Pharmacology & Toxicology
Dr. Neera Tewari-Singh
B307 Life Sciences
1355 Bogue Street
East Lansing, MI 48824
Technological advances and increasing industrialization pose an enhanced risk of occupational and/or accidental exposure to chemical agents in addition to their potential use in warfare and terrorism. The major long-term goal of my research is to pursue both basic and translational studies to develop approved and more effective targeted countermeasures/ therapies against mainly the dermal and ocular injuries from chemical threat agent exposures. The current chemical agents of interest include vesicating and nettle agents (sulfur mustard, nitrogen mustard, lewisite and phosgene oxime), industrial agents/ pollutants and pesticides (chloropicrin, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons etc.) that can cause harmful effects/mass casualties as well as long-term ailments to the human population. Developing effective and targeted medical interventions is a critical component of the modern global strategy to overcome the challenges of chemical emergencies in both civilian and military populations, making my research highly significant.
Current grants in my lab are funded from the National Institutes of Health- Countermeasures Against Chemical Threats (NIH-CounterACT) program and the Department of Defense (DoD)–Congressionally Directed Medical research programs. The focus of studies under these grants is to investigate the role of mast cells and related inflammatory responses to elucidate skin, systemic and/or lung injury mechanisms that contribute to severe toxicity from phosgene oxime (NIH-CounterACT), and chronic sulfur mustard exposure that could contribute to multiple illnesses in Gulf war veterans (DoD). Outcomes from these studies are anticipated to identify novel molecular targets for therapeutic intervention and further drug development to effectively treat injuries from these chemical threat agents. Under other collaborative projects, we are studying mechanisms and testing as well as optimizing therapies to treat ocular injuries from chemical threat agents (vesicating agents, chloropicrin etc) and ocular inflammatory diseases (diabetic and non-diabetic corneal inflammation and dry eye). Additionally, we are elucidating the role of aryl hydrocarbon receptor in polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons-induced skin inflammatory diseases (psoriasis and atopic dermatitis) for better targeted treatment strategies.
I have an extensive background in molecular biology, medical chemical defense and toxicology. In my lab, we integrate clinical and biological responses, molecular toxicology, biochemistry, signal transduction, immunology, imaging, and cutting-edge systems toxicology ‘omics’ tools to elucidate toxic mechanisms (mainly related to inflammation, DNA damage and oxidative stress). For these studies, we employ in vivo (mice, rats, rabbits and mini-pigs), ex vivo (rabbit and human tissues) and in vitro (cell culture) model systems.