Diabetes is an excellent example of how environmental factors interact with susceptibility genes leading to poor clinical outcomes. The Hispanic population is particularly affected by the diabetes epidemic, but this predisposition is poorly understood. Glucose levels or glycated hemoglobin (HbA1C) do not successfully predict all individuals at risk of diabetes or diabetes complications.
Mechanisms of cell death are usually classified into two pathways, apoptosis and oncosis/necrosis. Necrosis/oncosis typically occurs in response to toxic injury, including that induced by chemical exposure and reactive oxygen species (ROS). In contrast to apoptosis, oncosis is characterized by cell and organelle swelling that eventually leads to the loss of plasma membrane integrity. The generation of ROS has been implicated in the pathogenesis of renal ischemia/reperfusion injury, and many other pathological conditions.
The unique environment of the Southwest involves extraordinarily high levels of ultraviolet light exposure, leading to degenerative conditions in skin and to skin cancer. Center investigators are studying how environmental factors and micronutrients modulate UV damage.
Pre-college Interns get Head start for Science Careers
- Wong: Developed several microfluidic and single cell biosensor technologies for monitoring the dynamic response of cells under environmental insults and developing novel countermeasures for the high-risk populations.