Research Associate Professor
Department of Earth System Science & Policy
University of North Dakota
Nick received his Ph.D. in Biomedical Research from Mayo Graduate School in Rochester, MN where he studied biochemical mechanisms of disease. At Bowman Gray Medical School in Winston-Salem North Carolina, he studied stereochemistry specific reactions of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in relation to inflammation and the physiology of lipids that are unique to lysosomes. At the Human Nutrition Research Center in Grand Forks ND, he studied boron and selenium biochemistry and physiology.
He led the environmental health research program at UND’s Energy & Environmental Research Center for several years. He and his colleagues identified the five biochemical mechanisms of mercury toxicity and developed the “Health Benefit Value” concept which is currently the only reliable index of risks or benefits associated with maternal consumption of fish during pregnancy. His ongoing work with NOAA and EPA examines interactions between mercury and selenium in relation to maternal consumption of ocean and/or fresh water fish and he is developing international studies of these and related issues pertaining to resistance to certain viral diseases which employ selenium theft sequences (nucleotide sequences which divert selenium from host proteins) as part of their pathogenic mechanism.
For more information, visit: net-effects.und.edu
Nicholas Ralston is the Executive Director of Sage Green NRG with a part time appointment teaching Environmental Health for the Masters in Public Health program at the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences. His teaching and research interests involve identifying biomolecular mechanisms of toxicity, establishing pathophysiological effects of biochemical interactions among toxicants, nutrients, pharmaceuticals, and pathogens. His other areas of interest pertain to enhancing energy access, preserving and enhancing the global environment, and addressing economic and social justice issues.