James A. Swenberg

PhD, DVM, DACVP, Environmental Science & Engineering, UNC-Chapel Hill, Cancer Genetics

Environmental Science & Engineering
UNC-Chapel Hill
Cancer Genetics

Area of interest

My laboratory focuses on understanding mechanisms of carcinogenesis, with emphasis on the role of DNA damage and repair. During the last few years, we have developed ultra-sensitive and highly specific mass spectrometry methods for measuring the DNA and hemoglobin adducts. Of great interest to us is the finding that our DNA is not pristine. It has many types of endogenous DNA damage that arise from normal metabolism. We hypothesize that these endogenous DNA lesions are responsible for the background mutations that are present. This has important consequences for accurate assessment of risks associated with very low exposures to carcinogens. We are developing new methods for evaluating the induction of mutations at very low exposures and using such methods to test our hypothesis. Our Biomarker Mass Spectrometry Facility Core provides essential support for the ultra-sensitive analysis of DNA adducts. It is also available for consultative and collaborative investigations.

Awards and Honors

2012 Toxicology Forum, Philippe Shubik Distinguished Scientist Award

2011 Society of Toxicology, Board of Publications Best Paper in Toxicological Sciences Award for 2010 for “Distribution of DNA Adducts Caused by Inhaled Formaldehyde is Consistent with Induction of Nasal Carcinoma but not Leukemia”

2010 Greenberg Alumni Endowment Award for Excellence in teaching, research and service, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health

2007 Society of Toxicology, Merit Award

2006 Kenan Distinguished Professor of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

2005 University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine – Distinguished Research Alumnus Award

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