Sammi Lab


Lab Personnel


PFAS, a group of persistent organic pollutants or “forever chemicals,” have a characteristic long half-life. While the adverse health effects of PFAS have been reported, the underlying mechanisms are largely unknown, particularly its neurotoxic effects. PFAS has been used in nearly 5,000 products, including nonstick cookware, firefighting foam, food packaging industry, and stain repellants.

Historically, one of the most utilized PFAS was perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS). Owing to its resistance to environmental degradation, PFOS is expected to persist for decades to come. PFOS contamination extends to even the remotest regions on earth and is traceable in almost every individual’s body. While the underlying toxicity mechanisms are obscure, emerging replacement PFAS compounds pose a significant risk in near future. Considering humans have had chronic exposure to varying environmental PFAS since the mid-1900s, it is imperative to perform mechanistic studies. PFOS has been linked with the loss of dopaminergic cells and function, reduced mitochondrial content, and elevated ROS in C. elegans.

The focus of Sammi's lab is to a) identify mechanistic aspects underlying PFOS neurotoxicity, b) gain insights into the role of mitochondria in PFOS-led neurotoxicity, and c) evaluate emerging PFAS for common mechanism/mechanistic endpoints.

This project aims to identify key mechanistic targets with potential for intervention, and common mechanisms amongst other PFAS.

  • University Startup Funds
  • R00: Elucidation of mitochondrial mechanisms critical to mediating PFAS neurotoxicity (4R00ES032488)