Assessment of carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the nematode: an invertebrate model for a complex discipline

Theme: Environmental Pollution

Primary Supervisor:

Stephen Sturzenbaum

Analytical and Environmental Sciences, KCL

Secondary Supervisor:

Volker Arlt

Analytical and Environmental Sciences, KCL

Project Description:

The invertebrate model C. elegans will be utilized to assess the (geno)toxicity of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) extracted from contaminated environmental sources (air & soil). Wild-type and transgenic nematodes will be used to explore (in vivo) the time- and -dose resolved responses to a suit of PAHs.

Exposure will be further assessed by defining the frequency of stable pre-mutagenic DNA adducts and oxidative damage to DNA will be evaluated via the Comet assay. Whole genome chip technology will be applied to define the transcriptional fingerprint of PAH exposure and key responses validated by quantitative PCR (qPCR) and by RNA interference (RNAi).

These studies will define relationships between toxicological end-points and gene expression pattern (Toxicogenomics), predict toxic responses, and identify the underlying toxicity mechanisms.

Policy Impact of Research:

Environmental pollutants such as PAHs can cause genetic damage and initiate cancer.

This project will provide a targeted hazard/risk assessment of complex PAH mixtures which is important for the management of contaminated PAH matrices


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