Laboratory mice
Laboratory of Environmental Genomix
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  • Current members.


    Abhishek Venkatratnam
    (Graduate Assistant)

    Courtney Sakolish
    (Postdoc)

    Hisataka Fukushima
    (Postdoc)

    Ivan Rusyn
    (Principal Investigator)

    Judlyn Telesford-Checkley
    (Postdoc)

    Kyle Ferguson
    (Graduate Student)

    Lauren Lewis
    (Graduate Assistant)

    Lora Yanagisawa
    (Research Scientist)

    Sarah Burnett
    (Graduate Assistant)

    Yizhong Liu
    (Postdoc)

    Yu-Syuan Luo
    (Graduate Assistant)

    Zunwei Chen
    (Graduate Assistant)

  • Master students
    Amanda Burns
    ChemRisk, New York, NY
    Amie Rodgers
    Gastrointestinal Biology & Disease Center at UNC
    Andy Shapiro
    NTP/NIEHS
    Bridget O'Brien
    US EPA
    C. Patrick Craig
    MD student Lincoln Memorial University, DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine
    Daniel Gatti
    Bioinformatics Analyst, Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME
    Eric Formeister
    MD student, UNC School of Medicine
    Jessica Wignall
    ICF International
    Mary Kushman
    US FDA
    Melinda Wilson
    unknown
    Myroslav Sypa
    Software developer DataClarity Corporation
    Ni Zhao
    PhD student Biostatistics, UNC Chapel Hill, NC
    Pamela Ross
    ICF International
    Sangeetha Kumar
    Undergraduate student
    Shannon Hatcher O'Shea
    US EPA
    Stephanie Martinez
    no information
    Tetyana Kobets
    NY Medical College
    Travis Book
    no information
    Valerie Soldatow
    The Hamner Institutes
    Doctoral students
    Alison Harrill
    Assistant Professor UAMS
    Christine Powell
    Scientist, Translational Genomics Research Institute, Phoenix, AZ
    Courtney Woods
    Lecturer, UNC-Chapel Hill
    Daniel Gatti
    Bioinformatics Analyst, Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME
    Grace Chappell
    ToxStrategies, Austin, TX
    Hong Sik Yoo
    Postdoctoral Fellow, UC - Berkeley
    Nour Abdo
    Assistant Professor, Jordan University for Science and Technology
    Yen Low
    Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford University
    Postdoctorals fellows
    Akira Maki
    Surgeon, Yamanashi University, Japan
    Emmanuelle Jeannot
    Scientist, Institute Curie, Paris, France
    Fabian Grimm
    Senior Toxicologist ExxonMobil Biomedical Sciences, Inc.
    Joseph Cichocki
    Toxicologist Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
    Jun Han
    University of Victoria Proteomics Centre, Victoria, BC, Canada
    Masato Tsishuya
    Staff Physician, University of Yamanshi Hospital, Japan
    Shinji Furuya
    unknown
    Sung Kyoon Kim
    Assistant Professor, Seoul National University, South Korea
    William Klaren
    Senior Associate, Toxicology SC Johnson
    Wonyoung Tak
    Kyungpook National University, South Korea
    Yasuhiro Iwata
    Shionogi & Co., Tokushima, Japan
    Visiting scientists
    Takeki Uehara
    Scientist, Shionogi & Co, Osaka, Japan
    Staff
    Blair Bradford
    Retired
    Oksana Kosyk
    Research Specialist, Department of Psychiatry, UNC - Chapel Hill
    Svitlana Shymonyak
    Research technician UNC - Chapel Hill
    Tieu-Chong Lam
    Engineer, Thales, Paris

Abhishek Venkatratnam

Current projects in the lab:

One persistent challenge in human health assessments is addressing variability in toxic responses as seen in humans. My doctoral research focuses on investigating inter-strain differences in toxicodynamics (TD) and toxicokinetics (TK) in population-based rodent models using trichloroethylene (TCE) as a case- study toxicant.

Courtney Sakolish

Current projects in the lab:

I am working on testing and validating organ- and tissue-on-a-chip technologies as part of the NCATS-funded Tissue Chip for Drug Screening project. The adoption of a new technology into basic research, and industrial and clinical settings requires rigorous testing to determine reproducibility, reliability, robustness, and transferability. As part of this project, we are working to “validate” a variety of tissue and organ platforms in collaboration with developer labs and industrial stakeholders to determine how these technologies fit into risk assessment, and regulatory decision making. Primary endpoints for each of these tissue chips are: the investigation of non-specific binding of drugs and experimental compounds, testing the reproducibility and relevance of tissue chip-derived data against published works, and investigating the “fitness for purpose” of these models for drug screening and toxicity testing.

Hisataka Fukushima

Current projects in the lab:

I am an abdominal surgeon at Yamanashi University in Japan. Now on sabbatical, I am conducting research with Dr. Rusyn since March 2017. I specialize in the study of alcohol hepatitis and am currently validating a novel mouse model to better replicate human alcoholic hepatitis. Current mouse models, although widely used, fail to properly elicit the intricate pathologies of human alcoholic hepatitis. Upon validating the model, important information about the fibrosis, inflammation, and cirrhosis common in this disease can be gained. In addition, the ways in which these processes can be modulated is also a research interest to better improve therapeutic strategies.

Ivan Rusyn

Current projects in the lab:

Principle Investigator, Laboratory of Environmental Genomics; Professor, Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences; Chair, Interdisciplinary Faculty of Toxicology.

Judlyn Telesford-Checkley

Current projects in the lab:

I am an Ecotoxicologist with a diverse background in environmental science, chemistry and biology. For almost 3 years I worked at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality where I assisted in managing 11 investigators in the waste section. However, my most memorable experience was working with the Unified Command System set up for the 2017 Hurricane Harvey Response. My current role which started in Jan 2018, is three-dimensional. I am the Center Administrator for the TAMU Superfund Research Center (https://superfund.tamu.edu/) which is focused on developing better, faster, more informative tools and models that aid in decision-making capabilities for planning and control during response to and recovery from environmental emergency-related contamination events. As the center administrator, I assist with the management of the organizational aspects of the Center to ensure that all activities are integrated. I will also be involved in conducting and coordinating research across the Center. Finally, I’ll be working with the Research Translation Team that is responsible for communicating research findings and transferring technology developed by the Center to stakeholders including industry, research and non-governmental organizations; federal, state, local, and tribal agencies and elected officials; and affected individuals and communities.

Kyle Ferguson

Current projects in the lab:

Howdy! I am originally from the cold north, Laramie Wyoming. I received a B.S. in Chemistry in 2008 from Black Hills State University, located in Spearfish South Dakota. I entered the US Army as a commissioned Officer upon graduation and currently serve as an Army Intelligence Officer. My current research focuses on in vitro to in vivo extrapolation (IVIVE) of chemical mixtures in support of human health assessments. When not engaged in academics, I devote my time to my beautiful wife, Natasha, and our newly arrived daughter, Alifair.

Lauren Lewis

Current projects in the lab:

My dissertation research aims to characterize population variability in epigenetic and genotoxic effects of the known human carcinogen 1,3-butadiene (BD). Although genotoxicity is an established mechanism of BD carcinogenesis, epigenetic effects such as DNA methylation and histone modifications have also been reported. Importantly, inter-strain differences exist in both BD-induced DNA damage and epigenetic effects. Recent studies indicate that the variation in epigenetic alterations may be a key driver of the inter-individual susceptibility to BD genotoxicity. The overall objective of my project is to investigate the population variability in epigenetic alterations and DNA damage in response to BD.

Lora Yanagisawa

Current projects in the lab:

I oversee daily operations of the lab and assist in project management. As a member of our “In vitro” group, I am interested in high-throughput, cell-based methods for characterizing risk posed to humans by exposure to chemical mixtures in the environment. Currently, we are utilizing human iPSC-derived cell types to interrogate combinations of pesticides, industrial chemicals, PAHs, plasticizers and metals, and also complex mixtures present in contaminated sediments from Galveston Bay/Houston Ship Channel.

Sarah Burnett

Current projects in the lab:

I am a second year Ph.D. student, and the goal of my project is to investigate the utility of a high-throughput in vitro model in evaluating the cardiotoxic potential of environmental hazards and drugs. Using human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived cardiomyocytes, I perform fluorescence-based assays and utilize quantitative high-content live cell imaging technologies to better understand cardiotoxic responses and their modes of action. Additionally, I am interested in understanding and characterizing population variability in cardiotoxic response, in hopes of identifying vulnerable subpopulations in vitro. In my personal time, I like to be outdoors – hiking, kayaking, traveling – and playing music.

Yizhong Liu

Current projects in the lab:

I am a recent graduate with a PhD degree in Biomedical Engineering from Binghamton University (SUNY) and I joined Rusyn lab in January 2018 as a postdoc research associate. I am currently working on the “organ- and tissue-on-a-chip” validation project. The goal of this project is to evaluate a variety of tissue and organ platforms in collaboration with developer labs and industrial stakeholders to validate the technology transfer and the reproducibility, compare the reaction to drugs and experimental compounds against published in vivo data, and determine the capability and feasibility of these new technologies in drug screening and risk assessment.

Yu-Syuan Luo

Current projects in the lab:

My current research project is to investigating the metabolism and toxicity of trichloroethylene/tetrachloroethylene by using cytochrome P450 2E1 knockout and humanized transgenic mouse models. I developed two LC-MS/MS methods for quantitation of glutathione conjugation metabolites of trichloroethylene/tetrachloroethylene in multiple mouse tissues, and used these methods to fill in the data gaps existing in trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene metabolism.

Zunwei Chen

Current projects in the lab:

Zunwei Chen is a Ph.D student started from fall 2017, with a Master degree of Engineering in Environmental Science. His study is mainly related to environmental chemistry and toxicology, and now he is working with Superfund project, focusing on the toxic effects of environmental mixtures on different types of cells, trying to develop a translational in vitro-to in vivo testing strategy for evaluating the inter-tissue and inter-individual variability in response to environmental mixtures, and to develop, apply, and translate a comprehensive set of tools and models that will aid in mitigating the human health consequences of exposure to hazardous mixture during environmental emergency-related contamination events.