Students and Post-doctoral Students
Dan is a 3rd year doctoral student in the Richard Di Giulio laboratory. He has been working on projects relating to aquatic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) exposure and my current research focuses on Aim 3 of the Superfund grant: Early life exposure to PAH mixtures in Fundulus heteroclitus and later life consequences. Our lab has worked extensively with acute embryonic exposures to PAHs in both f. heteroclitus and zebrafish (causes “tube heart” or “stringy heart” in both species and pericardial edema); however, little is known about more subtle consequences of low level exposures to PAHs. Dan is interested in low level exposure to PAHs and the growing concern that early life exposure can have significant consequences that persist into adulthood. This project integrates fish behavioral assays using the expertise of the behavioral core led by Dr. Ed Levin. The project will also introduce additional swimming performance based assays using a swimming tunnel. Changes in fish morphology will also be noted utilizing the expertise of the Dave Hinton laboratory.
Jeff Farner Budarz:
Jeff is a PhD student in Civil and Environmental Engineering working for Dr. Mark Wiesner. His undergraduate degree is in Chemistry from Purdue University. His current research interests focus on the reactivity of nanoparticles (NP) and the impact of environmental conditions on NP reactivity, in terms of reactive oxygen species generation, contaminant degradation, and bacterial/viral inactivation. For the Superfund project, he will be characterizing the physicochemical properties and reactivity of TiO2 and NZVI NPs used in the project as well as performing degradation experiments of target contaminants.
Bryan is a postdoctoral researcher with Dr. Richard Di Giulio studying how a population of mummichogs (an estuarine fish, Fundulus heteroclitus) has adapted to live in the creosote-contaminated Atlantic Wood Industries Superfund site on the Elizabeth River, VA. Bryan’s dissertation (Duke 2010) investigated the molecular mechanisms underlying the population’s resistance to the severe heart deformities caused by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and his postdoctoral work is focused on determining how the fish resist DNA damage and cancer. During his MS (Toxicology, Iowa State 2004), Bryan investigated the fate and non-target effects of the insecticidal Bt protein from transgenic corn. Bryan is broadly interested in mechanistic ecotoxicology and the evolution of adaptive responses to stressors.
Thomas Fang is a PHD student in the Environmental Chemistry lab within the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. He holds a Master of Science in Environmental Chemistry from Pohang University of Science and Technology, South Korea and a Bachelor degree of Environmental Engineering from Xi’an JiaoTong University, China. Thomas is particularly interested in qualification and quantification of novel organic pollutants and metabolism of those compounds in vitro and in vivo. He is excited to combine his interest in environmental chemistry with chemical identification in Superfund sites.
Laura is a doctoral student in the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke, with a focus in environmental chemistry and toxicology. She holds a bachelor of science in Chemistry from Wofford College in South Carolina. With her research at Duke, she is specifically interested in the metabolism, fate, and biotransformation of chemicals that are used as flame retardants in consumer products. These types of chemicals structurally resemble thyroid hormones, and so she is studying their endocrine toxicity in an animal model, the zebrafish.
Katherine is a graduate student in the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke with a concentration in Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology. She earned a degree in Chemistry from the College of Wooster. Her research focuses on the identification of endocrine disrupting compounds in complex mixtures through the use of receptor-affinity extraction and high-resolution mass spectrometry.
2012 Summer Interns
Amy is a Duke Pre-Med rising junior majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Cultural Anthropology. She conducts research in Dr. Levin’s lab, studying the long-term persisting effects of in utero exposure to pesticides using a rat model. By employing a series of behavioral assays, she seeks to gain a better understanding of the underlying neurological pathways that are affected by such toxic exposures. She is also involved in nicotine self-administration research. After graduation, Amy hopes to continue doing exciting neuroscience research and eventually go to medical school.
Chantalle holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Beginning in Fall 2012, she will be enrolled in the Masters of Engineering Management Program (MEMP), here, at Duke University. This summer, Chantalle is working under Mark Wiesner, Ph.D. on Project 4: Metal-based Nanoparticles and Water Remediation. Our particular focus rests on the heavily polluted Elizabeth River in Virginia. For years, the river has been a site for wood-treatment facilities; landfills; and a place for the storage, assembly and testing of naval gun ammunition. Incomplete combustion products from cresote, an antibacterial wood preservative, have leaked into the river endangering its native population. Our group hopes to determine the efficacy of a nano-bio based effort centered around titanium dioxide nanoparticles in contaminated sediment remediation. We will focus on degrading the organophosphate pesticide, chlorpyrifos.
Claire is a first year undergraduate student at Northwestern University, where she is studying mechanical engineering. She is primarily interested in environmental policy and community outreach. Claire is working in the research translation core under the mentorship of Charlotte Clark.
Jina is a rising senior at Duke University studying biology, environmental science, and Spanish. She is researching Project 3 under the mentorship of John Rooney in Dr. Joel Meyer’s laboratory. Jina is currently investigating the effects of mitochondrial DNA damage from polyaromatic hydrocarbon exposure on the metabolism and behavior of C. elegans.
Max is currently a rising junior enrolled in Biology at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. His interests include Genetics and Neuroscience, and he would like to attend Graduate school after completing his Bachelor’s degree. He is involved with the Neural and Behavioral Toxicity Assessment Core (NBTA) and works in Doctor Levin’s laboratory downtown. He is working with a project that is assessing the effects of early pesticide exposure on neurobehavioral development in rodents.
Natushia (Tasha) Harris
Tasha is a graduate student and North Carolina Central University (NCCU) with a concentration in Environmental and Earth Science. She received her undergraduate degree in Biology also at NCCU and is currently working with Dr. Charlotte Clark and the Research Translation Core to deliver the SRC results to members of the scientific, governmental, and lay community. She is still uncertain about where her degree will take her, but hopes her experience with the RTC this summer will point her in the right direction.
Nick is originally from Winder, GA and graduated from Duke University in 2012 with a B.S. in Earth and Ocean Sciences. He spent last summer working with the Duke Wetland Center, is spending this summer working with the Superfund Research Center, and plans to work for Playworks Durham in the fall. Generally, he enjoys basketball, television, movies, dogs, and spending time with his girlfriend.
Patricia attends school at Mount Olive College, in Mount Olive, NC. She will be a senior this Fall and is majoring in Environmental Science with a minor in Chemistry. Currently, she is thinking about a career in environmental toxicology, but is still undecided. Within the Superfund Research Center, she works on project #3 with Dr. Di Giulio. The project is about the developmental of PAH exposure, and its adaptation, later life consequences and mechanisms in fishes.
Ryan is a third year undergraduate student at Duke University, studying Biology with a concentration in Pharmacology as well as minors in Spanish and Chemistry. His current plans after his undergraduate study are to attend Graduate school and pursue a Ph.D. in Pharmacology, with the ultimate goal of doing research. He is currently working in the Analytical Chemistry Core under the auspices of Dr. Ellen Cooper, investigating the effects of early developmental exposure to flame retardants on the thyroid system. The project is directed by the Stapleton Lab and the Ferguson lab.