Current Members


Marina Giacomin: PhD student

M.Sc. Federal University of Rio Grande (Rio Grande, Brazil)

B.Sc. Federal University of Paraná (Curitiba, Brazil)

My research interests include understanding the mechanisms used to cope with the permeability trade-off between respiratory gas exchange and unfavorable ionic/osmotic fluxes, named the osmorespiratory compromise. With my PhD thesis, using the Atlantic Killifish (Fundulus hereroclitus) as a model, I hope to improve the current understanding of the interactive effects of multiple stressors on the physiology of teleost and elasmobranch fishes, and gain insight into the mechanisms underlying adaptation to life in variable, challenging environments.

Photo Anne CremazyAnne Crémazy: Visiting Professor

Ph.D. Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique – Eau Terre Environnement (Québec, Canada)

M.Sc. University of Bordeaux (Bordeaux, France)

I am an environmental biogeochemist specialized in the aquatic ecotoxicology of metals. My research interests include the characterization of metal uptake, accumulation, intracellular distribution and toxicity in aquatic organisms, using modeling frameworks such as the Biotic Ligand Model (BLM). My PhD at INRS-ETE focused on the uptake mechanisms of trivalent metals in phytoplankton. My current postdoctoral project at UBC aims at understanding how metals in mixtures interact together at sites of uptake and toxicity in aquatic organisms (the great pond snail and rainbow trout)

Photo SandraSandra Fehsenfeld: Postdoctoral fellow

Ph.D. University of Winnipeg (Canada)

MS.C. Christian-Albrechts-University and GEOMAR Kiel (Germany)

As an environmental physiologist, I am highly interested in the phenotypic plasticity and acclimation/adaptation capacity of marine invertebrates (crustaceans) and vertebrates (teleosts) to a “future ocean scenario” as predicted by climate change experts. Challenging animals with elevated pCO2 and the resulting drop in seawater pH (hypercapnia/ocean acidification) as well as changes in other abiotic parameters like high environmental ammonia, allows me to discover relevant underlying principles that help to ensure the animals’ performance. Particularly, I am interested in the linkage of acid-base homeostasis with ammonia regulation, the major waste product of protein metabolism.

For my research, I aspire an integrative approach in an environmental relevant context – from the whole living animal and/or isolated tissues to the underlying genetic mechanisms – applying both, physiological and molecular methods. My methodological approach includes organ perfusions, ion-flux measurements over epithelial surfaces, gene expression analysis of respective epithelial transporters, as well as general molecular cloning techniques and cell culture.

JunJunho Eom: Ph. D Student

M.Sc. University of British Columbia (Canada)

B.Sc. Kangwon National University (South Korea)

I started my bachelor with bioprocess engineering in South Korea. After my graduation, I broadened my interests from engineering to animal sciences including parasitology, herpetology and ichthyology. At the University of British Columbia, I specified my research interests to pheromones, chemosensory systems, animal behaviors and respiratory in various fish species such as the white sturgeon, pacific and sea lampreys, signal crayfish, coho and pink salmons, and rainbow trout.

After my MSc at UBC, I worked for a short period in the Wood lab as a technician, and I am enrolled as a Ph.D. student in the lab. My specific area of interest is in ammonia as a respiratory gas in fish, with particular emphasis on its role in ventilatory control, both centrally and peripherally, and the mechanisms involved, using the rainbow trout as a model system. I am also studying the phylogeny of ventilatory control. My studies to date have focused on the sensitivity of ammonia excretion to induced changes in ventilation in trout, and in the ability of ammonia to stimulate breathing in the Pacific hagfish.

Image result for alex clifford ubcAlexander Clifford: Post doctoral Fellow

Ph. D: University of Alberta

B.Sc: Wilfrid Laurier University

I am a comparative evolutionary physiologist with a broad experience in ion regulation, acid/base physiology (broadly defined as pH homeostasis) and transport physiology. My research interests focus on understanding how aquatic animals cope with environmental stress such as hypoxia (low PO2), hypercapnia (high PCO2), temperature, salinity, and high environmental ammonia (HEA).  Such stressors require adaptive physiological mechanisms to prevent impairment of biological functions.  I am particularly interested in organisms living in extreme environments because, in general they have developed unique adaptations in order to survive and thrive. My research program uses a multidisciplinary approach, whereby I employ techniques in whole-animal physiology, biochemistry, bioinformatics and molecular biology to examine the relationships between environment and evolutionary adaptation.

My postdoctoral research at UBC with Dr. Chris Wood is focused on understanding the role that the teleost kidney plays during various acid-base perturbations (e.g. feeding, hyperoxia, acid-exposure and hypercapnia) with specific regard to ammoniagenesis and excretion of acid/base equivilents. While research is plentiful regarding branchial responses to these stressors, the renal system is often overlooked. The limited whole-animal evidence that does exist suggests that the teleost renal system functions quite similarly to mammalian systems during times of acid-base duress; but further characterization is needed elucidate the mechanisms that the kidney employs for homeostasis.  Particular attention will be directed at identifying the roles of key ammoniagenic ornithine urea cycle (OUC) enzymes in the teleost nephrons and how these enzymes interact with putative acid/base transporters.

Andressa Melo: Visiting Ph.D Student

I am a visiting Ph .D. student from the Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco in Brazil.  I am  a Biologist specializing in  Fish Morphology and Fish Population Dynamics.

My research interests include morphophysiological characterization of osmoregulatory organs and the effect of environmental variables on physiological responses. My PhD research is focused on morphological characterization of osmoregulatory organs in stingrays from estuaries  and coastal areas in Brazil. My PhD sandwich at UBC in Chris Wood’s lab is to examine  the effects of two different environmental stresses (water O2 concentration, water Ca concentration) on urine production rate in freshwater rainbow trout, as an index of gill water permeability . These studies will improve our understanding of how environmental changes generate physiological responses in fishes, and in particular will improve our understanding of the osmo-respiratory compromise, the trade-off between osmoregulatory and respiratory requirements affecting gill permeability.

Ellen Hyewon Jung: PhD Student

M.Sc. University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada)

B.Sc. University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada)

My research background includes thermal limitation, particularly with respect to climate change, and its effect on various steps of the aerobic metabolism in fishes. My PhD research focuses on the interactions of NH3, CO2 and O2 in the gastrointestinal tract of fishes, a subject with large potential implications for aquaculture, particularly with respect to the formulation of new diets and optimization of feeding regimes.

Beverly Po: Postdoctoral fellow

Ph.D. University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong, China)

M.Sc. Swansea University (Wales, UK)

As an environmental toxicologist, my research interests are on aquatic pollution and anthropogenic impacts on wildlife. In my PhD project, I studied the biotransformation and transgenerational effects of a persistent flame retardant on marine microalgae and invertebrates. In addition to that, other stressors, including hypoxia and ocean acidification, were also found to affect the bacterial community of biofilms and the settlement of gastropod larvae. I also have experience on the biodiversity assessments of forest, subtidal and intertidal habitats. Marine microplastics have become part of my research as I tried to identify the fragments from biological degradation.

My postdoctoral research is trying to determine the toxicity of major ions to freshwater species by measuring trans-epithelial potential. Based on the differential alteration of the electrical gradient across biological membranes (e.g. gills for fish), we aim to predict the mortality of animals under exposure to different ions and their mixtures.