UROP Project

Mechanisms of toxicity of chemical stressors



Jan Müller

Program Director UROP


+49 241 80-90299


Key Info

Basic Information

Project Offer-Number:
UROP Abroad
Organisation unit:
Canada Research Chair in Mechanistic and Aquatic Toxicology
Language Skills:
Fluency in English
Computer Skills:
Microsoft Offcie /SPSS/


Characterizing mechanisms of toxicity of chemical stressors can be used to gain a better understanding of threats that natural and anthropogenic chemical stressors pose to aquatic organisms. Research that will be conducted as part of this UROP will integrate molecular biology, biochemistry, physiology, and toxicology to identify and characterize novel molecular mechanisms of toxic responses of fishes to chemical stressors. This mechanistic toxicity information will be used to develop advanced models - termed adverse outcome pathways (AOPs) - for predicting deleterious effects on fishes exposed to chemical stressors. By developing AOPs for effects of chemical stressors, it will be possible to design robust, sensitive, and predictive bioassays to improve the accuracy and efficiency of regulatory toxicity testing and improve chemical risk assessments to protect freshwater species. Endpoints of concern include reproduction and behaviour.


The overall goal of research projects will be to identify adverse effects, and associated mechanisms, of chemical stressors on aquatic organisms. The applicants will acquire skills for analysis of gene expression at the level of transcript abundance (qPCR) and protein abundance (Western blotting) and other state-of-the-art molecular analysis techniques. Student also will acquire skills to assess reproductive physiology and behaviour. Students will apply these methods to aquatic organisms (fish or invertebrates) obtained during exposure studies that were conducted at the University of Lethbridge or RWTH Aachen. There may also be opportunities to use state-of-the-art 'omics methods (transcriptomics, proteomics, epigenomics) to elucidate mechanisms of action and adverse effects. depending own the length of study, students might use this approached to understand the long-term consequences of pools exposures to chemical stressors during very early life-stages of development on adults.


Students should be enrolled in a degree program in Biology or environmental science, and have an interest in ecotoxicology. Experience with molecular biology and biochemistry is an asset.

Full Address

University of Lethbridge
440 University Drive
T1K 3M4 Lethbridge