Environmental Exposure-Induced Metabolic Disease and Gastrointestinal Damage Investigators

Obesity rates have risen dramatically over the last four decades, and along this same time frame, the use of pesticides and herbicides in the United States has increased substantially, with RoundUp being one of the most widely used herbicides in the agriculture industry since 1980. The work of this pilot grant aims to identify whether increased exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in RoundUp, increases susceptibility to metabolic disease via alterations in the gut microbiota. Our initial data indicates that high levels of glyphosate in high-fat fed mice leads to increased adiposity and weight gain. Dr. Duca’s received a pilot project, “The ability of glyphosate to promote obesity via alterations in the gut microbiota” in 2019 to continue his research on this subject.

Relevance to SWEHSC: 

Dr. Galligan’s 2019 pilot project studies the chronic exposure to inorganic arsenic (iAs) associated with a predisposition to diabetes. Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) have a 26% higher level of total urinary arsenicals, demonstrating a positive correlation between iAs exposure and diabetogenicity. The work of this pilot grant aims to define the inhibitory role of iAs on glyoxalase function. Our initial data indicates that iAs exposure results in increased methylglyoxal and exacerbation of diabetic phenotypes.

Dr. QY Zhang;s laboratory studies the function and regulation of P450 enzymes, with focuses on GI tract, which are key players in determining whether many drugs and other foreign chemicals can gain access to internal organs through the digestive tract, or whether these chemicals can cause intestinal injury. They also participate in molecular toxicology studies on the respiratory tract.

Cluster of Efforts: 

Duca, Galligan, QY Zhang