Research

 

The primary goals of our research are to understand i) the processes that are involved in regulating ion and trace metal homeostasis in aquatic animals, and ii) how these processes are affected by environmental changes. Our group applies molecular genetics and neurophysiological technologies to probe how animals respond to their environment. By integrating these state-of-the-art approaches, we hope to improve the fundamental understanding of the mechanisms that underlie the physiological regulation of ions and trace metals.

1. Environmental Toxicology

Degradation of water quality due to anthropogenic contaminants is a pressing problem worldwide. Our group incorporates functional genetics and molecular physiology to characterize the mechanisms that underlie the toxic effects and tolerance of metals and emerging contaminants in aquatic animals. Using this unique strategy will help to define more specific physiological endpoints for environmental monitoring and ecological risk assessment, and thereby facilitate the development of more relevant criteria for the protection of aquatic life and biodiversity.picture4

2. Molecular Physiology

Maintaining whole body homeostasis of ions is fundamental to the survival of all organisms. Our group aims to develop a deeper understanding of the mechanisms that are involved in regulating ionic balance in aquatic animals. Specifically, we examine the involvement of neuroendocrine factors, post-translational modification of ion transporters, modulation of paracellular tight junctions, and environmental ion sensing and intracellular signalling.

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Ion-transporting cells in the skin of zebrafish larvae

Transverse section of a zebrafish larvae