Endocrine Disruption of the Neuro-immune Interface

February 19, 2014
1:00 pm US Eastern Time

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Building on the January 8, 2014, teleconference featuring Dr. Rodney Dietert (visit the call page and listen to the MP3 recording) on how the developing immune system is a target for endocrine disrupting chemicals, Dr. Jamie DeWitt discussed how certain cells of the immune system may mediate endocrine signals to direct aspects of brain development. She also described scenarios where endocrine disrupting chemicals can alter brain development by changing signals to the immune cells that can mediate development of sex specificity in the brain.

Featured Speaker

Dr. DeWitt is an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. She received Bachelor of Science degrees in biology and environmental science from Michigan State University and doctorate degrees in environmental science and neural science from Indiana University-Bloomington. Dr. DeWitt also completed postdoctoral training in developmental cardiotoxicity from Indiana University-Bloomington and in Immunotoxicology at the US Environmental Protection Agency through a cooperative training agreement with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. DeWitt is the current president of the North Carolina chapter of the Society of Toxicology and the junior councilor for the Immunotoxicology Specialty Section of the Society of Toxicology. She also was awarded the Outstanding Young Investigator Award from the Immunotoxicology Specialty Section in 2013. Dr. DeWitt’s main research focus is on how toxicants found in the environment can lead to neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders via disruption of the developing immune system. She is especially interested in microglia, which are immune cells that reside in the central nervous system (CNS). These cells are often viewed as the interface between the CNS and the rest of the body and therefore are thought to be critical for proper neuronal development and homeostasis. Additionally, Dr. DeWitt and her lab work to understand how environmental toxicants, including endocrine disrupting chemicals, impact both the adult and developing immune and nervous systems. Ultimately, she hopes that her work will not only improve our understanding of how exogenous chemicals alter these systems, but improve regulatory oversight and testing to reduce the number and amounts of potentially harmful chemicals into the environment.

This half-hour teleconference call is one in a monthly series sponsored by the Collaborative on Health and the Environment’s EDC Strategies Group.The CHE EDC Strategies Group is chaired by Carol Kwiatkowski (TEDX), Sharyle Patton (Commonweal), and Genon Jensen (HEAL). To see a full list of past calls in the series and listen to the MP3 recordings please visit the CHE Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals webpage.