ARLINGTON - The National Institutes of Health has awarded a three-year,
$444,000 grant to a UT Arlington researcher looking for chemicals in the
environment that could interfere with normal hormone functions, causing
problems with reproduction, behavior and development and fueling cancer growth.
Subhrangsu Mandal, an assistant professor in the College of
Science’s chemistry and biochemistry department, will use the NIH money to test
items such as commonly used growth hormones, water from various sources and
milk for endocrine disrupting chemicals. Endocrine disruptors are a family of
chemicals that can mimic and interfere with the activities of hormones such as
estrogen when they enter the body.
One such compound, Bisphenol A or BPA, has been in the news
recently over worries that its use in plastics could be harmful.
“It’s a huge concern because the hormones are a very
critical player to life. They control development, disease, everything,” said
Mandal. “Many of these things are used to produce meat and vegetables because
they amplify growth and people do not realize how it eventually can interfere
with your normal endocrine pathways.”
Mandal’s research will mainly look for chemicals that could
disrupt the normal function of the estrogen hormone. Estrogen hormones trigger specific
gene activities. In some cases, research suggests that too much of these activities
can fuel the growth of cancers, especially breast cancers. Studies have also
suggested that abnormal estrogen activity can lead to increased risk of
conditions such as hypertension, increased blood cholesterol and other
cardiovascular diseases, according to Mandal.
Mandal said he hopes his research will arm members of the
public with a greater understanding of what risks they face from chemicals in
their food and environment.
Mandal was also
recently awarded $213,807 from the NIH for a proposal to explore how the
biochemical mechanism of estrogen signaling is linked with control of blood
cholesterol. Though NIH rules prevent him from accepting both grants, Mandal
will continue studying that project. Such studies may result in new therapy for
The awarding of the two grants simultaneously speaks well of
Mandal’s work, said Rasika Dias, chairman of UT Arlington’s chemistry and
“To my knowledge, such
situations are very rare, especially with junior faculty who are in the process
of establishing themselves. Getting one project funded is hard enough these
days in the present highly competitive environment,” Dias said. “This
shows that Dr. Mandal is doing cutting-edge, top quality work and a leading
researcher in at least two different areas relevant to human health.”
The University of Texas at
Arlington is one of the state’s seven emerging research institutions and has
nearly 33,000 students. For more about the campus, visit www.uta.edu.
The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.