The EvoTox Lab combines molecular biology, evolution, and physiology to understand how species respond to environmental stressors. We work across all levels of biological organization, from genes and cells to whole organisms, populations, and ecosystems. We are currently working within the areas below:
Evolutionary Toxicology: Species responses to chemical exposures are underpinned by genetic, physiological, and ecological differences among organisms that have been shaped by evolution. We examine how species differ across levels of biological organization to understand the basis for species sensitivity to contaminants. Our aim is to ultimately build risk predictions across many species that will help prioritize ecological risk assessment.
Modernizing Ecological Risk Assessment: A major goal of our lab is to improve ecological risk assessment of chemicals using a combination of effects-based monitoring, high-throughput toxicity databases, and other new approach methods (NAMs). The goal is to reduce the use of animal testing and improve the accuracy of predictive risk models. (Supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of the District of Columbia, and Alexandria Renew Enterprises)
Stress and Immune Biomarker Development: Many types of environmental stressors, from contaminants to climate change, can ultimately impact physiological stress in animals, how they devote resources to different tasks, and their ability to mount effective immune responses. We focus on developing genetic and protein biomarkers to identify and characterize signs of stress and immune impairment in populations before downstream effects to fitness occur.
Evolution of Longevity, Aging, and 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. (Supported by the National Science Foundation)
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