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Member Profiles

Raul Ponce-Hernandez


Carolyn Kapron

Between 3 and 7 per cent of newborn infants have a developmental malformation. While in some cases the cause of the malformation can be traced to a particular environmental agent or a particular mutated gene, in the vast majority of cases no particular cause can be pinpointed. It is thought that in many cases the cause is a multifactorial one. In other words, several elements have brought about the malformation, and in the end a malformation occurred because of a combination of genetic and environmental factors. While only a few environmental factors have been positively identified as ones that cause birth defects, many chemicals and drugs are suspected of doing so. In almost all cases, it is not known how the particular environmental factor has damaged the embryo's cells to lead to a malformation. Neither is it known why some embryos are susceptible and others are not. Using mice as a model system, my research attempts to identify the damage that is done at the level of the embryonic cells and to determine whether there are means by which the embryo naturally protects itself from harm. At the same time as having a practical application of possibly reducing the risk of birth defects in susceptible individuals, a more theoretical aspect of biology can also be explored--that is the ways in which an embryo can respond to a changing environment at the level of its cells.

Journal Articles

Kapron, C.M. and D.G. Trasler. 1997. Genetic determinants of abnormal development in mouse and rat embryos in vitro. Int. J. Dev. Biol. 41: 37-344.
Sylvester, L., C.M. Kapron and C. Smith. 2000. In utero ethanol exposure decreases rapid eye movement sleep in female Sprague-Dawley rat offspring. Neuroscience Letters. 289: 13-16.
Warren, S., Patel, S. and C.M. Kapron. 2000. The effect of vitamin E exposure on cadmium toxicity in mouse embryo cells in vitro. Toxicology 142: 119-126.
Doyle, D. and C.M. Kapron. 2002. Manganese-induced toxicity in micromass cultures of mouse embryo limb bud cells. Toxicology In Vitro 16:101-6.
Kapron C. 2002 Identification of the mouse Loop-tail gene: a model for human craniorachischisis? Bioessays. 24:580-3.
Haberstroh, K., and C.M. Kapron. 2003. Induction of the JNK
signaling pathway by cadmium in mouse midbrain cells in micromass culture. In preparation.
Lu, J., and C.M. Kapron. 2003. Differential induction of stress signaling pathways by cadmium in primary cultures of mouse embryo limb bud and midbrain cells. In preparation.
MacKinnon, Y., and C. M. Kapron. 2003. Glutathione protects cultured murine embryonic cells from cadmium-induced inhibition of proliferation and differentiation and prevents the activation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase. In preparation.

Abstracts of Meeting Presentations
Haberstroh, K.M.W., and C.M. Kapron. 1998. Cellular mechanisms of cadmium embryonic toxicity. Teratology 57: 228.
Haberstroh, K.M.W., and C.M. Kapron. 1999. Cadmium-induced stress signaling pathways in mouse midbrain cells in micromass culture. Teratology 59: 451.
Lu, J., and C.M. Kapron. 2000. Toxicant-induced stress signaling pathways in primary cultures of mouse embryo limbbud and midbrain cells. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Federation of Biological Societies, Ottawa.
MacKinnon, Y.M.W., and C.M. Kapron. 2001. Indirect evidence for the involvement of reactive oxygen species in the toxicity of cadmium in mouse embryo limb bud cell culture. Teratology 63: 294.

Associated Organizations

The Teratology Society
The Society of Toxicology of Canada
The Canadian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular and Cellular Biology

Courses currently taught:

Biology 103H, Current Issues in Biology II (Molecular and Cell Biology section)
Biology 207H Cell Biology
Biology 408H Developmental Biology
Biology 416H Immunology
Biology 445 Internship in Health Sciences (course coordinator)

Graduate Student Projects Related to Health

Charbonneau, M. (M.Sc. expected 2005) Inhibition of the Immune Response by Pesticide Exposure in Frogs
Cheng, L. (M.Sc. expected 2004) The Role of c-jun in Cadmium Induced Embryotoxicity
MacKinnon, Y. (M.Sc. 2002) The Role of Oxidative Stress in Cadmium Toxicity and the Cadmium-Induced Activation of the Stress-Activated Protein Kinase (SAPK) in Primary Cultures of Mouse Embryo Limb Bud Cells
Liu, J., (M.Sc. 2001) Cadmium-Induced Activation of Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Pathways and Cytotoxicity Effects in Primary Cultures of Mouse Embryonic Cells.
Haberstroh, K. (M.Sc. 1999) Cadmium-Induced Cell Toxicity and Stress-Activated Protein Kinase Induction in the Midbrain Cells of Two Strains of Mice.

Research Projects and Grants

1998-2002 Cellular mechanisms of cadmium-induced embryotoxicity. (NSERC Operating)
2000-2001 Oxidative stress and cell signaling pathways in teratogenesis (Trent NSERC Committee)
2001 Centrifuge (with S. Rafferty (lead) and J.Yee) (NSERC equipment)
2002-2004 Stress signal transduction pathways and embryotoxicity (NSERC Operating)

Associated Links

is a good source of information about birth defects, with information about courses related to health, and links to health-related information from other institutions

contains links to Toxicology training programs, and Toxicology related sites

is a source of information about the safety of drugs and chemicals during pregnancy

provides a variety of information, including tutorials about medical conditions and procedures that are of interest to the general public

provides access to Medline citations, as well as links to genome and protein databases, textbooks and more.





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