We wanted to send a warm welcome and feature one of our new faculty members, Dr. Caren Weinhouse, Ph.D., M.P.H. She is an environmental toxicologist studying how environmental pollutants can modify epigenetic marks, which control gene expression patterns and modify human health risk.
At the Institute she will study the step-wise pathways that will tell us how chemical pollutants in the environment trigger epigenetic changes, as well as how genetic differences among people can lead to different epigenetic responses to the same pollutants. Although her lab will use experimental models (cell culture and mice) to tease out these pathways, her long-term goal is to translate results to prevent or mitigate health risks to vulnerable populations around the world.
“It’s an exciting time to be working in environmental epigenetics. The field is young. It has only been around since the early 2000s and growing rapidly. Past work has taught us that people exposed to environmental stressors in very early life (in the womb or early childhood) have different epigenetic profiles than those that are unexposed. Those differences can persist into adulthood and are linked with higher risk for certain diseases”, said Dr. Weinhouse.
Also, check out Dr. Weinhouse on the Helium Podcast. She is featured on the episode “Curious Mentorship”, where she has a conversation with two brand-new Duke PhD students around “bottom-up” mentorship approaches. Helium’s mission is to help the community by bringing on guest mentors for the under-taught skills that lead to success in academia: hiring graduate students, mentoring, developing funding relationships, and time management.
Let’s give Dr. Weinhouse a big welcome!