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Motoko Mukai

Motoko Mukai

Assistant Professor

249 Stocking Hall
(607) 255-1835

I am a toxicologist/veterinarian and interested in research that will advance and improve chemical food safety. There are strong interconnections between animal feed contamination and human food chemical safety issues. With globalization of the food market and in anticipation of a future food crisis, food production with the help of food technologies are inevitable in order for ensure human food security. On the other hand, safety of chemical compounds found in food, whether it is unintentional (e.g. packaging migrants, by-product of processing, pesticide and drug residues) or intentional (e.g. food additives and even worse in adulteration), is a growing concern. My lab is specifically focused on study of endocrine disruptors found in food.

Research Focus

Endocrine Disrupting Compounds (EDCs) are found ubiquitously in food and the environment and can cause adverse health effects by interfering with the endocrine system. Exposures to EDCs are often chronic, occur at low concentrations, and the effects may be subtle but can have significant consequences. For example, there is emerging evidence that some EDCs could act as ‘obesogens’ by affecting adipogenesis and lipid metabolism. Certain EDCs could also target critical stages of human and animal development. My laboratory is interested in how these EDCs that are ubiquitously detected in the environment and our diet, affect our health with particular focus on neurodevelopmental and reproductive functions. We use zebrafish to screen for toxic compounds in foods, beverages, and the environment and to understand underlining molecular mechanisms of endocrine disrupting effects of EDCs.

Teaching Focus

I teach Food Chemistry Laboratory (FDSC 4190), Food Toxicology section of Current Readings in Food Science (FDSC6950-202) and will be developing a course in Food Toxicology. I also teach/train undergraduate and graduate students in research and I encourage students to develop critical thinking.

Presentations and Activities

  • Chemical Hazards and Control Methods. 11th International Food Safety Conference. November 2016. FoodHACCP. Las Vegas, NV.
  • Chemical hazards in food safety. 9th International Conference of Food Safety and Quality. October 2014. FoodHACCP. Chicago, IL.