Dr. Denina Simmons

Dr. Denina Simmons – Assistant Professor and Canada Research Chair (Tier II)

Denina joined the Faculty of Science at Ontario Tech University in July 2018, where runs the Aquatic Omics Lab. Denina received her Undergraduate degree from Ryerson University and then completed her Master’s and Doctoral degrees at Trent University. Denina completed two consecutive post-doctoral fellowships at Environment Canada and after that, she had two consecutive contracts working on ‘Omics projects with the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation, and Parks.

Dr. Linda Lara-Jacobo – Doctorat en sciences de l’eau Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS), Quebec, Canada.

Linda is interested on the surveillance of SARS CoV-2 viral proteins in wastewater samples from the Durham Region as an alternative biomarker for detection, among other proteomic/pharmaceutical approaches. She holds a PhD with focus in Toxicology from the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) Quebec, Canada where she performed ecotoxicogenomics studies in frogs and fish exposed to petroleum products.

Previously she worked as a professor at the University of Baja California (UABC) in charge of the Toxicology area. Linda received her ungraduated degree in Biological and Pharmaceutical Chemistry and a Master’s in Life Sciences. Linda has experience in field work and monitoring techniques in locations such as Lacandon Rain Forest, Cloud Forest, Boreal Forest, among others. She is also involved with community work in indigenous communities in Central America.

Christine Flaherty – B.Sc. Animal Biology, University of Guelph

Christine is a graduate student in Applied Biosciences (M.Sc) at Ontario Tech University. She is currently investigating the effects of harmful algae blooms and microcystins on wild fish species in Hamilton Harbor. Christine’s research includes field-work taking blood samples from goldfish, gizzard shad and walleye to conduct proteomics on the plasma. Being able to conduct fieldwork is one of Christine’s favorite aspects of her project.

Shreya Jain – B.Sc. Biological Science – Life Science, Ontario Tech University

Shreya is a graduate student in Applied Biosciences (M.Sc) at Ontario Tech University. She has developed an innovative project in the Aquatic Omics lab to bring together biochemistry and environmental toxicology collaborating with her previous supervisor, Dr. Jean-Paul Desaulniers (Desaulniers lab). Specifically, her project involves the novel use of gene silencing to prevent an adverse effect caused by aryl hydrocarbon receptor agonists in Japanese rice fish (Oryzias latipes). This research will assist in the regulation of hazardous chemicals and the protection of aquatic wildlife.

Previously, Shreya worked in the Desaulniers lab to build a method to assess off-target effects caused by gene silencing. She also completed a summer research placement in China working with the nude mouse model (FOXn1nu). Shreya is a student representative on the Animal Care Committee at Ontario Tech University and president of a student club (affiliated with the Brain Tumor Foundation of Canada) called Students Investing in Brain Research and Development (SIBRD). Shreya loves travelling and has been to over 10 countries!

David McNabney – B.Sc. Biological Science – Environmental Toxicology, Ontario Tech University

David is a graduate student in Applied Biosciences (M.Sc) at Ontario Tech University. He will be investigating the effects of harmful algal blooms and microcystins on several freshwater fish in the Bay of Quinte Area of Concern in Lake Ontario. Specifically, David will be looking at the proteomes of walleye and yellow perch, hoping to collect both lethal and non-lethal samples from each species.

David has an interest in ecology and pesticide use/management. A fun fact about David is that he is a licensed exterminator for mosquitoes and biting flies. On his spare time, David enjoys swimming, hiking, and listening to podcasts about true crime.

Nancy Tannouri – B.Sc. Life Science, Ontario Tech University

Nancy is a graduate student in Applied Biosciences (M.Sc) at Ontario Tech University. She is looking to expand current knowledge on blood plasma function in fish by exploring circulating blood plasma proteins, and potentially, their origin. Specifically, she will cross compare protein representation in blood plasma versus various organ tissue using a non-targeted proteomics approach. Additionally, Nancy will look to examine extracellular vesicles circulating in plasma and their protein contents.

Her past research experience includes analyzing complex data-sets   pertaining to the effects of hexavalent chromium on white sucker and lake trout.

Dr. Camila Athanasio – Ph.D. Ecotoxicologist
University of Birmingham, United Kingdom

Camila is interested in how early-life exposure to contaminants and stressors affect organisms throughout their lifetime and subsequent generations. She has experience using several model organisms and has studied the effects of contaminants, complex effluents, contaminated sediments and freshwater in aquatic organisms in Brazil, Europe, and Canada. Camila received her undergraduate degree from the University of Santa Cruz do Sul, Brazil and completed her Ph.D. at the University of Birmingham, UK. Prior to joining the Aquatic Omic lab, Camila completed a postdoctoral fellowship at McGill University where she investigated the effects of early-life exposures and re-exposure to PAHs in birds and the contribution of epigenetic mechanisms in the regulation of toxic responses.

Camila is currently applying her expertise in environmental epigenetics and the use of cutting-edge omics technologies to understand the effects of harmful algae blooms (HABs) during early-life stages of fish, and how those could potentially impact later life stages and subsequent offspring.

Simon Pollard – H.BSc. Biology, McMaster University

Simon is a graduate student in Applied Biosciences (M. Sc.) at Ontario Tech University, and is currently investigating the effects of Per & Poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a large class of synthetic compounds which have been in wide use in industry and consumer products for the past 50 years. Simon is especially interested in the effects of PFAS on lipid & carbohydrate metabolism in fish and how seasonal dietary changes may affect toxicity.

When he is not doing research, some of Simon’s favorite activities are fishing, camping or anything else that involves getting out in nature. As a young child, Simon always had a great appreciation for the natural world and this is one of the factors that made him interested in aquatic toxicology.

2019-2020 Lab Group

From left to right: (top row) David McNabney, Dr. Jordan Anderson, Dr. Camila Athanasio, Chase Tudor, Nancy Tannouri, Dylan Sayroo, Adesina Sosanwo, John Guchardi (bottom row) Tina Flaherty, Dr. Denina Simmons, Shreya Jain, Simon Pollard.

Summer 2019 Lab Group

From left to right: John Guchardi, Dr. Jordan Anderson, Christine Flaherty, Dr. Simmons, Simon Pollard, Cashmeira-Dove Tyson, Sushmitha Srinivasan, Dr. Camila Athanasio.

2018-2019 Lab Group. From left to right: Jessica Leger, Dr. Simmons, Jordan Anderson, Nancy Tannouri.

2018-2019 Lab Group

From left to right: Jessica Leger, Dr. Simmons, Jordan Anderson, Nancy Tannouri.