Education & Certifications
BA, Columbia University, Neuroscience & Behavior (2013)
Human fetal exposures to polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and their metabolites (OH-PBDEs) are unique from adults, and in combination with a different metabolic profile, may make fetal development more sensitive to adverse health outcomes from these exposures. However, we lack data to characterize human fetal PBDE exposures and the metabolic factors that can influence these exposures.We examined differences between 2nd trimester maternal and fetal exposures to PBDEs and OH-PBDEs. We also characterized fetal cytochrome P450 (CYP) mRNA expression and its associations with PBDE exposures.We collected paired samples of maternal serum and fetal liver (n=86) with a subset having matched placenta (n=50). We measured PBDEs, OH-PBDEs, and mRNA expression of CYP genes (e.g. CYP1A1, -2E1, -2J2, -2C9) in all samples. As a sensitivity analysis, we measured PBDEs and OH-PBDEs in umbilical cord serum from a subset (n=22).BDE-47 was detected in ≥96% of all tissues. Unadjusted ∑PBDEs concentrations were highest in fetal liver (geometric mean (GM)=0.72ng/g), whereas lipid-adjusted concentrations were highest in cord serum (111.12ng/g lipid). In both cases, fetal concentrations were approximately two times higher than maternal serum levels (GM=0.33ng/g or 48.75ng/g lipid). ΣOH-PBDEs were highest in maternal and cord sera and 20-200 times lower than PBDE concentrations. In regression models, maternal BDE-47 explained more of the model variance of liver than of placenta BDE-47 concentrations (adjusted R2=0.79 vs 0.48, respectively). In adjusted logistic regression models, ∑PBDEs were positively associated with expression of CYP2E1 and -2J2 (placenta), and -1A1 (liver) (p<0.05).Our findings suggest that under normal conditions of mid-gestation, the human fetus is directly exposed to concentrations of PBDEs that may be higher than previously estimated based on maternal serum and that these exposures are associated with the expression of mRNAs coding for CYP enzymes. These results will help frame and interpret findings from studies that use maternal or cord blood as proxy measures of fetal exposures, and will inform the molecular pathways by which PBDEs affect human health.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.envint.2017.12.030
View details for PubMedID 29316516
During human pregnancy, cytotrophoblasts (CTBs) play key roles in uterine invasion, vascular remodeling, and anchoring of the feto-placental unit. Due to the challenges associated with studying human placentation in utero, cultured primary villous CTBs are used as a model of the differentiation pathway that leads to invasion of the uterine wall. In vitro, CTBs emulate in vivo cell behaviors, such as migration, aggregation, and substrate penetration. Although some of the molecular features related to these cell behaviors have been described, the underlying mechanisms, at a global level, remain undefined at midgestation. Thus, in this study, we characterized second-trimester CTB differentiation/invasion in vitro, correlating the major morphological transitions with the transcriptional changes that occurred at these steps. After plating on Matrigel as individual cells, CTBs migrated toward each other and formed multicellular aggregates. In parallel, using a microarray approach, we observed differentially expressed (DE) genes across time, which were enriched for numerous functions, including cell migration, vascular remodeling, morphogenesis, cell communication, and inflammatory signaling. DE genes encoded several molecules that we and others previously linked to critical CTB function in vivo, suggesting that the novel DE molecules we discovered played important roles. Immunolocalization confirmed that CTBs in situ gave a signal for two of the most highly expressed genes in vitro. In summary, we characterized, at a global level, the temporal dynamics of primary human CTB gene expression in culture. These data will enable future analyses of various types of in vitro perturbations-for example, modeling disease processes and environmental exposures.
View details for DOI 10.1210/en.2016-1635
View details for PubMedID 28323933
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5460928
We present Omni-ATAC, an improved ATAC-seq protocol for chromatin accessibility profiling that works across multiple applications with substantial improvement of signal-to-background ratio and information content. The Omni-ATAC protocol generates chromatin accessibility profiles from archival frozen tissue samples and 50-μm sections, revealing the activities of disease-associated DNA elements in distinct human brain structures. The Omni-ATAC protocol enables the interrogation of personal regulomes in tissue context and translational studies.
View details for DOI 10.1038/nmeth.4396
View details for PubMedID 28846090
The evolutionary history of tumor cell populations can be reconstructed from patterns of genetic alterations. In contrast to stable genetic events, epigenetic states are reversible and sensitive to the microenvironment, prompting the question whether epigenetic information can similarly be used to discover tumor phylogeny. We examined the spatial and temporal dynamics of DNA methylation in a cohort of low-grade gliomas and their patient-matched recurrences. Genes transcriptionally upregulated through promoter hypomethylation during malignant progression to high-grade glioblastoma were enriched in cell cycle function, evolving in parallel with genetic alterations that deregulate the G1/S cell cycle checkpoint. Moreover, phyloepigenetic relationships robustly recapitulated phylogenetic patterns inferred from somatic mutations. These findings highlight widespread co-dependency of genetic and epigenetic events throughout brain tumor evolution.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ccell.2015.07.012
View details for Web of Science ID 000361420900009
View details for PubMedID 26373278
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4573399