2017-New Project 3: PAH Exposures and Development

Project 3 – Developmental PAH Exposures in Fish: Mechanisms of Toxicity, Adaptation, and Later Life Consequences

What do we do?

This project is based on our long relationship with a Superfund site on the Elizabeth River in Virginia at the Atlantic Wood Industries, Inc. site, where polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were discharged into the river from this wood treatment facility.  A species of native fish, killifish, that were found at the site had developed resistance to the PAHs in the river.  Mainly, these fish show resistance to developmental cardiovascular defects; however, they may show other health problems later in life.  Now, even though the site is in the process of being remediated, we continue to study how the developed resistance to PAHs may, in fact, be a “cost” to the killifish.  We will also try to understand how the resistance occurs and how exposure to PAHs at levels below those able to cause cardiovascular defects may affect killifish in later life stages.


How do we do it?

We are looking at killifish exposure to PAHs in two different ways.  The first is to look at a real world population that has developed resistance over several generations of exposure in the Elizabeth River.  The second is to catch killifish caught from a “control” site (meaning the water is not contaminated with PAHs or other contaminants) in King’s Creek, bring them back to the lab, and control the levels of PAHs to which they are exposed.


Who are we?

Dr. Richard Di Giulio (Di Giulio Lab)
Dr. David Hinton (Hinton Lab)
Dr. Joel Meyer (Meyer Lab)
Dr. Nishad Jayasundara, Postdoctoral Research Associate
Dr. Tara Raftery-Catron, Postdoctoral Research Associate (until Dec. 2016)
Rafael Trevisan, Postdoctoral Associate, Di Giulio Lab
Jordan Kozal, PhD candidate
Casey Lindberg, PhD student