This March, PROTECT Project 2 trainee Dr. Elana Elkin received First Place for her poster at the Society of Toxicology (SOT) 2021 Annual Meeting. The Reproductive and Developmental Toxicology Specialty Section Student/Postdoc Award recognizes the top 3 poster presentations by graduate students and by postdoctoral fellows in the area of reproductive toxicology.

Dr. Elkin’s poster presentation focused on the impacts of trichloroethylene (TCE) on placenta development during pregnancy. TCE, an industrial degreaser, is a known human carcinogen and a common Superfund site contaminant. The placenta is highly permeable and has been shown to metabolize toxicants, but the effects of TCE on the placenta is understudied. Dr. Elkin used genome-wide transcriptomics and gene set enrichment analyses to identify the processes and molecular pathways that were altered by exposure to TCE metabolite DCVC in HTR-8/SVneo cells and first trimester placental villous explants. She found that impacts on differential gene expression in HTR-8/SVneo cells was dependent on concentration and duration of DCVC exposure, and that DCVC exposure induced an Integrated Stress Response that injured placental extravillous trophoblasts. This in turn could lead to placental insufficiency, which could impact birth outcomes.

This award is only the latest in a long list of awards and recognition Dr. Elkin has previously earned as a trainee in PROTECT. At last year’s SOT Annual Meeting, she received the Edward W. Carney Award. In 2019, she received the second place for the Vera W. Hudson and Elizabeth K. Weisburger Scholarship Fund Student Award at the SOT Annual Meeting and the Superfund Research Program’s Karen Wetterhahn Award at the SRP Annual Meeting. She has also previously won first place for a posterpresented at the SRP Annual Meeting as well as  presented at the SRP Annual Meeting as well as multiple PROTECT Trainee Development Awards.

PROTECT is proud of Dr. Elkin’s many accomplishments, and we look forward to seeing what she accomplishes next.

Full citation:

E. R. Elkin, K. M. Bakulski, J. A. Colacino, D. Bridges, B. A. Kilburn, D. R. Armant & R. Loch-Caruso. Transcriptional profiling of the response to the trichloroethylene metabolite S-(1,2-dichlorovinyl)-L-cysteine revealed activation of the eIF2α/ATF4 Integrated Stress Response in two in vitro placental models. (Virtual) Annual Meeting of the Society of Toxicology, March 12-26, 2021, Abstract#2716. Poster presentation.