Sewanee Research Assistant Professor, Thea Edwards had a paper accepted this week by the Journal of Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety.
Dr. Edwards and her co-authors report that chronic exposure to environmentally relevant concentrations of nitrate causes a suite of effects consistent with type 1 diabetes. The authors conducted their experiment using alligators, which are an established vertebrate model for endocrine disruption biology. Nitrate is a widespread aquatic contaminant that comes from fertilizers, sewage, and industrial activities. It is the most expensive contaminant to regulate in drinking water. Nitrate is biologically active in its native form and when it is converted to nitric oxide (NO), a potent and widespread molecular signaling molecule. To continue her work on diabetes in non-mammalian models, Dr. Edwards is currently working with Sewanee student Carrie Martin to describe pancreatic histoanatomy in locally caught mosquitofish.