Dr. Mazumdar was a panelist for the Forum’s discussion on Lead Contamination Beyond Flint.
Dr. Maitreyi Mazumdar’s program focuses on the role environmental hazards play in the development of neural tube defects. Neural tube defects, including anencephaly and spina bifida, are birth defects caused by failure of the developing neural plate for fold in the first few weeks of gestations, causing death and disability in surviving children. The study of neural tube defects also provides a unique opportunity to learn about how environmental hazards affect the developing nervous system. Neural tube defects are flagrantly visible in newborns, and represent a severe form of injury that is likely common with those in many other neurological disorders that are more difficult to detect and classify. Better understanding of the environmental influences that increase neural tube risk has the potential to lead to more focused interrogation of biological processes of other disorders of the developing nervous system that may have important environmental factors.
Dr. Mazumdar’s studies take place in Bangladesh, where an estimated 70 million people have been chronically exposed to high concentrations of arsenic through contaminated drinking water, beginning in the 1980s.