What are the direct health effects of exposure to PBDE? How does PBDE cause these adverse health effects?

Problem Title

What are the direct health effects of exposure to PBDE? How does PBDE cause these adverse health effects?

Scientific Title

Mechanistic understanding of the adverse health effects to PBDE using high-throughput analysis

Student: 
Aser Abrha
Major(s): 
Biology
Public Health
iCons Concentration: 
Biomedicine
iCons Class Year: 
Class of 2017
Executive Summary 

Brominated flame retardants (BFRs), are chemical compounds added to reduce the flammability of industrial products such as plastics, textiles, furniture padding, and electrical appliances. PBDE (Polybrominated diphenyl ether) is a type of BFR that is extensively found in the environment. PBDEs are lipophilic and can persist in the environment. Despite our knowledge of the adverse health effects in animal studies, the exact biological mechanisms of how PBDEs causes adverse health effects is poorly understood. Thus, my research focuses on using high-throughput gene sequencing and analysis techniques to provide a biological mechanistic understanding behind the health effects of exposure to PBDE. Through understanding of these biological mechanisms, we can better characterize the direct health effects in humans and develop future therapeutics.