Yoon Hee received her Ph.D. in Public Health under Dr. Hai Won Chung from Seoul National University in South Korea in 2006. Following a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Santella in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at Columbia University in New York, she moved to The University of Montana as Assistant Professor in 2012. Yoon Hee Cho is a faculty member in the Department of Biomedical & Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Center for Environmental Health Sciences (CEHS).
PHAR 444 - Pharmacol/Tox II
PHAR 559 - Public Health & Pharmacoeconomics
BMED 642 - Toxicology II
BMED 643 - Cellular and Molecualar Toxicology
BMED 593 - Current Research Literature
Epigenetic alterations underlie a wide variety of pathologies, including cancer, by regulating gene activity. There is a great deal of potential for the use of epigenetics as biomarkers for better understanding the early stage biological response and molecular mechanisms. The research in my lab focuses on identifying environmental epigenetic biomarkers and understanding their relationship to risk of disease.
Epigenetic studies in inflammation
My most recent basic research focuses on the development of epigenetic biomarkers and determining their relationship to environmental exposure and the risk of pulmonary dysfunction. After joining the Center for Environmental Health Sciences (CEHS) as a new faculty member in 2012, I started using murine models to examine epigenetic alterations and pulmonary dysfunction after exposure to nanomaterials that play a significant role in lung disease. In particular, I am currently researching the effect of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT), a new type of engineered nanomaterial, on lung disease and exposure-induced epigenetic alterations. This aforementioned study aims to help identify environmental epigenetic biomarkers for MWCNT exposure and their relationship to MWCNT-induced pulmonary fibrosis and inflammation. I am also working on identifying the relationship between epigenetic biomarkers and indoor PM and dietary exposures in asthmatic children. In addition, I am studying the effect of in utero environmental tobacco smoke exposure on adverse respiratory outcomes in offspring.
Epigenetic studies and environmental factors
I examined the influence of environmental factors (i.e. age) and personal living style (i.e. diet, smoking and drinking) in epigenetic patterns as a means for understanding the onset of chronic disease. Recently, I determined the effects of age, tobacco smoking and alcohol drinking status on global DNA methylation in healthy subjects. In addition, I researched the impact of a high fat diet on methylation patterns in mice.
Epigenetic studies in breast cancer
I conducted several breast cancer studies using two large cohorts: Long Island Breast Cancer Study Project and Breast Cancer Family Registry. Within these projects, I focused on the development of epigenetic biomarkers, specifically global and gene-specific methylation for risk of breast cancer.
Kim YA, Yoon YS, Kim HS, Jeon SJ, Cole E, Lee J, Kho Y, Cho YH*. Distribution of fipronil in humans, and adverse health outcomes of in utero fipronil sulfone exposure in newborns. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, In press (2019)
Cho YH*, Jang Y, Woo HD, Kim YJ, Kim SY, Christensen S, Cole E, Choi SY, Chung HW. LINE-1 hypomethylation and radiation-induced genomic instability in industrial radiographers. Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis, In press (2018).
Kim SJ, Cho YH, Lee I, Kim W, Won S, Ku JL, Moon HB, Park J, Kim S, Choi G, Choi K. Prenatal exposure to persistent organic pollutants and methylation of LINE-1 and imprinted genes in placenta: A CHECK cohort study. Environment International 119:398-406 (2018).
Cole E, Brown TA, Pinkerton K, Postma B, Malany K, Yang M, Holian A, Cho YH*. Prenatal and early-life exposure to environmental tobacco smoke is associated with changes in DNA methylation that precede the adult onset of lung disease in mouse model. Inhalation Toxicology 29(10): 435-442 (2017).
Christensen C, Jaffar Z, Cole B, Porter V, Ferrini M, Postma B, Pinkerton KE, Yang M, Kim YJ, Montrose L, Roberts K, Holian A, Cho YH*. Prenatal environmental tobacco smoke exposure increases allergic asthma risk with methylation changes in mice. Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis 58(6): 423-433 (2017).
Montrose L, Ward TJ, Semmens EO, Cho YH, Brown B, Noonan CW. Dietary intake is associated with respiratory health outcomes and DNA methylation in children with asthma. Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology. 13:12 (2017).
McCullough LE, Chen J, Cho YH, Khankari NK, Bradshaw PT, White AJ, Teitelbaum SL, Terry MB, Neugut AI, Hibshoosh H, Santella RM, Gammon MD. Modification of the association between recreational physical activity and survival after breast cancer by promoter methylation in breast cancer-related genes. Breast Cancer Research. 19 (1):19 (2017).
Kim YA, Kho Y, Chun KC, Koh JW, Park JW, Bunderson-Schelvan M, Cho YH*. Increased urinary phthalate levels in women with uterine leiomyoma: a case-control study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 13(12): E1247 (2016).
Cho YH*, Kim SY, Woo HD, Kim YJ, Ha SW, Chung HW. Delayed Numerical Chromosome Aberrations in Human Fibroblasts by Low Dose of Radiation. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2015 Dec 1;12(12):15162-72. doi: 10.3390/ijerph121214979. PubMed PMID: 26633443; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4690915.
White AJ, Chen J, Teitelbaum SL, McCullough LE, Xu X, Hee Cho Y, Conway K, Beyea J, Stellman SD, Steck SE, Mordukhovich I, Eng SM, Beth Terry M, Engel LS, Hatch M, Neugut AI, Hibshoosh H, Santella RM, Gammon MD. Sources of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are associated with gene-specific promoter methylation in women with breast cancer. Environ Res. 2016 Feb;145:93-100. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2015.11.033. Epub 2015 Dec 6. PubMed PMID: 26671626; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4706465.
Brown TA, Lee JW, Holian A, Porter V, Fredriksen H, Kim M, Cho YH*. Alterations in DNA methylation corresponding with lung inflammation and as a biomarker for disease development after MWCNT exposure. Nanotoxicology. 2015 Sep 16:1-9. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 26375518.
White AJ, Chen J, McCullough LE, Xu X, Cho YH, Teitelbaum SL, Neugut AI, Terry MB, Hibshoosh H, Santella RM, Gammon MD.Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)-DNA adducts and breast cancer: modification by gene promoter methylation in a population-based study. Cancer Causes Control. 2015 Dec;26(12):1791-802. doi: 10.1007/s10552-015-0672-7. Epub 2015 Sep 25. PubMed PMID: 26407953; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4763714.
Lee JW, Jaffar Z, Pinkerton KE, Porter V, Postma B, Ferrini M, Holian A, Roberts K, Cho YH*. Alterations in DNA methylation and airway hyperreactivity in response to in utero exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. Inhal Toxicol. 2015;27(13):724-30. doi: 10.3109/08958378.2015.1104402. Epub 2015 Nov 2. PubMed PMID: 26525176; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4760648.
Cho YH, McCullough LE, Gammon MD, Wu HC, Zhang YJ, Wang Q, Xu X, Teitelbaum SL, Neugut AI, Chen J, Santella RM.Promoter Hypermethylation in White Blood Cell DNA and Breast Cancer Risk. J Cancer. 2015 Jul 15;6(9):819-24. doi: 10.7150/jca.12174. eCollection 2015. PubMed PMID: 26284132; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4532978.
Cho YH*, Woo HD, Jang Y, Porter V, Christensen S, Hamilton RF Jr, Chung HW. The Association of LINE-1 Hypomethylation with Age and Centromere Positive Micronuclei in Human Lymphocytes. PLoS One. 2015 Jul 21;10(7):e0133909. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0133909. eCollection 2015. PubMed PMID: 26196382; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4510364.
Montrose L, Noonan CW, Cho YH, Lee J, Harley J, O'Hara T, Cahill C, Ward TJ. Evaluating the effect of ambient particulate pollution on DNA methylation in Alaskan sled dogs: potential applications for a sentinel model of human health. Sci Total Environ. 2015 Apr 15;512-513:489-94. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.12.046. Epub 2015 Jan 30. PubMed PMID: 25644845; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4339619.
Tehranifar P, Wu HC, Fan X, Flom JD, Ferris JS, Cho YH, Gonzalez K, Santella RM, Terry MB. Early life socioeconomic factors and genomic DNA methylation in mid-life. Epigenetics. 2013 Jan;8(1):23-7. doi: 10.4161/epi.22989. Epub 2012 Nov 29. PubMed PMID: 23196856; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3549876.
Lee Y, Kim YJ, Choi YJ, Lee JW, Lee S, Cho YH, Chung HW. Radiation-induced changes in DNA methylation and their relationship to chromosome aberrations in nuclear power plant workers. Int J Radiat Biol. 2015 Feb;91(2):142-9. doi: 10.3109/09553002.2015.969847. Epub 2015 Jan 30. PubMed PMID: 25264146.
Hong S, Choi WJ, Kwon HJ, Cho YH, Yum HY, Son DK. Effect of prolonged breast-feeding on risk of atopic dermatitis in early childhood. Allergy Asthma Proc. 2014 Jan-Feb;35(1):66-70. doi: 10.2500/aap.2014.35.3716. PubMed PMID: 24433599.
Cho YH, Shen J, Gammon MD, Zhang YJ, Wang Q, Gonzalez K, Xu X, Bradshaw PT, Teitelbaum SL, Garbowski G, Hibshoosh H, Neugut AI, Chen J, Santella RM. Prognostic significance of gene-specific promoter hypermethylation in breast cancer patients.Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2012 Jan;131(1):197-205. doi: 10.1007/s10549-011-1712-y. Epub 2011 Aug 12. PubMed PMID: 21837480; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3576848.
Cho YH, Yazici H, Wu HC, Terry MB, Gonzalez K, Qu M, Dalay N, Santella RM. Aberrant promoter hypermethylation and genomic hypomethylation in tumor, adjacent normal tissues and blood from breast cancer patients. Anticancer Res. 2010 Jul;30(7):2489-96. PubMed PMID: 20682973; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3568974.
Yazici H, Terry MB, Cho YH, Senie RT, Liao Y, Andrulis I, Santella RM. Aberrant methylation of RASSF1A in plasma DNA before breast cancer diagnosis in the Breast Cancer Family Registry. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2009 Oct;18(10):2723-5. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-08-1237. Epub 2009 Sep 15. PubMed PMID: 19755643; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3791602.
Cho YH, Jeon HK, Chung HW. Effects of extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields on delayed chromosomal instability induced by bleomycin in normal human fibroblast cells. J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2007 Aug;70(15-16):1252-8. PubMed PMID: 17654242.
Departments and Centers
Center for Environmental Health Sciences