Environmental Epigenetics

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 longitudinal and latitudinal transmission of phenotypes. Using environmental toxicants as stressors, we are examining the toxicant-induced epigenetic aberrations in germ and somatic cells, their dynamics over time, inheritance, and phenotypic traits associated with them. We are trying to understand if these epigenetic aberrations can be minimized by strategic treatment with epigenetic writers and erasers. Many stressors can induce the same phenotypic trait although the chemical properties of stressors are different. We are trying to understand the exposure specificity of epigenetic aberrations by in silico analysis of our high throughput epigenomic and transcriptomic database and publicly available datasets. The current stressors of interest are pharmaceuticals, pesticides, plasticizers, fire retardants, cannabinoids (including metabolites), and engineered nanoparticles.


Interested in research?
Two postdoctoral positions will be available in January 2022 to study the inheritance of epigenetic memory in germline and somatic cells. 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!