Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)




Eric Bradley

Committee Members

Margaret Saha

Ashleigh Queen


Heavy metal pollution is a global health issue. Increased concentrations of metals such as cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, nickel, arsenic, zinc, and mercury in our environment and bioaccumulation in organisms is dangerous. Essential trace metals in the human body are critical for biological functioning, however when these metals are substituted with heavy metals at high concentrations, they can induce oxidative stress responses and become harmful. Understanding the effects of mercury and heavy metal toxins on a genetic level is a crucial step towards potential therapeutics and ultimately eliminating residue from our bodies and the environment. Identification of differential gene expression at specific loci can be translated into a clearer understanding of the genes and genetic elements associated with a specific contaminant. Current research is being conducted to investigate the effects of methylmercury on developmental gene expression. This research will identify specific genes associated with organic mercury exposure and provide targets for future research into understanding the biological mechanisms associated with early stages of embryonic development.

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