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Alexandra E. Turley

Alexandra TurleyCooperating Doctoral Program: Pharmacology and Toxicology

EITS Track: Biomedical Toxicology

Education: Honors B.S. Food Science and Technology, Food Science, University of Delaware

Research Interests:
My research interests are in the immunotoxic and immunomodulatory effects of food preservatives. Currently, I am interested in the effects of tert-butylhydroquinone(tBHQ) on T-cell activation and differentiation. tBHQ is an antioxidant used in many foods to stabilize lipids and extend shelf-life, and is also a known activator of Nrf2. Nrf2 (Nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2) is a transciption facotr that responds to oxidative and other types of cellular stress by upregulating cyoprotective genes, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification genes. By activating Nrf2, tBHQ has the potential to modulate the behavior of many cells. We are interested in both the Nrf2 specific and non-specific effects of tBHQ on human T-cells. Our preliminary data suggest that activation of Nrf2 by tBHQ inhibits early cytokine production by primary human T cells. My current research project is to determine the mechanism by which this occurs.

Major Professor: Cheryl Rockwell, Pharmacology and Toxicology