UROP Project

Toxicogenomic techniques to assess effects of pollutants on aquatic organisms



Daniel Holder

Program Director UROP


+49 241 80-90695


Key Info

Basic Information

Project Offer-Number:
Keine eindeutige Zuordnung
Organisation unit:
Toxicology Centre, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada
Language Skills:
Computer Skills:
Excel, Word, Systat or SPSS
Prof. Markus Hecker

Most current approaches in environmental toxicology require a priori knowledge of the type of stressor and its interaction with biological functions, and thus, are often limited in scope. The past decade has witnessed a large increase in activities using novel “omic“ (genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic) technologies to investigate the specific mechanisms by which stressors can interact with molecular pathways. These technologies represent powerful tools that enable linking mechanistic responses with parameters of demographic relevance (survival, growth, reproduction). The work to be conducted under this UROP project is part of a larger research initiative to establish predictive models that enable the assessment of risks to fishes native to Canada and Europe associated with human activities by defining and validating “adverse outcome pathways“.


Specifically, the applicants, two undergraduate students in Biology/Environmental Sciences from Germany, will participate in the investigation of the molecular mechanism by which environmental chemicals of concern (endocrine disruptors, heavy metals and dioxin-like compounds) affect with fish. They will learn the preparation and conduct of gene expression analysis including the preparation of samples, extraction of RNA, design of primers and probes, and the actual quantification of mRNA using Q-RT-PCR. The students will work under the supervision of two post-docs (Dr. Markus Brinkmann and Dr. Kerstin Bluhm) and one principal investigator (Prof. Markus Hecker) while at the University of Saskatchewan (UofS). 


The applicants should be student in Environmental Sciences / Biology with a background in ecotoxicology. We prefer applicants having interests in combining the UROP stay at the University of Saskatchewan with a Bachelor thesis at the RWTH Aachen University. Applicants with some background experience in molecular biology are preferred.