Nicole Marie Roy, Ph.D.
Co-Advisor Pre Health/Associate Professor
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
- BI 306 – Pharmacology
- ESM 507- Environmental Toxicology
- FY 125- 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, immunohistochemistry and the use of fluorescent transgenic reporter fish. In these approaches, they look for changes in gross neural anatomy and changes in neuronal gene expression and patterning events in the forebrain, midbrain, hindbrain and spinal cord during segmentation, somitogenesis and neurulation stages. Additionally, she investigates alterations in neural synapses, neurotransmitters, and synaptic remodeling events in the presence of the test chemicals.
The second tier of the project seeks to link the molecular changes they detect at early neural developmental stages 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.