWEHSC members teach them about toxicology and environmental health. The program was designed by the SWEHSC Outreach Core and is conducted in collaboration with the BIO5 Instutue. Read more about this year's program

Cinnamon-Based Nrf2 Activation Targeting Arsenic-Potentiation of Solar Skin Carcinogenesis

The overall NIEHS-directed project (R01-application Zhang/Wondrak; co-PIs) tests feasibility of Nrf2-directed intervention blocking arsenic potentiation of solar skin carcinogenesis, employing topical and dietary administration of the cinnamon constituent cinnamaldehyde (CA).  The pilot project was designed to generate strong preliminary experimental evidence in human skin reconstructs and mouse skin confirming feasibility of cutaneous Nrf2 upregulation using topical CA and supporting CA-based suppression of photocarcinogenesis in a SKH1-Nrf2 wt mouse model.

Stress Response, p97, and Nrf2 in Arsenic-Mediated Toxicity

With pilot project funds we were able to collect sufficient preliminary data to successfully compete for an R01 (ES023758). The preliminary data collected were able to show p97 is directly affected by arsenic. In particular, the ATPase rate of p97 is increased in the presence of arsenic. This was meaningful because a series of genetic lesions has been shown to cause an increase in p97 ATPase activity, which leads to a compromise of autophagy.

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