Anthropogenic pollution represents one of the most significant environmental threats, particularly for aquatic ecosystems where several organisms become exposed to a wide variety of contaminants. In order to preserve the ecological integrity of these ecosystems and to establish robust protection goals and regulations, it is of utmost importance to evaluate the adverse effects that exposed aquatic biota may experience, but also to have information about species sensitivity and the mechanisms by which these organisms may cope with pollution, as this can differ significantly between species and populations. In my line of work, I am interested in exploring the cellular and molecular pathways that are triggered in response to contaminant exposure, particularly those associated with the biotransformation of chemicals.
In past research work, I have led and participated in projects aimed to integrate fish in vitro and in vivo systems to explore the influence of exposure and evolutionary histories in the biotransformation of legacy pollutants, the role of seasonality and stream dynamics in modifying the estrogenic potential of wastewater, and some of the toxicological effects of natural (algal toxins) and anthropogenic (PFAS) pollutants using fish and human cell lines.
I am also deeply interested in the development and application of animal alternatives in support of the reduction, refinement, and potential replacement of laboratory animals and whole-animal experimentation. I think approaches such as the use of in silico (computational) and in vitro (e.g. cell lines) systems could have a significant positive impact in accurately predicting adverse toxicological effects, in enhancing the way toxicity testing is conducted, and in the establishment of robust, weight of evidence (WoE) assessments to characterize environmental risk.