Biomedical Sciences ETDs

Publication Date

Fall 11-14-2019


Hardrock mining in the United States (US) has left a legacy of mixed metal mine waste sites. Wastes may contain multiple metals of health concern, including arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, and uranium, among others. Mining waste sites are disproportionately located on or contiguous to the watersheds of tribal lands. Due to proximity, and because of reliance on natural resources to maintain traditional diets and customs, Native American communities’ contact with multiple metals is often increased. Two impacted communities are the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe (CRST) and Navajo Nation. Both tribes have expressed concerns that metals in mine waste adversely affect their communities’ health and report an elevated prevalence of autoimmune diseases. To examine the effects of mixed metals, we measured metals and autoimmune-associated markers. We found that metals and metal mixtures are associated with alterations in certain autoimmune markers such as autoantibodies and cytokines.


metals immune autoimmune cytokines autoantibodies uranium arsenic indigenous

Document Type




Degree Name

Biomedical Sciences

Level of Degree


Department Name

Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program

First Committee Member (Chair)

Johnnye Lewis

Second Committee Member

Debra MacKenzie

Third Committee Member

Laurie Hudson

Fourth Committee Member

Robert Rubin