what we do

At our secret headquarters in room A304 of the Levine Science Research Center on the Duke University campus in Durham, North Carolina, we use the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, a versatile model organism, as well as cells in culture in experiments aimed at improving environmental health. Our efforts range from studying the effects of environmental stressors at the molecular and cellular level to effects on the organism as a whole. We have a special interest in mitochondria, and mitochondrial and nuclear DNA damage. By collaborating with other researchers, we also study environmental health in people, other model organisms, and ecosystems.

If you are unfamiliar with environmental toxicology, mitochondria and mitochondrial DNA, nanomaterials, or C. elegans (“worms”), click the links below for brief in

Partial lab picture; missing Latasha Smith, Rashmi Joglekar, and Tess Leuthner

Partial lab picture; missing Latasha Smith, Rashmi Joglekar, and Tess Leuthner


how we do it

We have joined forces with other Duke ecoteams to battle eco-evil:

Including regional groups:


Here are some recent publications from our band of green crimefighters. For a full list, please click here for Dr. Meyer’s CV.

Effects of methyl and inorganic mercury exposure on genome homeostasis and mitochondrial function in Caenorhabditis elegans. DNA Repair, 2017.

Biogas stoves reduce firewood use, household air pollution, and hospital visits in Odisha, India. Environmental Science and Technology, 2017.

Arsenite uncouples mitochondrial respiration and induces a Warburg-like effect in Caenorhabditis elegans. Toxicological Sciences, 2016. (cover feature)

In vivo determination of mitochondrial function using luciferase-expressing Caenorhabditis elegans: contribution of oxidative phosphorylation, glycolysis, and fatty acid oxidation to toxicant-induced mitochondrial dysfunction. Current Protocols in Toxicology, 2016.

Antagonistic growth effects of mercury and selenium in Caenorhabditis elegans are chemical species-dependent and do not depend on internal Hg/Se ratios. Environmental Science and Technology, 2016.

A systematic review of evidence for silver nanoparticle-induced mitochondrial toxicity. Environmental Science: Nano, 2016

PCR-based analysis of mitochondrial DNA copy number, mitochondrial DNA damage, and nuclear DNA damage. Current Protocols in Toxicology, 2016.

Intracellular trafficking pathways in silver nanoparticle uptake and toxicity in Caenorhabditis elegans. Nanotoxicology, 2016.

Seahorse Extracellular Flux-based analysis of cellular respiration in Caenorhabditis elegans. Current Protocols in Toxicology, 2015.

Mitochondrial morphology and fundamental parameters of the mitochondrial respiratory chain are altered in Caenorhabditis elegans deficient in mitochondrial dynamics and homeostasis processes. PLoS ONE, 2015.

Exposure to mitochondrial genotoxicants and dopaminergic neurodegeneration in adult Caenorhabditis elegans. PLoS ONE, 2014.

Assessing Different Mechanisms of Toxicity in Mountaintop Removal/Valley Fill Coal Mining-Affected Watershed Samples Using Caenorhabditis elegans. PLoS ONE, 2013.

Mitochondria as a target of environmental toxicantsToxicological Sciences, 2013. (cover feature)