Metal-Induced Disease FIRG

Leader: Dr. Rebecca Fry, Assistant Professor of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health
For information on CEHS community outreach and engagement on metal-induced disease, specifically childhood lead poisoning, click here.  Under the leadership of Dr. Rebecca Fry, the Metal-Induced Disease FIRG has focused primarily on arsenic exposure in humans. Dr. Fry was awarded a CEHS pilot project award to examine the effects of arsenic exposure on DNA methylation in a human population in Mexico. The study entitled, “Mapping Methylated DNA Sites Associated with Arsenical-Induced Skin Disease” focuses on the arsenic exposed population in Zimapan, Mexico, where residents suffer from arsenicosis, or chronic arsenic poisoning. The samples that were available for this pilot project came from an existing NIEHS-funded study led by Dr. Mirek Styblo. Using a CpG methylation-CHIP assay optimized in her laboratory, Dr. Fry has mapped methylated DNA sites that are associated with arsenic exposure and disease and shown that these methylated sites enrich for a specific pathway (NF-kB).

A collaboration between Dr. Fry and the NC Department of Health and Human Services is establishing a biomonitoring program in NC for prenatal metals exposure and will assess toxic metal exposure in pregnant women in the State. It is anticipated that the Metal-Induced Disease FIRG will continue to expand over the next few years integrating many researchers at UNC, as well as scientists in other states as well as international locations.  

Funded by NIEHS Grant # P30 ES010126