May Webinar: “Environmental Metabolomics: A Dual-Platform Biomonitoring Approach to Assess Toxicant Exposure and Metabolic Response”

Environmental Metabolomics: A Dual-Platform Biomonitoring Approach to Assess Toxicant Exposure and Metabolic Response

Kurt D. Pennell, Ph.D., P.E., Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Tufts University

Kurt Pennell is Professor and Chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Tufts University. Dr. Pennell received his Ph.D. from the University of Florida and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan. Prior to moving to Tufts in 2009, Dr. Pennell was a Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and an adjunct Professor in the Department of Neurology at the Emory University School of Medicine. His research focuses on groundwater remediation, fate and transport of engineered nanomaterials, and environmental toxicology and human health. Dr. Pennell has published over 130 referred journal articles and book chapters, and is a registered Professional Engineer and a Board Certified Environmental Engineer.


The tremendous advancements realized through human genome sequencing serve to illustrate the critical role that environmental factors play in the etiology of human disease. Similarly, continued improvements in analytical instrumentation have resulted in the ability to obtain vast amounts of metabolomics data. Despite these advances, methodologies that directly link environmental exposures to metabolic condition and human disease remain elusive. The overall goal of our environmental metabolomics research program is to develop and demonstrate the efficacy of dual-platform biomonitoring approaches, based on state-of-the-art separation and detection methods, to monitor exposures and elucidate metabolic impacts of environmental toxicants. The methodology combines trace analysis of toxicant levels using gas-chromatography mass selective detection (GC-MSD) with high-throughput metabolic profile assessment using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectroscopy (LC-MS/MS). Examples of both targeted and non-targeted (“top-down”) analysis of toxicant exposures and corresponding metabolic responses will be presented to demonstrate applicability of the dual platform approach to a range of exposure scenarios.

The webinar was held on Tuesday, May 6th, from 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM ET. Click here to view the recorded meeting.

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