New Approach Methods in Toxicology
We apply concepts from evolutionary biology to understand how species differ in sensitivity to environmental contaminants. We also combine computational toxicology, high-throughput toxicity testing, and molecular biology to improve the accuracy of chemical risk prediction and reduce animal testing.
- 2021-2023. Bayer AG. Development of a nematode high-throughout toxicity testing system.
- 2022-2023. Alexandria Renew Enterprises. Presence, principle sources, and ecological risk of PFAS in the tidal freshwater Potomac River.
- 2021-2022. George Mason Seed Grant. Legacy and current chemical pollution as drivers of avian species declines in the Amazon
- 2021-2022. George Mason Seed Grant. What’s on tap? Mapping complex exposures in drinking water to human health outcomes.
Species Responses to Global Change
Many types of environmental stressors, from contaminants to climate change to habitat loss, can impact population viability in animals. We use a multidisciplinary approach including stress physiology, conservation genetics, and immunology to better understand how species will respond to environmental change. Example projects include conservation genetics of endangered Kemp's ridley sea turtles, assessing the ability for amphibians to fend off dangerous diseases, investigating trends in harmful algal toxin production in response to climate change, and using environmental DNA (eDNA) to better predict trends in animal population sizes.
- 2022-2027. U.S. Geological Survey. Critical review and validation of an immune response assay in amphibians
- 2021-2022. Eppley Foundation. Protecting the critically endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtle from extinction using genetic analysis
- 2021-2022. 4-VA. Are toxic cyanobacteria and emerging health threat in Virginia?
Evolution of Aging & Cancer
We use evolutionary comparative approaches to understand the genetic and physiological basis of how different species deal with the challenges of aging and cancer. We focus on non-mammalian systems to offer new perspectives or mechanisms that have been neglected by medical biology.
- 2021-2024. NSF IOS-PSS-IEP #2028459. Determining the role of ER stress in the evolution of large bodies and long lifespans.
- 2018-2020. NSF EPSCoR #1833065. A Functional Genomics Approach to Explain the Evolution of Large Bodies and Long Lifespans.
We use video making and K-12 outreach to help foster the next generation of environmental leaders.
- 2020-2022. NOAA Marine Debris Prevention Program. A Community Approach to Reducing Single-Use Plastic Beverage Bottles