Dr. Grace Chappell is a Senior Scientist with ToxStrategies and is based in Austin, Texas. Dr. Chappell has experience in investigating and assessing the underlying molecular mechanisms of carcinogenesis associated with exposure to chemicals commonly found in the environment and/or occupational settings. She received her MSPH and Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences and Engineering from UNC-Chapel Hill by completing research on epigenetic mechanisms (e.g., DNA methylation, chromatin modifications, and microRNA expression) involved in chemical-induced carcinogenesis. To date, her projects have largely focused on epigenetic alterations that appear to be pertinent in tumorigenic processes in organisms exposed to DNA-damaging chemicals. Dr. Chappell is skilled in computational methods (e.g., quantification of differential signals across many endpoints, identification of functional relevance of genetic/epigenetic signatures) and tools (e.g., R, GSEA, BLAST) for analyzing large “-omics” data sets and developing strategies for data visualization.
Dr. Chappell has been a member of global collaborations in epigenetic research, and has experience obtaining and evaluating data from publically available data sets and online databases, such as those provided by The Cancer Genome Atlas, the National Center for Biotechnology Information and the Molecular Signature Database, among others. These investigations have been conducted to aid in evaluating and characterizing cross-species similarities and differences, and phenotype-genetic signal associations for application to environmental, food, and consumer product issues, as well as pharmaceutical applications. She has implemented some of these methods while providing support for Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) determinations on food products that include genetically engineered organisms. Dr. Chappell has experience in both collecting and reviewing mechanistic data to enable a better understanding of human health hazards posed by exposure to toxic substances, and she has conducted systematic reviews of the scientific literature to characterize such mechanistic data. She is an expert in using tools that facilitate components of systematic review, including searching (e.g., SWIFT, a text-mining and machine-learning tool) and implementation (e.g., HAWC).
Dr. Chappell has presented her research at national and international scientific meetings, and reported her findings in peer-reviewed scientific journal articles. She also has extensive experience in cytogenetic analysis for clinical diagnostics, including karyotypic evaluation of solid tumors, hematopoietic cancers, and prenatal genetic screening, as well as experience with a variety of molecular assays (e.g., fluorescent in situ hybridization, array comparative genomic hybridization, and DNA and RNA sequencing).