A new open-access publication by Dr. Thea Edwards, Research faculty in Biology, has been made available online: Detecting Estrogenic Ligands in Personal Care Products using a Yeast Estrogen Screen Optimized for the Undergraduate Teaching Laboratory
Thanks to funding from the Associated Colleges of the South, Dr. Edwards collaborated with Prof. Alison Roark (Furman University) to produce a protocol for teaching fundamental laboratory skills to undergraduates in the framework of a formal course. The protocol exploits a well-established transgenic yeast-estrogen-screen with yeast that express human estrogen receptors. Students can use the method to test personal care products for the presence of estrogens and estrogen mimics. Estrogenic compounds are surprisingly common in personal care products and have the potential to disrupt hormonal function, especially in developing fetuses.
Overall, implementing this assay encourages students to engage in inquiry-based learning while exploring emerging issues in environmental science and health.