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Our Stories: Jennifer Freeman

Jennifer Freeman

Jennifer Freeman, Ph.D.,
Associate Professor
Toxicology and Health Sciences

How do the chemicals you’re exposed to every day in your environment affect your health and your chances of getting cancer? That’s the question at the heart of research by Jennifer Freeman.

“I believe this is a very important problem in public health,” Freeman says. “There is a great lack of knowledge on if and how the large number of environmental chemicals in which we are exposed everyday may influence cancer and other diseases.”

Once Freeman and her team at the Purdue University Center for Cancer Research identify a potential problem with those environmental chemicals, the researchers work to determine the molecular mechanisms by which the adverse health effects are occurring.

“Once we understand the underlying molecular components, we can use our research to identify the best treatment options for patients with various types of cancer,” Freeman says.

“We can also apply our research to cancer prevention, to help people avoid exposure to chemicals that may contribute to cancer development.”

But Freeman and her team aren’t just interested in studying the effects of those chemicals on adults. They want to understand the impacts the chemicals have on children and work to cut down the risk of cancer later in life.

“Most of our studies are focused on early developmental exposures since this is one of the most sensitive life stages,” Freeman says.

“We study the immediate effects of the developmental exposure and the potential impacts from this developmental exposure later in life.”

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