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Ongoing Projects

Predictive serological tests for SARS-CoV-2, human coronaviruses, and other respiratory pathogens

This project is designed to collect blood and detailed medical/demographic histories from volunteers of varying age, ethnicity, race, gender, medical conditions and COVID-19 infection status and to perform detailed epigenetic and serological analyses in an effort to identify those individuals at greatest risk of severe COVID-19 complications in order to provide better therapeutic and diagnostic information to medical personnel.
Funding: NIAID/NCI
Ridha, I, Kuryla, CL, Kleiman NJ, Don MTMR, Chung Y, Park J, Murugan V, LaBaer, J. Aberrant genome‐wide DNA methylation profiles of peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients hospitalized with COVID-19. In preparation


Monochromatic farUVC (222 nm) light: Development of a safe, cost-effective technology for reduction in transmission of airborne viruses or bacteria.

This project examines the safety and efficacy of exposure to 222 nm UV light to skin and eyes as well as ocular and skin acute exposure thresholds in experimental animal and cell culture models.
Funding: various governmental, corporate and private sources


Rapid low-cost paper-based biodosimetry for radiation exposure

Concern about radiation release from accidental or intentional incidents drives an urgent need for effective, reliable, and rapid biodosimetric tools to quantify exposure to large numbers of individuals to ensure effective therapeutic intervention and efficient use of medical resources. This project will develop a low-cost, paper-based, point-of-care test to determine absorbed dose and predict acute and/or delayed damage to specific radiosensitive organs.
Funding: NIAID U01
Paul S, Kleiman NJ, Amundson SA. Transcriptomic responses in mouse blood during the first week after in vivo gamma irradiation. Sci Rep 2019; 9:18364.

Petri Dish

Heavy/toxic metal exposures to dogs living in the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone - Companion animals as biomarkers for human exposure.

This project hypothesizes that isolated populations of semi-feral dogs living within the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone are exposed to a wide variety of toxic/carcinogenic metals after the cleanup, remediation, and ongoing industrial activities following the Chornobyl Nuclear Disaster. As dogs live in close association with the many hundreds of human workers who continue various cleanup and industrial activities with the Exclusion Zone, metal analysis in hair and tissue from these dogs offers clues as to potential human adverse health risks.
Funding: private


Tracking metals from e-cigarettes: From the coil into blood, lung, brain and other tissues

This project tests the hypothesis that e-cigarette delivery devices result in exposure to potentially toxic/carcinogenic heavy metals, as well as other hazardous organic byproducts of vaping, in blood, lung, brain, and other tissues in various in-vitro and experimental animal models.
Funding: NIEHS R01
Re DB, Hilpert M, Saglimbeni B, Strait M, Ilievski V, Coady M, Talayero M, Wilmsen K, Chesnais H, Balac O, Glabonjat RA, Slavkovich V, Yan B, Graziano J, Navas-Acien A, Kleiman NJ. Exposure to e-cigarette aerosol over two months induces accumulation of neurotoxic metals and alteration of essential metals in mouse brain. Environ Res 2021; 202:111557.


Sources of toxic/carcinogenic metal in electronic cigarette devices

This study is designed to inform policymakers, public health officials, and consumers about potential inhalation health risks of metal exposures arising from electronic cigarette (EC) use by analyzing the relative concentrations of toxic/carcinogenic metals using Neutron Activation Analysis (NAA) as well as individual component contributions to metal content in the heated aerosol. The project will test the hypothesis that variations in design and construction of EC components, coil types, and user power settings significantly influence aerosol metal levels and composition.
Funding: NIEHS


Radiation Cataract

The lens of the eye is one of the most radio-sensitive tissues in the human body. Exposure to ionizing radiation can result in a specific kind of lens opacity called radiation cataract. This cataract arises from damaged or mis-repaired DNA and subsequent errors in cell cycle control, division, and differentiation. Studying this phenomenon in animal models and human exposures provides a non-invasive and easily accessible testable platform with which to assess the relative contribution of specific genetic loci on radiation sensitivity as well as determine long-term systemic risk arising from accidental or occupational radiation exposure.

Kleiman NJ, Weil MM, Edmondson EJ, Fallgren CM, King A, Schmidt C, Hall EJ. Radiation cataract in Heterogeneous Stock (HS) mice after gamma ray or HZE ion exposure. Life Sci Space Res; in preparation.

Kleiman NJ, Stewart FA, Hall EJ. Modifiers of radiation effects in the eye. Life Sci Space Res (Amst) 2017; 15:43-54.

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