Chemical Toxicity, Mechanism of Action, Biomarker Discovery for Risk Assessment, and Bioremediation of RDX

(Rapid Detonation Explosive --- Royal Demolition Explosive)

Program Introduction
  • The field of chemical toxicology applies biology, chemistry, and medicine concerned with the study of the adverse effects of chemicals on living organisms. It is the study of symptoms, mechanisms, treatments and detection of poisoning, especially the poisoning of animals and people.

  • RDX (C3H6N606, Cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine), an initialism for Research Department Explosive (It is also known as cyclonite or hexogen), is an explosive nitroamine widely used in military and industrial applications. RDX is at 16th of the 1,397 hazardous waste chemicals on the EPA National Priorities List. U.S. Army has identified 583 confirmed and 88 suspicious RDX contaminated sites. RDX is also on the EPA's Drinking Water Contaminant Candidate List (CCL) and Emerging Contaminant List.

  • The toxicity of RDX has been well documented to many living organisms. This program is airming at identifying its Mechanism of Action such as the specific molecular targets to which the RDX interacts with, such as an enzyme or receptor or pathway.

  • We are also interested in locating biomarkers (a set of genes responsive to RDX perturbation) via various omics-based technologies such as transcriptomics, metablomics, and proteomics. These biomakers can be used as an indicator of a particular disease state or some other physiological state of an organism due to exposures to the contamination of RDX.

  • We will build a knowledgebase system, to be used as "Google" for environmental scientists and decision makers, ---- a complex database system with search engine that allows ecotoxicologists to read, understand, synthesize, and find solutions to solve the problems of munitions contamination on reported sites.

  • Our final goal is to design biosensors to detect RDX contamination in battle fields, military installations, firing and training ranges for our force health protection, health surveillance for people dealing with munitions, and also to discover bioremediation approaches for the cleanup of the RDX contaminated sites to safe gurad military munitions manufacture and installtion, and the health of army firing and training ranges.

Last updated by Dr. Jeff Chen on May 31, 2011.