This week Hao Wang successfully defended his Ph.D. thesis, titled "Cadmium exposure impairs adult neurogenesis, cognition, and olfactory memory in mice." Dr. Wang is a trainee of Dr. Zhengui Xia's and has contributed to UW SRP Project 2 through his investigation of the role of cadmium exposure in the development of neurodegenerative disease.
Together Dr. Hao and Dr. Xia provided the first direct evidence of cadmium’s adverse effects on cognition and olfaction by using an animal model. Cadmium is a common toxic heavy metal pollutant produced by burning fossil fuels, smelting metals and using phosphate fertilizer. Plants readily take up cadmium from the soil and can introduce it to the food chain. When people ingest cadmium, it tends to stay in the body for a long time, having toxic effects on the kidneys, liver, bones, lungs and testes. Epidemiological studies also link cadmium exposure to impaired cognition and olfaction, but Wang’s research was the first to establish a direct causal relationship between cadmium exposure and cognitive and olfactory impairment.
Dr. Wang has support to continue his work in Dr. Xia's lab for the near future. We're happy that he won't be leaving us!