University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Fatima Zahoor



Undergraduate Research Award

School or College: 

School of Public Health and Health Sciences


Alicia Timme-Laragy


Fatima Zahoor is an undergraduate researcher pursuing a dual degree in Economics andBiochemistry and has been involved in developmental toxicology research throughout college under the mentorship of Dr. Alicia Timme-Laragy. Fatima’s experiences and studies in the intersectionality of health and society have made her passionate about family and community healing as she believes that to properly address health it is crucial to attend to the different environmental & social conditions that produce physical wounds in the first place.


The commonly found carcinogen, PFOS, is found in water, air, and soil almost everywhere in the world. Areas in the Pioneer Valley - particularly Westfield - have experienced high concentrations of PFOS in their underground water due to proximity to air bases, which has caused health problems in several households. In her project, Fatima is running PFOS exposures to quantify programmed cell death in the liver, olfactory bulbs, and heart of zebra fish - all of which directly align with human studies. To be more consistent in understanding familial ties in the fish, she is diligent in comparing the negative effects of PFOS across different lines of fish.Their difference tends to lie inactivation of a particular oxidative stress pathway (Nrf2). This project aims to determine whether activation of a functioning Nrf2 transcription factor is necessary for PFOS to induce programmed cell death.

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