Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

How metal is too metal: ENVR 400 In-house Seminar

February 20 @ 12:20 pm - 1:10 pm

Paige Bommarito, doctoral candidate in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, will present this week’s seminar in the department’s Spring 2019 series. Bommarito’s talk is titled, “How metal is too metal: Does the placental epigenome link prenatal metals exposure to adverse birth outcomes?.”


Pre-eclampsia is a disorder of pregnancy that affects approximately 5% of pregnancies in the United States and is a major contributor to maternal mortality, worldwide. While the underlying cause of pre-eclampsia is unknown, the origins of the disease are believed to lie within the placenta. The placenta is a temporary organ that makes up the maternal-fetal interface and serves as an important target organ during pregnancy. Exposures to toxic metals and deficiencies in essential metals are known to disrupt placentation and may contribute to pre-eclampsia. Previous research has linked toxic metals, such as arsenic (As), chromium (Cr), cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg), and lead (Pb) to increased risk of preeclampsia and essential metals, such as selenium (Se) and zinc (Zn) to reduced risk of pre-eclampsia.

The placental epigenome may serve as an important link between prenatal metals exposure and pre-eclampsia. We investigated this question using a case-control cohort of
women participating in the Maternal Oral Therapy to Reduce Obstetric Risk (MOTOR) cohort. We measured (1) placental levels of toxic and essential metals and (2) the
expression of 4 microRNAs (miRNAs) known to control placentation. First, we examined the relationship between placental metals exposure and the expression of these miRNAs.
Second, we examined the relationship between miRNA expression and the odds of preeclampsia. Although we did not observe associations between miRNA expression and preeclampsia, we did observe an association between several toxic metals and placental miRNA expression.

Learn more here.

Please contact Dr. Howard Weinberg, howard_weinberg@unc.edu, if you have any questions.


February 20
12:20 pm - 1:10 pm
Event Categories:


2301 McGavran-Greenberg Hall
McGavran-Greenberg Hall, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC 27516 United States
+ Google Map