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The Epitranscriptome as a Novel Mechanism in Environmental Health: Evidence from Human Populations

Seminar speaker, Dr. Allison Kupsco.
Friday, October 06, 2023
12:00 pm - 1:15 pm
Allison Kupsco, PhD, Columbia University
Integrated Toxicology & Environmental Health Seminar Series

Although epigenetics has long been recognized as a key regulator of health and disease, the emerging field of epitranscriptomics seeks to characterize chemical modifications made to RNA. N6-methyladenosine (m6A) is the most prevalent epitranscriptomic modification on messenger RNA (mRNA) and modulates mRNA splicing, stability, and translation. Recent biomedical and toxicological research suggests that the m6A epitranscriptome plays a key role in the stress response and is uniquely susceptible to environmental toxicants. This seminar will discuss the m6A epitranscriptome and how it can be applied to human population studies to address key questions related to mechanisms and biomarkers of environmental health.

About the speaker: Dr. Kupsco is an environmental toxicologist and epidemiologist whose work spans from the wet lab to data analysis. With a background in aquatic toxicology, she went on to complete a postdoc under Dr. Andrea Baccarelli at Columbia University where she acquired training in environmental epidemiology and biomarkers of human population studies. Today, Dr. Kupsco's wet lab centers around the development and optimization of novel omics biomarkers for environmental health studies, including small noncoding RNAs, RNA modifications, mitochondria, and DNA methylation. In collaboration with several birth cohorts, her work seeks to address the role of epigenetic biomarkers in prenatal determinants of children's health. Her data analyses focus primarily on investigating associations between environmental mixtures and childhood cardiometabolic phenotypes, including metals, flame-retardants, and plasticizers. Through the Superfund Research Program, she also actively collaborates with the Strong Heart Study to address the molecular drivers of cardiometabolic diseases in American Indian populations. Dr. Kupsco's ultimate goal is to better understand the molecular basis of environmental health to advance early detection and prevention of environmental disease.

This seminar will be held in Field Auditorium (room 1112), Grainger Hall.
Visit the seminar website for a livestream link to tune in virtually.
Both attendance options (in person and virtual) are free and open to all.