Nicole Marie Roy, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology, Co-Advisor of Pre-Health Program
Area of Specialization: Molecular Biology, Developmental Biology, Pharmacology and Toxicology
Degrees and Certifications
Post-Doctoral Fellow, 2005-2007, Duke University. Molecular Genetics and Microbiology and Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
Post-Doctoral Associate, 2003-2005, Phylonix Pharmaceuticals, Boston, MA.
Ph.D., 2003 Pharmacology and Molecular Toxicology (concentration Developmental Neurobiology) University of Massachusetts Medical Center
B.S., 1996, Chemistry, Assumption College
Affiliations: Beta Beta Beta Biology Honor Society, Sigma Xi, Society for Developmental Biology, Council of Undergraduate Research (CUR), Project Kaleidoscope and STEM Education (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) member
- BI 355 Molecular Biology
- BI 212 Developmental Biology
- BI 111/113 Concepts In Biology I
- BI 112/114 Concepts In Biology II
- BI299 – Pharmacology
- ESM507- Environmental Toxicology
- FY125- Freshman Seminar, Toxic Babies
Research Interests & Grants
Dr. Roy utilizes the zebrafish model organism to study the effects of environmental toxins or pharmaceuticals on the developing nervous system. Zebrafish are vertebrates, like humans, and follow the vertebrate developmental plan. Thus, discoveries made using zebrafish are applicable to higher order vertebrates like humans.
The questions she asks in her lab are very important to human health. It is estimated that 17% of children under age 18 are afflicted with developmental disabilities like ADHD and hyperactivity disorders. Recent studies of fetal cord blood have demonstrated shockingly high levels of toxins including phthalates, PFC's and BPA. Her lab takes a two-fold approach whether it is an ecotoxicological or pharmaceutical/drug related project.
The first tier of the project involves analyzing embryonic stages utilizing molecular approaches including PCR, in situ hybridization and the use of fluorescent transgenic reporter fish. In these approaches, they look for changes in neural synapses, neurotransmitters and general synaptic remodeling events. The second tier of the project is to link the molecular changes they see to later stage behavioral impairments. Using a state of the art larval tracking apparatus that the department has recently purchased, they are able to track and analyze larval behavior and their responses to stimuli.
8-cells stage, larval stage and adult zebrafish.
Honors, Awards & Fellowship
- Duke University Integrated Toxicology Program Fellow (2005-2007)
- Best Poster “Assessment of Neurotoxicity using Zebrafish as a Model Organism” Society of Toxicology Meeting (2005)
- Recipient of Training Grant in Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology Issued by National Institute of Neurologic Disorders and Stroke (1999-2002)
- Recipient of Award for Academic Excellence in Chemistry, Assumption College (1996)
Publications and Presentations
Roy, N.M. (2013) Using RNAi in C.elegans to Demonstrate Gene Knockdown Phenotypes in the Undergraduate Biology Lab Setting. Bioscence: Journal of College Biology Teaching. Submitted and in review. Accepted
Roy, N.M., Aprie, B., Lugo, J., Linney, E., Levin, E,D., and Cerutti, D. (2012) Brief Embryonic Strychnine Exposure in Zebrafish Causes Long-Term Adult Behavioral Impairment with Indications of Embyronic Synaptic Changes. Neurotoxicology and Teratology. Nov-Dec;34(6):587-91
Jurczyk A, Roy N.M., Bajwa R, Gut P, Lipson K, Yang C, Covassin L, Racki WJ, Rossini AA, Phillips N, Stainier DY, Greiner DL, Brehm MA, Bortell R, diIorio P. (2011) Dynamic glucoregulation and mammalian-like responses to metabolic and developmental disruption in zebrafish. General and Comparative Endocrinology Jan 15;170(2):334-45
Roy, N.M., and Linney, E. (2007). Zebrafish as a model for studying adult effects of challenges to the embryonic nervous system. Models of Biomedical Research, Humana Press. 2007.
Parng, C., Ton, C., Lin, Y., Roy, N.M., and McGrath, P. (2006) A zebrafish assay for identifying neuroprotectants in vivo. Neurotoxicol Teratol. Jul-Aug; 28(4):509-16
Parng, C., Roy, N.M., Ton, C., Lin, Y., and McGrath, P. (2006) Neurotoxicity assessment using zebrafish. J Pharmacol Toxicol Methods. May-Jun; 53(3)
DiIorio, P.J., Runko, A., Farrell, C.A., and Roy, N.M. (2005). Sid4: A secreted vertebrate immunoglobulin protein with roles in zebrafish embryogenesis. Developmental Biology 282(1):55-69.
Roy, N.M. and Sagerstrom, C.G. (2004) An early Fgf signal required for gene expression in the zebrafish hindbrain primordium. Developmental Brain Research 148: 27-42.
Lane M.E., Runko, A.P., Roy, N.M., and Sagerstrom, C.G. (2002) Dynamic expression and regulation by FGF8 and Pou2 of the zebrafish LIM-only gene, lmo4. Mechanisms of Development 119: 207-211.
4th International Ecosummit Conference. Glycinergic neuron antagonist alters gene expression profiles at neuronal synapses in developing zebrafish embryos and leads to behavioral abnormalities in the larval or adult fish. Poster Presentation (2012)
Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges, Project Kaleidoscope: Taking the Plunge: Next Steps in Engaged Learning. Invited panel speaker (2010)
9th International Meeting on Zebrafish Development and Genetics, University of Wisconsin –Madison. Glycinergic neuron antagonist alters gene expression profiles at neuronal synapses in developing zebrafish embryos and leads to behavioral abnormalities in the larval or adult fish. Poster Presentation (2010)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), Research Triangle Park, Durham, NC. Using zebrafish to study adult and adolescent effects of challenges to the embryonic nervous system. Invited Speaker (2007).
Empowering Environmental Health Science Research with New Technologies. DukeUniversity. Zebrafish as a model for studying adult effects of challenges to the embryonic nervous system. Poster Presentation (2006)
7th International Meeting on Zebrafish Development and Genetics, University of Wisconsin –Madison. Early challenge of the glycinergic inhibitory system in zebrafish: a molecular and behavioral study. Poster Presentation. (2006)
44th Annual Meeting of the Society of Toxicology, New Orleans, Louisiana. Assessing neurotoxicity using zebrafish as a model system. Poster Presentation (2005).
44th Annual Meeting of the Society of Toxicology, New Orleans, Louisiana. Zebrafish: a good model for detecting ototoxicity. Poster Presentation (2005).
6th International Meeting on Zebrafish Development and Genetics, University of Wisconsin at Madison. A Zebrafish Model for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Poster Presentation (2005)
6th International Meeting on Zebrafish Development and Genetics, University of Wisconsin at Madison. Dystroglycan in Zebrafish Development. Poster Presentation (2005)
Santa-Cruz Conference on Developmental Biology, University of California at Santa-Cruz. An early role for FGF in development of the zebrafish caudal hindbrain Poster Presentation (2002)
Northeast Regional Meeting of the Society for Developmental Biology, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Investigating the Development of the caudal nervous system using zebrafish as a model. Poster Presentation (2000).