Areas of Expertise: Toxicology, molecular biology, bioinformatics
Background: Britton Goodale’s research interests center on understanding, at the molecular level, how chemicals and other environmental factors interact with biological systems to affect human health. Her current research in the Stanton Laboratory aims to determine how arsenic exposure from drinking water or food causes persistent, adverse effects on immune function. She is particularly interested in using bioinformatic approaches to leverage genome-wide data for hypothesis generation, and to derive meaning from complex environmental health datasets. Prior to joining the Dartmouth Superfund Program, she obtained her Ph.D. in Environmental and Molecular Toxicology from Oregon State University, where her research addressed questions of how a group of common air pollutants, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHS), disrupt molecular signaling pathways that are critical for normal embryonic development.
Research: Arsenic in drinking water is associated with increased risk of respiratory infection and disease, but the biological effects of arsenic exposures that occur from contaminated food and drinking water are not well understood. As part of Dartmouth Superfund Program’s Project 3, Goodale’s research is investigating how exposure to low-dose organic and inorganic arsenic affects the ability of human lung cells to respond to the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. She is developing bioinformatic approaches to investigate how genes, proteins and signaling pathways are affected by different forms of arsenic in bronchial epithelial cells, which provide the lung’s first defense against infection. By combining bioinformatic data mining and analysis with laboratory studies in human cells, this research will provide new data that addresses how arsenic affects innate immune pathways, and will be essential for predicting effects of real-world exposures.
Experience: Goodale is enthusiastic to share techniques that enable better visualization and interpretation of large datasets with fellow researchers, and assists with teaching bioinformatics at Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory.