Biochemical Toxicology

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John Stegeman and Jed Goldstone

In the Stegeman and Goldstone labs we are involved in a broad range of studies, centered on the interaction of chemicals in the environment with organisms in the sea.  Projects include identifying the function of enzymes that degrade pollutants, the role of those enzymes in hormone and regulatory molecule function, the transcription factors (receptors) that bind chemicals and control the regulation of many such genes, and the behavioral consequences of chemical exposure. The approaches include laboratory studies such as cloning and expression of enzymes/receptors for functional studies and knocking out genes in fish using CRISPR-Cas to determine their function in vivo. We also use computational and bioinformatics approaches, including modeling studies of the nature of chemical interaction with the enzyme and receptor proteins, the molecular evolution of these systems, and even whole genome sequencing. We study many different species: fish, including fish from the deep ocean (related to adaptation to pressure) and from highly contaminated sights (related to adaptation and tolerance to pollutants), bivalve molluscs, and other species such as tunicates and sea urchins used as models for understanding mechanisms. We strive to understand the mechanisms of chemical toxicity, which may apply in both environmental and biomedical contexts.

Stegeman Lab