Roles of the Gut Microbiome in Arsenic Toxicity

Millions of people are exposed to unhealthy levels of arsenic by ingesting arsenic-contaminated foods and drinking water. This project investigates how the microbes living our intestines can help protect us from arsenic. Early experiments have shown that mice treated with antibiotics to disrupt their microbiome are more sensitive to arsenic poisoning than mice with intact gut microbial communities.

We are using germ-free and knockout mouse models, DNA sequencing, and trace-metal analysis to help understand how these beneficial bacteria reduce the harmful effects of arsenic exposure. Ultimately, we hope this research will contribute to a more complete understanding of arsenic toxicity in humans and be used to develop new treatments for people dealing with arsenic-associated disease.


Walk Lab Members

  • Mike Coryell – Roles and Mechanisms of Microbial Communities
  • Steph Schneider – Host Specific Effects of Arsenic
  • Mark McAlpine – Animal Protocol Development, Necropsy, and Tissue Preparation