This Thursday, October 3, 7:00 pm, “Dolphins as Sentinels for Human
Health”, is the topic for our Sierra Club meeting at the Baruch
Auditorium on 284 Calhoun Street. The speakers
below all conduct research that is directly linked to the water
quality in Charleston Harbor and tied to human health in our own
Dr. Patricia Fair of the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration
(NOAA) and Dr. Diane Kamen will speak about the elevated levels of
environmental contaminants found in dolphins in Charleston Harbor and
the possible implications for human health. Dr. Fair’s studies have
focused on the toxicological effects of environmental contaminants on
health and disease in marine mammals. She initiated the Dolphin Health
and Risk Assessment Project (HERA) Project as a multidisciplinary,
collaborative effort to assess individual and population health in the
two coastal locations, Charleston, SC and the Indian River Lagoon, FL.
The Dolphin HERA Project has involved both U.S. and international
collaborations with over 40 researchers and institutions resulting in
over 70 publications on this project thus far. Dr. Kamen, a
rheumatologist at MUSC, is interested in the implications for human
health of the elevated levels of contaminants documented by Dr. Fair.
Could environmental contaminants found in seafood (such as that which
the dolphins eat) trigger human autoimmune diseases like lupus?
Dr. Patricia Fair is a research scientist at the National Ocean and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Charleston SC Center for Coastal
Environmental Biology and Biomolecular Research. She received her B.S.
and M.S. from the University of Maryland and Ph.D. from Clemson
University. She has been awarded twice the U.S. Department of Commerce
Bronze Medal Award for outstanding leadership roles and recently
NOAA’s distinguished career award. She also holds academic
affiliations as Adjunct and Associate Professor at several
universities and colleges including the College of Charleston, SC,
MUSC, Charleston, SC and Texas Tech University, TX.
Diane Kamen, MD, MSCR – Dr. Kamen is an Associate Professor of
Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina in the Division
of Rheumatology. She did her undergraduate work at Northwestern
University and then obtained her medical degree from the University of
Kansas School of Medicine in 1999. She completed Internal Medicine
residency followed by Rheumatology fellowship training at MUSC and
joined the Rheumatology faculty there in 2005. Dr. Kamen has a
clinical practice seeing patients with rheumatologic conditions such
as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma and Sjogren’s syndrome.
She also teaches medical students and residents as the co-Director of
the Rheumatology Curriculum and oversees the clinical research
operations as Director of Clinical Research for the Division of
Rheumatology. Her ongoing research focuses on the environmental and
epigenetic triggers of autoimmune diseases, particularly lupus.