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Your Environment. Your Health.

Harmful Algal Blooms and Your Health

Partnerships for Environmental Public Education (PEPH)

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Harmful Algal Blooms and Your Health

June 20, 2018

Expert: Daniel Baden, Ph.D.

Algae are organisms that get their energy from the sun and live in aquatic and marine environments. Some types of algae are small, single-celled organisms. Different factors such as light, temperature, and available nutrient levels can trigger some types of algae to produce toxins. Harmful algal blooms are overgrowths of toxin-producing algae in natural bodies of water, such as oceans, lakes, and rivers. These toxins can cause serious harm to people, fish, and other parts of the ecosystem.

In this podcast, hear more about the adverse impacts of toxins from harmful algal blooms on human health, ecosystems, and the economy. In addition, learn how scientists are exploring the use of toxins and other chemicals released by these algae to treat certain diseases.

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Daniel Baden, Ph.D., is an expert in biochemistry and distinguished professor in marine sciences at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW).

He is a renowned expert in marine biomedical sciences, with more than 40 years of research experience dedicated to examining the molecular mechanisms underlying the harmful effects of exposure to two algal toxin groups, called brevetoxins and ciguatoxins, that can be found in oceans. His research has examined the respiratory effects of inhaled Florida red tide brevetoxins, and he has developed high affinity probes to detect these harmful toxins in humans, fish, and other marine animals.

Baden served as director of the UNCW Center for Marine Science for 16 years promoting basic and applied research in the fields of oceanography, coastal and wetland studies, marine biomedical and environmental physiology, and marine biotechnology and aquaculture. In 2015, Baden assumed the role of executive principal investigator of MARBIONC, a research and development program at UNCW designed to stimulate economic expansion in North Carolina through the discovery, development, and marketing of new products derived from laboratory-cultured marine organisms, including algae.

In addition to grant funding from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and other NIH institutes, Baden’s work is part of the National Institute for Innovation in the Manufacturing of Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL). NIIMBL is funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the U.S. Department of Commerce.

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