Dr. Zhang joined Michael Snyder’s group in 2018 at Stanford University after receiving her PhD in pharmacology and toxicology from University of Kansas. Her research focuses on understanding the human exposome, particularly, how the exposome affects human health. She is interested in applying multi-omics approaches using high-throughput sequencing, mass-spectrometry, and wearable devices to understand the exposome and its health consequences at the personal level. She has studied the human exposome in multiple environmental settings, including hospital and during wildfire, and in complex disease settings, such as Crohn’s disease and Autism. Her current work also includes developing wearable sensors to profile personal exposome that aid precision environmental health.
Human health is affected by the dynamic interactions between the genome and the environment. Over the decades, scientists have made substantial breakthroughs on understanding the genome, however, our knowledge about the environmental effects remains limited. The exposome is consists of all the exposures across one’s lifetime. Current methods of environmental monitoring, relying on total concentrations of particulate matter (PM) and a handful of substances, cannot fully reflect the complex nature of the human exposome. Moreover, fixed weather stations fail to provide precise exposure information on the personal level, let alone providing evidence for precision environmental health. Here, we propose a wearable device that captures the diverse airborne exposome and allows users to get a comprehensive view of their exposures. The wearable device, termed Personal Exposome Tracker (PET), is an active sampling device that collects all traditional environmental parameters measured by fixed weather stations, such as temperature, humidity, PM2.5, PM10 and volatile organic compound (VOC), at the personal level. Additionally, PET contains compartment to collect chemical and biological exposomes, respectively. Paired with next generation sequencing (NGS) and high-resolution mass spectrometry (MS), PET provides the most detailed view of the human airborne exposome. The onboard Global Positioning System (GPS) sensor provides an additional layer of exposure information. Therefore, PET is a powerful exposometer that provides insightful information to aid precision environmental health.