top of page

People and Projects

Graduate Students

Justin Giffin

Impact of PCB Mixtures on Dopaminergic Signaling

I am interested  in toxicology because I hope to understand and advocate for environmental sustainability.  My research examines the impact of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) on dopamine transporters to better understand how PCBs may lead to neurotoxicity. The research will help address whether PCBs, a common class of environmental pollutants, influence neurological development and function in humans and wildlife. After my Master’s I hope to enter a doctoral program that will  help me secure a job within industry or a federal agency aimed at protecting the environment.

Amanda Russell

Oyster Health on Living Shorelines in Newport Bay

I am investigating the impact of environmental conditions, restoration design, and potential contaminants on oyster growth, recruitment, and health in Upper Newport Bay, CA.  I use transcriptomics to measure the overall health of both native and non-native species, as a sensitive method that accounts for responses to subtle environmental changes. With greater understanding about res toration projects, oysters have the potential to be a crucial aspect of wetland and coastal conservation. I hope to build conservation awareness and stewardship within local communities through educational outreach.

Aaron Sugimoto

Oyster Health in Southern California Estuaries

My research will use transcriptomics to study the response of native and non-native oysters to pollutants in southern California estuaries. By comparing the native Olympia oyster to the invasive Pacific oyster, I aim to determine the differential impacts of pollutants on oyster species health. This research can provide pertinent information regarding the impact of the altered environment on native oyster populations thereby contributing to restoration efforts.  After graduation, I want to continue to monitor anthropogenic stressors in the marine environment and understand their effects on marine organisms.  
Undergraduate Students

Molcular Tox

Pollutant Impacts on Calcium Pathways 

Ashly Campbell, Ethan Eisenhart, Racquel Ebue, Kristi Maeda and Danielle Sandoval are working to understand the receptor, cellular and animal based impacts of Calcium Signaling Disrupting (CSD) chemicals.  This includes work in biochemistry all the way up to assessing pollutant impacts in zebrafish  physiological pathways.   When they are not in the lab they are even nice enough to join on field missions!


Pollutants in Aquatic Environments

McKenna Sucher is helping to address the impact of microplastics in the aquatic environment.  She is also helping to address standardization in microplastic processing important for a global understanding of microplastic health impact. 


Previous Students
Graduate Students

Nicolette Schuko

 My research focusesd on the impacts of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) and triclosan on Ca2+ mediating gene transcription.  This research has implications on altered neuronal growth, learning and memory, and muscle contractions. Currently a Molecular Research Associate at NIH National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Disease.

Pollutant Induced  Gene Transcription

Kara Wiggin

  My Master’s research focused on plastic that ends up in the oceans looking at small pieces, known as microplastics not visible by the naked. I detected the levels of these microplastics in the aquatic environments around Long Beach, CA, and assessed their impact on the invertebrate zooplankton. Currently in a Marine Biology doctoral program at Scripps Oceanographic Institute

Microplastics in Waters Around Long Beach

Undergraduate Students
-Alexis Sorensen (01/17-05/19; UGR).  Impact of triclosan on DREAM mediated transcription in GT1-7 cells. 
-Jorge Alfaro (05/17-05/19).  Impact of triclosan on DREAM mediated transcription in GH3 cells. Currently a Research Assistant at Cedar Sinai, Pasadena CA. 
-Joseph Porges (08/18-05/19).  Honors Thesis:  Impacts of poly aromatic hydrocarbon on Calcium channels in zebrafish (Danio rerio). 
Vanessa Garcia-Rodriguez 08/18-05/19.  Impact of tetrabromobisphenol A on DREAM mediated transcription in GT1-7 cells. 
Jordan Alejo (08/17-12/19).  Impacts of chlorantraniliprole and imidicloprid insecticides on aquatic invertebrate and vertebrate species. 
-Marian de Orla Barile (01/17-12/18). Pollution found in storm drains a long the LA River during dry weather.
-Brianna Maloney (01/17-08/18; UGR).  Honors Thesis:  The combined effects of phthalates and temperature stress in Daphnia.  
-Nicole Magna (08/17-05/18; UGR)  Helped culture invertebrate zooplankton species for use in studies assessing the effect of microplastics on aquatic species.  Currently attending Pharmacy School.
-Javier Lepe (03/16-06/17; UGR)  Currently working as a research technician in the Anderson and Cummings Laboratory at the University of California Irvine
-Monica Luna (Summer 2016; UGR).  Cellular culture of hypothalamic and pituitary cells. Currently, a Laboratory Analyst with LA Testing in Huntington Beach, Ca
-Zareeb Lorenzana (08/16-08/17; UGR).  Assessed the occurence of single nucleotide variants in killifish (Fundulus heteroclitus)  that have adapted to severely polluted locations. 
bottom of page