Environmental Epigenetics

Epigenetic changes control the way genetic information is expressed without altering genetic codes stored in DNA. Environmental exposures can induce epigenetic changes, but the extent of epigenetic damage seems to on the life-history stages of the organism exposed. Our laboratory is studying gene-environment interactions, particularly how environmental stressors (chemical or non-chemical) induce epigenetic changes leading to adverse health outcomes using animal models (fish and rodents), cell co-cultures (2D and 3D spheroids), human cell lines, and population-based studies. Research is no FUN without “D” in it, so we are seeking research FUNDS (US federal and/or private foundations) to identify genetic and epigenetic biomarkers that explain past exposures and predict the health of future generations.

Current projects include understanding the mechanisms of epigenetic reprogramming and environmentally induced epigenetic aberrations in germ and somatic cells. The stressors we focus on are pharmaceuticals, pesticides, plasticizers, fire retardants, cannabinoids (including metabolites), and engineered nanoparticles.

Interested in research?

Our laboratory is seeking graduate students (M.S. and Ph.D.) to participate in environmental epigenetics and transgenerational health research. Undergraduate students (sophomores and juniors) can register for Bio-499 research credit. All interested persons should contact Dr. Ramji Bhandari  (for further details.  If you are a potential graduate (Ph.D.) student and would like to apply for a graduate fellowship, please contact Dr. Bhandari ahead of time. Thanks!