Frances Belmonte

Frances R. Belmonte, Ph.D.

Senior Scientist
Chemical Regulation & Food Safety
District of Columbia

Dr. Belmonte is a multidisciplinary-trained toxicologist with conceptual knowledge and applied experience in the areas of biochemistry, biology, molecular biology, and in vivo and in vitro models. She received her PhD in Environmental Health Sciences - Molecular and Translational Toxicology from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. For her dissertation research, she investigated signaling pathways and mitochondrial function in a murine model with cardiomyocyte-specific over-expression of epidermal growth factor receptor 2. Prior to this, she earned her MS in Environmental Health Sciences with a concentration in toxicology from New York University’s Department of Environmental Medicine. She conducted her MS thesis research on Atlantic tomcod (Microgadus tomcod) to assess the effects of exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons benzo[a]pyrene, benz[a]anthracene, and phenanthrene; a polychlorinated biphenyl congener-77; and hexavalent chromium. Dr. Belmonte also completed post-doctoral research at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, where she performed metabolic phenotyping studies in mice, managed large animal cohorts, and conducted research that pertained to the mitochondrial genome. Dr. Belmonte has published several research articles in peer reviewed scientific journals and has presented her scientific research findings to audiences in academic and scientific forums.

Immediately prior to joining Exponent, Dr. Belmonte was a fellow at the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM) where she evaluated the toxicological profile of chemicals used in products developed and marketed by the fragrance industry, and composed fragrance material safety assessments for repeated dose, developmental, and reproductive toxicities. At RIFM, she also conducted read-across to bridge data gaps and utilized data from guideline toxicology studies to prepare fragrance safety assessments. She leverages these experiences to assist the CRFS center in performing literature searches, toxicology data review, and human health safety and risk assessments for chemicals, food, and consumer products.

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Environmental and Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, 2014
  • M.S., Environmental Health Sciences, New York University, 2009
  • B.S., Biochemistry, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 2005
  • University of Pittsburgh, Division of Endocrinology NIH T32 Fellowship, 2016-2018

    Stimulating Pittsburgh Research in Geroscience Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2016-2018

    Pitt-CIRTL Associate Certification in STEM Teaching, University of Pittsburgh, 2016

    National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)-supported training grant, 2009-2014

    Delta Omega Scientific Poster Competition Award, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2013

    National Capital Area Chapter of the Society of Toxicology Bern Schwetz Award, 2012

Publications

Frances R. Belmonte, Nikolaos Dedousis, Ian Sipula, Nikita A. Desai, Aatur D. Singhi, Yanxia Chu, Yingze Zhang, Sylvie Bannwarth, Véronique Paquis-Flucklinger, Lea Harrington, Sruti Shiva, Michael J. Jurczak, Robert M. O’Doherty, Brett A. Kaufman. Petite Integration Factor 1 (PIF1) helicase deficiency increases weight gain in Western diet-fed female mice without increased inflammatory markers or decreased glucose clearance. PLoS One, 2019; 14(5):e0203101.

Anne Marie Api, Frances Belmonte, Donald Belsito, Danielle Botelho, Magnus Bruze, G.A. Burton Jr., Joachim Buschmann, Maria L. Dagli, Mihir Date, Wolfgang Dekant, Chaitra Deodhar, Allison D. Fryer, Sanket Ghadia, Lea Jones, Kaushal Joshi, Stephanie La Cava, Aurelia Lapczynski, Maura Lavelle, Daniel C. Liebler, Mihwa Na, Devin O’Brien, Trevor M. Penning, Gretchen Ritacco, Jim Romine, Nikaeta Sadekar, Dan Salvito, Terry W. Schultz, I. Glenn Sipes, Gary Sullivan, Yax Thakkar, Yoshiki Tokura, Sai Yee Tsang. RIFM fragrance ingredient safety assessment, butyric acid, CAS Registry Number 107-92-6. Food and Chemical Toxicology, DOI: 10.1016/j.fct.2019.01.030.

Anne Marie Api, Frances Belmonte, Donald Belsito, Danielle Botelho, Magnus Bruze, G.A. Burton Jr., Joachim Buschmann, Maria L. Dagli, Mihir Date, Wolfgang Dekant, Chaitra Deodhar, Allison D. Fryer, Sanket Ghadia, Lea Jones, Kaushal Joshi, Stephanie La Cava, Aurelia Lapczynski, Maura Lavelle, Daniel C. Liebler, Mihwa Na, Devin O’Brien, Trevor M. Penning, Gretchen Ritacco, Jim Romine, Nikaeta Sadekar, Dan Salvito, Terry W. Schultz, I. Glenn Sipes, Gary Sullivan, Yax Thakkar, Yoshiki Tokura, Sai Yee Tsang. RIFM fragrance ingredient safety assessment, cyclohexanol, 4-(3-methylbutyl)-, CAS Registry Number 830322-14-0. Food and Chemical Toxicology, DOI: 10.1016/j.fct.2018.11.051.

Anne Marie Api, Frances Belmonte, Donald Belsito, Danielle Botelho, Magnus Bruze, G.A. Burton Jr., Joachim Buschmann, Maria L. Dagli, Mihir Date, Wolfgang Dekant, Chaitra Deodhar, Allison D. Fryer, Sanket Ghadia, Lea Jones, Kaushal Joshi, Stephanie La Cava, Aurelia Lapczynski, Maura Lavelle, Daniel C. Liebler, Mihwa Na, Devin O’Brien, Trevor M. Penning, Gretchen Ritacco, Jim Romine, Nikaeta Sadekar, Dan Salvito, Terry W. Schultz, I. Glenn Sipes, Gary Sullivan, Yax Thakkar, Yoshiki Tokura, Sai Yee Tsang. RIFM fragrance ingredient safety assessment, δ-3-carene, CAS Registry Number 13466-78-9. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2018; 122, S771-S779.

Anne Marie Api, Frances Belmonte, Donald Belsito, Danielle Botelho, Magnus Bruze, G.A. Burton Jr., Joachim Buschmann, Maria L. Dagli, Mihir Date, Wolfgang Dekant, Chaitra Deodhar, Allison D. Fryer, Sanket Ghadia, Lea Jones, Kaushal Joshi, Stephanie La Cava, Aurelia Lapczynski, Maura Lavelle, Daniel C. Liebler, Mihwa Na, Devin O’Brien, Trevor M. Penning, Gretchen Ritacco, Jim Romine, Nikaeta Sadekar, Dan Salvito, Terry W. Schultz, I. Glenn Sipes, Gary Sullivan, Yax Thakkar, Yoshiki Tokura, Sai Yee Tsang. RIFM fragrance ingredient safety assessment, ethyl trans-2-butenoate, CAS Registry Number 623-70-1. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2018; 122, S670-S679.

Evan H. Howlett, Nicholas Jensen, Frances Belmonte, Faria Zafar, Xiaoping Hu, Jillian Kluss, Birgitt Schüle, Brett A. Kaufman, J. Timothy Greenamyr, Laurie H. Sanders. LRRK2 G2019S-induced mitochondrial DNA damage is LRRK2 kinase dependent and inhibition restores mtDNA integrity in Parkinson’s Disease. Human Molecular Genetics, 2017; 26(22):4340-4351.

Frances Belmonte, James L. Martin, Kristin Frescura, Joana Damas, Filipe Pereira, Mark A. Tarnopolsky, Brett A. Kaufman. Digital PCR methods improve detection sensitivity and measurement precision of low abundance mtDNA deletions. Scientific Reports, 2016; 6: 25186.

Sylvie Bannwarth, Laetitia Berg-Alonso, Gaëlle Augé, Konstantina Fragaki, Jill E. Kolesar, Françoise Lespinasse, Sandra Lacas-Gervais, Fanny Burel-Vandenbos, Elodie Villa, Frances Belmonte, Jean- François Michiels, Jean-Ehrland Ricci, Romain Gherardi, Lea Harrington, Brett A. Kaufman, Véronique Paquis-Flucklinger. Inactivation of Pif1 helicase causes a mitochondrial myopathy with multiple mtDNA deletions in mice. Mitochondrion, 2016; S1567-7249(16)30008-3.

Polina Sysa-Shah, Carlo G. Tocchetti, Manveen Gupta, Peter P. Rainer, Xiaoxu Shen, Byung-Hak Kang, Frances Belmonte, Jian Li, Yi Xu, Xin Guo, Djahida Bedja, Wei Dong Gao, Nazareno Paolocci, Rutwik Rath, Douglas B Sawyer, Sathyamangla V. Naga Prasad, Kathleen Gabrielson. Bidirectional cross- regulation between ErbB2 and β-adrenergic signaling pathways. Cardiovascular Research, 2016; 109, 358- 373.

Frances Belmonte, Samarjit Das, Polina Sysa-Shah, Vidhya Sivakumaran, Brian Stanley, Xin Guo, Nazareno Paolocci, Miguel A Aon, Masaki Nagane, Periannan Kuppusamy, Charles Steenbergen, Kathleen L. Gabrielson. ErbB2 over-expression up-regulates anti-oxidant enzymes, reduces basal levels of reactive oxygen species and protects against doxorubicin cardiotoxicity. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol, 2015; 309(8): H1271-80.

Polina Sysa-Shah, Yi Xu, Xin Guo, Frances Belmonte, Byunghak Kang, Djahida Bedja, Scott Pin, Noriko Tsuchiya, and Kathleen Gabrielson. Cardiac-Specific Over-Expression of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 (ErbB2) Induces Pro-Survival Pathways and Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy in Mice. PLoS One, 2012; 7(8): e42805.

Peter Hewins, Frances Belmonte, J. Charles Jennette, Ronald J. Falk, Gloria A. Preston. Longitudinal Studies of Patients with ANCA Vasculitis Demonstrate Concurrent Reactivity to Complementary PR3 Protein Segments cPR3m and cPR3C and with no Reactivity to cPR3N. Autoimmunity, 2011; 44(2): 98- 106.

Selected Presentations

Conference Oral Presentations

“Digital PCR Methods Improve Detection Sensitivity and Measurement Precision of Low Abundance mtDNA Deletions,” Frances Belmonte, James Martin, Kristin Frescura, Joana Damas, Filipe Pereira, Mark Tarnolpolsky, Brett Kaufman. Stimulating Pittsburgh Research in Geroscience Healthy Aging Advance, 2016, Pittsburgh, PA, June 1, 2016.

Selected Conference Posters

“An Enhanced Oral Gavage One-Generation Reproductive Toxicity Study on Cyclamen Aldehyde,” Sai Yee Tsang, Frances Belmonte, Atish Patel, and Anne Marie Api. Society of Toxicology, Baltimore, MD, March 10-14, 2019.

“PIF1 helicase ablation induces metabolic alterations in high fat diet-fed mice,” Frances Belmonte, Nikolaos Dedousis, Nikita Desai, Aartur Singhi, Michael J. Jurczak, Robert M. O’Doherty, Brett A. Kaufman. FASEB Glucose Transport: Gateway for Metabolic Systems Biology Science Research Conference, Snow Mass, CO, July 16, 2017.

“Digital PCR Methods Improve Detection Sensitivity and Measurement Precision of Low Abundance mtDNA Deletions,” Frances Belmonte, James Martin, Kristin Frescura, Joana Damas, Filipe Pereira, Mark Tarnolpolsky, Brett Kaufman. NHLBI/NIDDK Mitochondrial Biology Symposium: Novel Roles of Mitochondria in Health and Disease 2016, Bethesda, MD, May 19-20, 2016.

“Myofilament Tyrosine Phosphorylation by Src Kinase is upregulated in ErbB2 Transgenic Mice,” Mingguo Xu, Genaro Ramirez-Correa, Zongming Fu, Polina Shah, Frances Belmonte, Kathleen Gabrielson, Anne Murphy. American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2015, Orlando, FL, November 7-11, 2015.

“Digital PCR Methods Improve Detection Sensitivity and Measurement Precision of Low Abundance mtDNA Deletions,” Frances Belmonte, James Martin, Joana Damas, Filipe Pereira, Brett Kaufman. Translational Research in Mitochondria, Aging, and Disease Symposium 2015, State College, PA, November 6-7, 2015.

“Chronic Over-Expression of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 (ErbB2) in the Heart Alters Redox-Sensitive Molecules that Modulate Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) Formation,” Frances Belmonte, Sam Das, Polina Sysa-Shah, Yi Xu, Vidhya Sivakumaran, Yongqing Zhang, Nazareno Paolocci, Charles Steenbergen, Kathleen Gabrielson. Society of Toxicology Conference 2013, San Antonio, TX, March 10-14, 2013.

Prior Experience

Postdoctoral Researcher, Research Institute for Fragrance Materials, 2018-2019

Postdoctoral Scholar, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 2015-2018

Faculty, Citizen Science Program, Bard College, 2018

Instructor, Undergraduate Level Foundations of Biology Lab, University of Pittsburgh, 2017

Postdoctoral Associate, Weill Cornell Medical College, 2014-2015

Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2009-2014

Teaching Assistant, Graduate Level Course-Environmental Toxicological Pathology, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2012

Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Environmental Medicine, New York University, 2007-2009

Professional Affiliations

Society of Toxicology, 2010-Present

Stimulating Pittsburgh Research in Geroscience, 2015- 2018

New York Academy of Sciences, 2014- 2015

National Capital Area Chapter of the Society of Toxicology, 2012-2014

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Environmental and Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, 2014
  • M.S., Environmental Health Sciences, New York University, 2009
  • B.S., Biochemistry, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 2005
  • University of Pittsburgh, Division of Endocrinology NIH T32 Fellowship, 2016-2018

    Stimulating Pittsburgh Research in Geroscience Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2016-2018

    Pitt-CIRTL Associate Certification in STEM Teaching, University of Pittsburgh, 2016

    National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)-supported training grant, 2009-2014

    Delta Omega Scientific Poster Competition Award, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2013

    National Capital Area Chapter of the Society of Toxicology Bern Schwetz Award, 2012