Dr. Joseph Braun is an environmental epidemiologist who studies the health effects and modifiable sources of endocrine disrupting chemicals, including PFAS, in susceptible populations like pregnant women and children. Working with biostatisticians, exposure scientists, physicians, and engineers, he quantifies the impacts of environmental chemical mixtures on childhood obesity, cardiometabolic disorders, and neurodevelopment to identify periods of heightened susceptibility. Moreover, Dr. Braun uses high dimensional “-omics” platforms, like metabolomics and DNA methylation, to understand biological pathways underlying the health effects of chemical exposures. Finally, Dr. Braun is conducting intervention studies to identify novel ways to reduce exposure to environmental chemicals in humans.
Impacts of Early Life PFAS Exposure on Adolescent Health: Preventing Exposure and Adverse Health Effects
Exposure to PFAS during sensitive periods of life could alter biological processes related to later life disease. Of particular concern is the ability for PFAS exposure during pregnancy to “reprogram” metabolic pathways related to obesity, diabetes, and bone health. The developing infant and child may also be more exposed to PFAS due to developmentally appropriate behaviors, anatomy, and physiology. This talk will describe our groups’ work to quantify the health impacts of early life PFAS exposure and develop interventions that could reduce PFAS exposure or ameliorate their adverse health effects in exposed populations. I will also show results of new studies that characterize human exposure to novel PFAS exposures using “exposomic” methods and elucidate biological pathways underlying the health effects of PFAS exposure. Ultimately, this work will inform the development and implementation of evidence-based interventions to reduce PFAS exposures, inform regulation of understudied PFAS, and help prevent disease in vulnerable sub-populations like infants and children.