On the morning of April 4th, 2019, Canadian Academician X. Chris Le visited Wuhan University and gave a presentation to students and teachers at the reception hall of WHU’s landmark building -- The Old Library. The presentation topic is “Bioanalytical chemistry enabling environmental health research”. Chinese Academician Lina Zhang presented the certification from Wuhan University to Dr. X. Chris Le amid warm applause from students and teachers.
Dr. X. Chris Le is an alumnus and guest professor of Wuhan University. At the beginning of his presentation, Dr. X. Chris Le recalled his college life at Wuhan University and gave the respect to his mentors who led him to an interest in analytical chemistry. Following education experience broadened his interests deep in analytical chemistry and environmental health. Since joining in University of Alberta as a faculty member at 1995, Dr. X. Chris Le actively pursues research involving bioanalytical chemistry and environmental health sciences, including bioanalytical technology, environmental health, DNA-protein binding, arsenic health effect, etc.
In his presentation, Dr. X. Chris Le pointed out the importance of analytical chemistry to environmental studies that analytical techniques are the prerequisite to study the environmental exposure and health effect. Dr. X. Chris Le provided an example on arsenic to show how bioanalytical chemistry enable environmental health research. The motivation for arsenic research is that arsenic is an environmental toxicant which also has therapeutic uses with the mechanism not well understood. Arsenic has more than 100 species of very different toxicities, therefore, developing analytical method for arsenic speciation is of great significance for arsenic health effect study.
Dr. X. Chris Le conducted a Layer-by-layer depth research on arsenic: developing analytical techniques for arsenic speciation, assessing human exposure to arsenic, understanding arsenic metabolism/biomethylation, studying arsenic health effect, and elucidating molecular mechanisms. Firstly, Dr. X. Chris Le developed a hyphenated technique by coupling high performance liquid chromatography separation with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry and electrospray mass spectrometry as parallel detectors. Based on the developed analytical method, they quantitatively analyzed the feed additive of Roxarsone and its metabolites in different organs of chicken, designed and conducted a controlled feeding study that involved 1600 chickens, gain an understanding on the metabolism of Roxarsone in chicken body, analyzed the residual arsenic species in chicken and assessed their toxicities, providing the scientific basis to discontinue using Rosarsone as feed additive. Regard to biomethylation and biotransformation of arsenic, the role of the arsenic S-adenosylmethionine methyltransferase enzyme was studied. For further understanding the arsenic health effect, the effect of arsenic on DNA repair and the binding between arsenic and proteins were studied. The research results contribute to develop the standard for environmental arsenic regulation.
Dr. X. Chris Le is a Fellow of the Academy of Science of the Royal Society of Canada, a chief scientist in Bio-Analytical Technology and Environmental Health in Canada, a Distinguished University Professor of Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology and the Director of the Analytical and Environmental Toxicology Division at University of Alberta. He is an Associate Editor for Analytical Chemistry, Associate Editor for Environmental Health Perspectives, and Editor-in-Chief for Journal of Environmental Sciences. He has over 300 publications in Science, etc. He has received more than 20 awards including an E.W.R. Steacie Fellowship (2000-2001) from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), a McBryde Medal (2002), a Maxxam Award (2011) and an Environment Research and Development Award (2011) from the Canadian Society for Chemistry, and the University Cup (2018) from the University of Alberta, etc.