Effects-Related Biomarkers of Environmental Neurotoxic Exposures

A Human Brain
An MRI Scan

Our research examines biological markers (biomarkers) to predict who might be especially susceptible to, or already impaired by, exposure to toxic substances that can damage the nervous system. Our focus is on chemicals commonly found at hazardous waste sites, such as metals and pesticides. We study controlled exposures, epidemiology, and the effects of toxicants on wildlife near hazardous waste sites. We also research how trees and other plants can clean contaminated soils.



At the University of Washington, scientists are focusing on developing and validating biomarkers in readily available tissues, such as blood, urine, and saliva.

Biomarkers, also known as biological markers, are enzymes, DNA changes, and other cellular chemicals that can alter physiological functions under specific conditions. These changes may predict exposure to hazardous chemicals, impaired cellular, organ or gross function, or special susceptibilities to diseases or damage from toxic agents.

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