Nishad Jayasundara, Ph.D.
University of Maine
Mitochondria in a polluted world
Our research is broadly focused on investigating physiological and biochemical traits underlying organismal response to changes in their environment. We are particularly interested in effects of anthropogenic contaminants on mitochondria, and exploring the use mitochondrial function and mitochondrial DNA as markers of chronic exposure to environmental pollutants. We use zebrafish Danio rerio as well as other fish species inhabiting highly polluted habitats to gain insights into long-term impacts of environmental contaminants on mitochondrial health. To this end, an ongoing project is focused on exploring a putative role for mitochondrial toxicants underlying a mysterious kidney disease in agricultural communities around the world. Our findings indicate that exposure to certain chemicals used in agriculture can cause significant mitochondrial dysfunction, even at levels that are considered safe, and may contribute to long-term adverse health outcomes.
Support for this seminar is provided by an Institutional Development Award (IDeA) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under grant number P20GM103423.