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Michelle Steidemann

Michelle SteidemannCooperating Doctoral Program: Pharmacology and Toxicology

EITS Track: Biomedical Toxicology

Education: B.S. Biology Microscopy Option, Central Michigan University

Research Interests:
2,3,7,8 tetrachlorodibenzo-ρ-dioxin (TCDD) is a persistent environmental toxicant that can cause cloracne, immune system depression, and metabolic diseases upon exposure. Classically the toxicity of TCDD has been thought to be mediated by a nuclear pathway in which TCDD binds to its endogenous transcription factor receptor, the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), in the cytoplasm of the cell. This complex can then alter gene transcription after translocating to the nucleus. There is evidence now, however, that suggests that the AhR might also have direct contact with mitochondria. The goal of my research will be to examine the interaction of the AhR and associated proteins with mitochondrial components such as the electron transport chain and mtDNA to try to determine if TCDD and other ligands are eliciting action through this organelle. These studies could provide insight into the development of the metabolic diseases caused by TCDD and even how endogenous ligands could be controlling mitochondrial function.

Major Professor: John LaPres, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology