ISF: Use of Aquatic Insects to Study PFAS Mixture Toxicity DUIRI - Discovery Undergraduate Interdisciplinary Research Internship Summer 2024 Accepted Environmental Toxicology Environmental exposure to per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) occurs as mixtures. Importantly, the bioaccumulation potential and toxicity of a particular mixture is driven by the number of halogenated carbons and functional groups present. PFAS are also highly proteinophilic and known to bind to proteins. Hemoglobins (Hbs) are key proteins responsible for transporting oxygen to tissues and studies show PFAS can bind with Hb interfering with oxygen transport. Chironomids (midges) are highly sensitive to PFAS and >95% of all their hemolymph proteins are Hbs. Using a combination of in silico, in vitro, and in vivo tools, we will test the overarching hypothesis that binding of PFAS to Hbs is a tractable and sensitive physiological signal for predicting the toxicity of PFAS mixtures. The objectives of this project are to: Inform and validate in silico models using PFAS and Hb binding affinity data and in vivo toxicity tests. Maria Soledad Sepulveda Maria Soledad Sepulveda The prospective student will advance work with aquatic non-biting midges, examining changes in hemoglobin as a marker of PFAS toxicity. Students will learn techniques associated with insect husbandry and breeding; in vivo toxicity testing; quantitative QPCR for studying gene expression; and fluorescence spectroscopy techniques. Minimum GPA 3.0. Previous lab experience is a plus, but not required. 0 40 (estimated)

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