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Personalizing Medicine

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DNA is the essence of biological diversity. But it's responsible for more than just the basics like eye color, hair texture or height. At a less visible level, DNA also varies our bodies' reactions to our environment. It's also the foundation of personalized medicine, a developing medical model that takes our genetic differences into account.

This new approach may reshape the future of diagnostics. But to get there, environmental effects on DNA need to be understood. That's where Douglas Ruden, Ph.D., associate professor and director of epigenomics at WSU's Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, comes in. As part of his extensive research on lead exposures genetic effects, Ruden is searching for genetic signatures of lead sensitivity to refine prevention and treatment of lead poisoning, which according to the City of Detroit has affected 58 percent of Detroit Public Schools' students.