Berkeley Lab thirdhand smoke researchers have been awarded a new three-year grant totaling $904,744. The funding from the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP) will support translational studies aimed at mitigating health impacts of exposure to thirdhand smoke (THS)—the toxic residues from tobacco smoke that linger on indoor surfaces and in dust long after a cigarette has been extinguished. From the Biosciences Area, Biological Systems and Engineering (BSE) Division staff scientist Bo Hang will serve as principal investigator on the studies, with senior scientist Jian-Hua Mao and staff scientist Antoine Snijders, also of BSE, as co-investigators. Collaborators on the project include staff scientist Hugo Destaillats and retiree affiliate Lara Gundel in the Energy Technologies Area (ETA) at Berkeley Lab, as well as researchers at California Consortium on Thirdhand Smoke partner institutions UC San Francisco and UC Riverside.
Genome-wide association (GWAS) and familial studies have found mutations that disrupt the function of KDM5 proteins in patients with autism spectrum disorders and related intellectual disabilities. Biological Systems and Engineering (BSE) Division researchers Jian-Hua Mao, Antoine Snijders, and Susan Celniker, in collaboration with a team of scientists led by Xingyin Liu at Nanjing Medical University (NMU) in China, used genetic tools in Drosophila to delineate how KDM5 contributes to autism and intellectual disability.
An international team led by researchers in Berkeley Lab’s Biosciences Area has identified a new laboratory mouse strain for studying gastric cancer. The mouse lineage is part of a population called the Collaborative Cross (CC) mouse model that was bred to have greater genetic diversity than previous populations, so as to be more comparable with humans. The team monitored hundreds of mice from different CC strains for one year and observed that one line spontaneously developed tumors—stomach and lymphoid being the most prevalent types—at an extremely high rate. Subsequent genetic analysis of the tumors in this cancer-prone line revealed that an inflammatory response regulating a protein called Nfκb1 could be a key driver of cancer susceptibility in this mouse model.
Read more in the Berkeley Lab News Center.
The projects of 13 Biosciences Area scientists and engineers received funding through the FY18 Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program. These projects span a diverse array of topics and approaches including the study of microbiomes in relation to patterns of mutualism, crop productivity, and gut health; synthetic biology for engineering biosurfactant production and energy conversion pathways; and the application of technologies such as machine learning, high-resolution optical microscopy, and single-cell transcriptomics. Together, these efforts account for 18.75 percent of the $20 million allocated. Lab-wide, 74 projects were selected from a field of 215.
Cigarette smoke contains myriad compounds that are known mutagens and carcinogens, and the health risks associated with active smoking and secondhand smoke are well established. Nearly 10 years ago, researchers at Berkeley Lab identified another potentially hazardous source of tobacco exposure: “thirdhand smoke,” the toxic residues that linger on indoor surfaces and in dust long after a cigarette has been extinguished. A team led by Antoine Snijders, Jian-Hua Mao, and Bo Hang in Biosciences’ Biological Systems and Engineering (BSE) Division have determined that early thirdhand smoke exposure is also associated with increased incidence and severity of lung cancer in mice.