T32 training program in Molecular and Systems Toxicology (NIEHS T32 ES029074) is a multi-disciplinary research mentorship program centered on training in systems toxicology including genomics/epigenetics, proteomics, and metabolomics as well as molecular approaches to investigate underlying mechanisms of toxicity. This MST training program will be supported by 16 faculty members, from the University of Colorado’s Schools of Pharmacy, Medicine and Public Health and also includes faculty from the nearby National Jewish Health, all of whom conduct systems toxicology research and will serve as mentors. Systems toxicology approaches commonly utilized by our training faculty include genomics/epigenetics, proteomics, redox proteomics, microbiome, metabolomics, biostatistical genetics, and bioinformatics.
This multi-disciplinary research T32 program will support four predoctoral trainees per year and emphasizes systems toxicology research. Graduate students in the program obtain degrees through the mentioned disciplines. Research opportunities for predoctoral trainees will involve systems-based approaches to investigate a broad range of toxicological outcomes, including environmental lung disease, carcinogenesis, neurodegenerative disease, nanotoxicology, and immune responses to environmental xenobiotics, drugs and therapies. Students will be recruited from the Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Programs, and accepted each year, into the MST-T32 program. T32 trainees are supported for 2 years, post-comps. This University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus MST T32 training program will develop predoctoral trainees into independent and successful toxicologists with expertise in systems toxicology.
Applications will be solicited in May of each year. Applicants must have successfully passed their comprehensive exam and currently working on research related to molecular and systems toxicology. Students from the Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Sciences PhD programs are eligible.
Lauren Rutt joined the Toxicology PhD program at the University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus in the Fall of 2020 and joined the lab of Dr. Rebecca McCullough in 2021. Currently, Lauren’s thesis work aims to elucidate novel mechanisms of alcohol-induced fibrotic gene reprogramming in the liver and identify specific factors amplifying liver scarring and disease progression. Specifically, she is investigating the role of alcohol exposure on Wnt-dependent canonical b-catenin activation, and how this pathway promotes hepatic stellate cell transdifferentiation and production of extracellular matrix during the early pathogenesis of liver fibrosis in Alcohol-associated Liver Disease (ALD). A better understanding of the key mechanisms involved in the progression of ALD will provide a foundation for future clinical interventions to prevent or treat liver disease.
“The T32 program has allowed me to present my research at several meetings where I have been able to improve my overall communication skills, expand my network and discover new collaborations within and outside the toxicology field. I look forward to the continued opportunities to build my network and expertise under this T32 award.”
Lauren Thompson joined the Pharmaceutical Sciences PhD program in 2018 and chose the lab of Dr. Melanie Joy, PharmD, PhD to complete her doctoral dissertation. Lauren’s research interests revolve around increasing the effectiveness and precision of drug therapies at the level of individual patients by applying pharmacokinetic modeling and pharmacogenomic strategies.
Lauren’s dissertation work focuses on cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity. Since joining the Joy lab, she has developed a cancer mouse model of cisplatin-induced acute kidney injury (AKI) to test potential nephroprotective compounds. She is additionally leading a clinical trial with the goals of elucidating pharmacokinetic and pharmacogenetic determinants that govern renal exposure to cisplatin, as well as the impact of 5-hydroxytryptamine antagonists (5-HT3As), a class of anti-emetic drugs. A better understanding of the key processes and pathways involved in renal cisplatin exposure will lead to therapy adjustments to decrease renal toxicity, while maintaining efficacy.
“As a student in the Pharmaceutical Sciences program, I am grateful to the T32 program for providing me with countless opportunities to enhance both my training and ongoing research. The T32 program has allowed me to present my research at meetings I wouldn’t normally attend, build my network within the field of toxicology, and find new collaborations.”
Colin Anderson – currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging
Dustin Brown – currently a Molecular Toxicologist at the Food and Drug Administration
Angela Cruz-Hernandez – currently a Senior Scientist in Product Safety at L’Oreal
Kendra Prutton – currently a Science Communications and Education Manager at International Society for Stem Cell Research
Keegan Rogers – currently a Health Scientist at Stantec Chemrisk
Brandon Sonn – currently a Medical Science Liaison and Precision Medicine Researcher at Strata Oncology