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Hypothesizing Onehealth Pollution Effects

About Our Research


Using OneHealth to improve public health.

“OneHealth” is the concept that human, environmental, and wildlife health are inextricably linked.  Our impact on the environment can be detected and monitored through studies of wild animals and plants, which can signal potential impacts to human users of the same natural resources.  Our research focuses on studies of wild bottlenose dolphins to understand more about marine plastic contamination and risks to seafood safety.

How prevalent are plasticizers?

Plastics contain harmful chemicals (“plasticizers”, e.g., phthalates) that can interfere with our hormone system.  We have been researching exposure to plasticizers in wild bottlenose dolphins to understand the extent and geographic scope of exposure.

What can we learn from humans?

Human epidemiological studies of microplastic and chemical plasticizer exposure have demonstrated significant health threats including endocrine disruption, inflammation, and an increased risk of cancer.  We can use these findings to target studies of health threats to exposed wildlife.

Is seafood safety at risk?

Our research suggests that bottlenose dolphin phthalate exposure may have a plastic origin, and we suspect their plastic exposure may come from the fish that they eat.  If so, what does that mean for human populations that rely on seafood as a main source of protein?

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Start Them Early!

We work with undergraduate students from a variety of Deparments and Schools across the College of Charleston campus including, public health, marine biology, and biochemistry.

Train, Train, Train

As adjunct faculty for the Environmental and Sustainability Studies and Marine Biology graduate programs, our master’s candidates offer a variety of field and laboratory skill sets.

Let Them Fly!

The College of Charleston does not offer a PhD in this field; however, through partnerships with the University of South Carolina, we are able to work with talented students training to launch their own research career.

Spread the Word

“Communication is not something that you add on to science; it is the essence of science” – Alan Alda

This Research is Brought to You By…

This research is highly collaborative and would not be possible without the support of many organizations and funding entities.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” – Helen Keller 

About Our Research

Interested in joining our team?

I am excited to join this lab because I’ve always been fascinated by how the environment can impact health. And who wouldn’t want to study dolphins?!

– Tita Curtin

I’m excited to join this lab because it is a great opportunity to gain new skills and experience.

– Eric Conger

Leslie Hart, PhD

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College of Charleston

66 George St.

Charleston, SC 29424

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