Pathogenesis of Environmental Disease Research Core

Pathogenesis of Environmental Disease Research Core

Research in this core centers on mechanisms and modulators of disease and toxicity (inflammation, epigenetics, genetics, toxicokinetics, and microbiome) across organ systems including pulmonary toxicology, reproductive and developmental  toxicology, neurotoxicology, nephrotoxicology, dermal and ocular toxicology.

The core invests significantly in the mentorship of early career trainees with two members as current recipients of NIEHS Outstanding New Environmental Health Scientist (ONES) awards: Phoebe Stapleton and Alison Bernstein. 

Core Directors

Photo of Lauren Aleksunes PharmD, PhD
Lauren Aleksunes, PharmD, PhD
Assistant Professor Rutgers-EMSOPPharmacology and Toxicology
Photo of Jeffrey Laskin PhD
Jeffrey Laskin, PhD
Rutgers-SPHEnvironmental and Occupational Health
Photo of Joshua Miller PhD
Joshua Miller, PhD
Rutgers-SEBSNutritional Sciences

Core Focus

The core promotes impactful research and training that includes the investigation of how inflammatory macrophages modulate lung disease following chronic ozone exposure. Data obtained demonstrates that persistent inflammation following ozone exposure and the progression of lung pathology is due to defective development of proresolution.

Studies are in progress assessing whether this is caused by protracted activation of pro- inflammatory transcription factors and microRNA epigenetic modulators.26-28 This research has fostered the development of new independent lines of research by early career scientists.

Current research

This research demonstrates that persistent inflammation following ozone exposure and the progression of lung pathology is due to defective development of proresolution macrophages..

Beyond ozone, inhaled particles such as engineered nanomaterials and micro- and nano-plastics not only impact the lungs but also disrupt cardiovascular and uteroplacental functions.

Recent Core Publications

Joseph LB, Gordon MK, Zhou P, Hahn RA, Lababidi H, Croutch CR, Sinko PJ, Heck DE, Laskin DL, Laskin JD. Sulfur mustard corneal injury is associated with alterations in the epithelial basement membrane and stromal extracellular matrix. Exp Mol Pathol. 2022 Oct;128:104807. doi: 10.1016/j.yexmp.2022.104807. Epub 2022 Jul 4. PMID: 35798063; PMCID: PMC10044521.

Radbel J, Meshanni JA, Gardner CR, Le-Hoang O, Cervelli J, Laskin JD, Gow AJ, Laskin DL. Novel method to assess resident alveolar macrophage efferocytosis of apoptotic neutrophils by flow cytometry. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2023 Feb 1;460:116359. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2022.116359. Epub 2022 Dec 21. PMID: 36565939; PMCID: PMC9870943.

Malaviya R, Gardner CR, Rancourt RC, Smith LC, Abramova EV, Vayas KN, Gow AJ, Laskin JD, Laskin DL. Lung injury and oxidative stress induced by inhaled chlorine in mice is associated with proinflammatory activation of macrophages and altered bioenergetics. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2023 Feb 15;461:116388. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2023.116388. Epub 2023 Jan 20. PMID: 36690086; PMCID: PMC9960611.

Meakin C, Kim C, Lampert T, Aleksunes LM. High-throughput screening of toxicants that modulate extravillous trophoblast migration. Toxicol Lett. 2023 Feb 15;375:1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.toxlet.2022.12.004. Epub 2022 Dec 16. PMID: 36535517; PMCID: PMC9877196.

Carnino JM, Lee H, Smith LC, Sunil VR, Rancourt RC, Vayas K, Cervelli J, Kwok ZH, Ni K, Laskin JD, Jin Y, Laskin DL. Microvesicle-Derived miRNAs Regulate Proinflammatory Macrophage Activation in the Lung Following Ozone Exposure. Toxicol Sci. 2022 Apr 26;187(1):162-174. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfac025. PMID: 35201360; PMCID: PMC9041552.


Lauren Aleksunes:


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