Molecular and Cellular Processes on Environmental Toxicity (McPET)

Co-led by Drs. Sargis (UIC) and He (UChicago)
The Molecular and Cellular Processes on Environmental Toxicity (McPET) focus group is composed of vibrant investigators whose laboratories are devoted to understanding the molecular and cellular mechanisms of toxicity. The group’s work primarily focuses on animal models of environmentally-mediated diseases, including the impact of environmental exposures during windows of susceptibility from pre-conception through adulthood. Consistent with CACHET’s broader goals, McPET’s mission is to understand the mechanistic underpinnings of toxicity that contribute to urban health disparities. The nature of this group promotes inclusivity across broad disease areas, including skin, prostate, and ovarian cancers; uterine fibroids; diabetes, obesity, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; cardiopulmonary disorders; and neuropsychiatric diseases. Exposures of interest to McPET investigators include air pollution, arsenic, bisphenol A, PCBs, selenium, tolylfluanid, and UV radiation as well as other metals and metalloids. Pathways of toxicity that are of specific interest to the group include oxidative stress, RNA modifications, genomic instability, mitochondrial dysfunction, metabolic derangements, epigenetic modifications, and disruptions in stem cell biology. An additional area of strength to CACHET’s McPET investigators include unique technical expertise in the use of microfluidic devices to study liver function and metabolism and the female reproductive tract, which offer investigators opportunities to leverage high-throughput approaches to illuminate the impact of various toxicants on complex physiology. By bringing together investigators studying various diseases, exposures, and pathways of toxicity, McPET uniquely fosters synergy across CACHET by assisting investigators in identifying common mechanisms of toxicity, facilitating resource and model sharing, and translating basic science to foster application to epidemiological studies, which collectively support CACHET’s overall mission to mitigate environmental drivers of human disease and their disproportionate impact on vulnerable communities.


Habib Ahsan (UofC)
Ayman Al-Hendy (UIC)
Kirsten S. Almberg (UIC)
Abdeljabar El Andaloussi (UIC)
Maria Argos (UIC)
Brisa Aschebrook-Kilfoy (UofC)
Molly Bryan (UIC)
Maarten C. Bosland (UIC)
Christopher Carmean
Hua Yun Chen (UIC)
Ronald Cohen (UofC)
Andrew Davis
Alan Diamond (UIC)
Ben Gerber (UIC)
Donald Vander Griend (UofC)
Robert Hamanaka (UofC)
Yu-Ying He (UofC)
Jeni Hebert-Beirne (UIC)
Wen Yang Hu (UIC)
Elbert Huang (UofC)
Jyotsna Jagai (UIC)
Andre Kajdacsy-Balla (UIC)
Salman Khetani (UIC)
Karen Kim (UofC)
Rhonda D. Kineman (UIC)
Stephen J. Kron (UofC)
Neda Laiteerapong (UofC)
Richard D. Minshall (UIC)
Larisa Nonn (UIC)
Ian Papautsky (UIC)
Victoria W. Persky (UIC)
Gail S. Prins (UIC)
Robert M. Sargis (UIC)
Loren Saulsberry (UofC)
Sabina Shaikh (UofC)
Leslie Stayner (UIC)
Mary Turyk (UIC)
Katherine Warpeha (UIC)
Lishi Xie (UIC)
Qiwei Yang (UIC)