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October 17, 2019 | 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Category: Seminar
Location: Integrative Biosciences Center 1D
Cost: Free
Audience: Academic Staff, Alumni, Community, Current Graduate Students, Current Undergraduate Students, Faculty, Staff

The Center for Urban Responses to Environmental Stressors (CURES) presents their Thursday afternoon seminar series on October 17, 2019 from 12:30 - 1:30 p.m. at the IBio Building in Seminar Room 1D, located at 6135 Woodward Ave.  The seminar is free and open to the entire university community.

The guest speaker will be Christopher Kassotis, PhD, postdoctoral research fellow in the Nicholas School of Environment at Duke University.  Dr. Kassotis will present "From Fracking to Fat Cells: How Environmental Contaminants Can Disrupt Metabolic Health."

Christopher Kassotis received a Bachelors of Science degree from Keene State College and both a graduate certificate in Science and Public Policy and doctoral degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Missouri.  His doctorate was completed while working with Dr. Susan Nagel and Dr. Fred vom Saal to assess unconventional oil and gas operations as a novel source of endocrine disrupting chemicals in water and the potential for adverse human and animal health outcomes from exposure.  His current work in the Heather Stapleton Lab at Duke University and the Seth Kullman Lab at North Carolina State University is to assess the adipogenic/obesogenic activity of complex chemical mixtures present in indoor house dust and other matrices as well as to develop new assays to isolate and characterize novel endocrine disruptors in complex mixtures.


Obesity and metabolic disorders are a large societal concern and generate significant human health care costs.  Recently, attention has focused on the potential for environmental contaminants to act as metabolic disruptors through disruption of nuclear hormone receptors. This work has sought to evaluate the potential for diverse environmental contaminants to promote fat cell development using an in vitro model of adipogenesis.  Dissertation research on the endocrine disrupting effects of commonly-used unconventional oil and gas operation chemicals will be overviewed and current postdoctoral research will be discussed in greater detail.  This work has found that numerous indoor semi-volatile organic contaminants can promote fat cell differentiation and that mixtures of these chemicals present in house dust are sufficient to drive adipocyte differentiation at low, environmentally elevant levels.  Also discussed will be the latest research evaluating underlying mechanisms, identifying causative chemicals, and assessing potential adverse human health impacts from exposure.

For more information about this event, please contact Christina Cowen at 313-577-6590 or