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Presentation Time: 11:30-11:50
Home University: UNC-Chapel Hill
Research Mentor: Dr. Rebecca Fry, Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering
Program: CSS
Research Title: Epigenetic Impact of PFOS on JEG-3 Placental Cells via ATAC Sequencing and RNA Sequencing Analyses

Environmental chemicals amount to a large portion of the exposures an individual experiences over their lifetime. Exposure to per- and poly- fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have been shown to negatively affect the health of vulnerable populations such as pregnant women and the developing fetus. Recently, perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) in particular has become a major chemical of interest due to its ubiquity and persistence in the environment due to its chemical stability. PFOS is especially of concern in North Carolina, as samples 14 times greater than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s health advisory have been found in sewage treatment plants. Exposure to PFOS and other per fluorinated chemicals are associated with adverse health outcomes, such a low infant birth weight, and pre-eclampsia. The goal of my study is to understand the impact of PFOS exposure on JEG-3 choriocarcinoma cells through ATAC sequencing and RNA sequencing analyses, which use a high through-put sequencing approach to identify open areas of chromatin and gene expression, respectively. More specifically, we aim to investigate the impact of per fluorinated chemicals on the epigenome through changes in chromatin structure. Ultimately, the genomic differences between the open chromatic regions of the exposed and unexposed cell populations could help inform the association between prenatal PFOS exposure and the relating negative health outcomes.