People

Ramon Lavado, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Office: BSB A430

Phone: +1 (254) 710-2468

Fax: +1 (254) 710-3409

email: ramon_lavado@baylor.edu

Dr. Ramon Lavado is an Assistant Professor within the Department of Environmental Sciences at Baylor University. He is an environmental toxicologist specializing in the biotransformation of contaminants in aquatic wildlife. His research focuses on the mechanistic insights in the chemical modifications made by an aquatic organism on a chemical compound and the development of animal alternatives for environmental toxicity studies.

Dr. Lavado has published environmental toxicology research for the last eighteen years, with projects covering a wide variety of organisms and laboratory systems. Areas of ongoing research include 1. The development of new in vitro bioassays to detect contaminants of emerging concern in the environment. 2. Evaluation of mechanistic responses of cytochrome P450 - one of the most important enzyme systems involved in biological activation or detoxification of chemical compounds. 3. Metabolomic studies to identify new biomarkers in human and wildlife systems. 4. The study of interactions between multiple stressors (as climate change/pollutants exposure) and its effect in the biotransformation of pollutants.

Dr. Lavado serves as an Associate Editor of Toxics (MDPI) and Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology (Springer). He received his Ph.D. in Animal Physiology and earned his B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of Barcelona (Spain).

Marco E. Franco

Doctoral Candidate

Office: BSB A448R

email: Marco_Franco1@baylor.edu

Marco E. Franco joined the Lavado lab in August 2017 after completing his M.S. degree at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. His research interests are in the cellular and biochemical mechanisms arising from exposure to natural and anthropogenic environmental contaminants, as well as the modifications to such compounds during metabolism, while minimizing animal testing. Marco is interested in integrating in vitro and in vivo models to expand the applicability of toxicity testing to environmentally relevant scenarios. Currently, his main projects are directed to the use of biochemical markers to further understand the mechanisms of toxicity of PAHs and other organic pollutants in pollution-resistant fish populations, under different levels of exposure. Marco has led projects directed to investigate the mechanisms of action of toxins associated with harmful algal blooms in fish through the application of in vitro models, and endocrine disruption potential of surface waters influenced by wastewater effluents using weight of evidence (WoE) approaches and rainbow trout as a model species.

Marco was the recipient of the 2020 Colgate-Palmolive Award for Research Training in Alternative Methods by the Society of Toxicology (SOT). He has also been a recipient of two C. Gus Glasscock, Jr. Endowed Fund of Excellence in Environmental Science, two Doris Kayser Stark Graduate Scholarships, and different research and travel awards from global organizations including the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC), the Health and Environmental Sciences Institute (HESI), and the European Society for Alternatives to Animal Testing (EUSAAT). Marco has presented his research at regional, national, and international scientific conferences. He is a former SETAC/NASAC student representative for the SETAC South Central regional chapter and the former Science Committee Chair of the 9th Young Environmental Scientists (YES) meeting. Marco is originally from Guatemala City, and is also a goodwill ambassador of the City of Lafayette, LA, US. 

Megan pic.jpg

Megan E. Solan

Ph.D. Student

Office: BSB A448R

email: Megan_Solan1@baylor.edu

Megan E. Solan joined the Lavado lab in August of 2019 after completing her B.S. degree. Her undergraduate research involved toxicity testing of "eco-friendly" de-icing alternatives using the aquatic invertebrates and exploring the context dependency toxicity of hydrolyzing ammonium from urea-based de-icing formulations. Her actual research interests are in the molecular mechanisms of action of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) substances in human and fish in vitro systems. Given the significant distribution of PFAS substances in the aquatic environment, she is investigating the influence of short-chain and long-chained PFAS on biotransformation enzymes in fish using the rainbow trout liver RTL-W1 cell line and the whole fish exposure.​

In the past, Megan has received the 2018 Penn State Behrend Undergraduate Research Grant and two travel awards to attend regional and national research scientific conferences. Megan has also obtained 1st place for the Best Student Poster Presentation at the SETAC North America Annual Meeting in November 2018. Megan is originally from Erie, Pennsylvania  and has a strong interest in freshwater ecosystems after growing up on Lake Erie. Megan hopes to continue pursuing aquatic toxicology in an effort to work towards the conservation and preservation of freshwater species. 

Ashley 2.jpg

Ashley Ball

Ph.D. Student

Ashley Ball joined the Lavado Lab in 2019. Ashley's background in toxicology focused on the quantification of anticoagulant rodenticides in birds of prey in Charlotte, NC. Her research at the moment is creating a primary cell culture, and ultimately cell line, for Falco spaverius (American Kestrel), as an alternative and complementary approach to current in vivo testing. Creating this will allow for cheaper, faster, and more sustainable testing of pesticides and their biotransformation within a frequently understudied group of birds. She is also using the chicken cell line PBS-12 SF to study the effects of rodenticides and further characterize associated biomarkers for chickens, and other avian species, using in vitro assays as opposed to whole animal assays. The hope is that accurately characterizing the different pathways in one avian species will translate to future in vitro studies on other species.

​Ashley is originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, and began her undergraduate degree at Clemson University before transferring to the Queens University of Charlotte. She has always had an interest in conservation and hopes her research can be utilized in future risk assessments and policy-making for birds of prey.

Office: BSB A448R

email: Ashley_Ball1@baylor.edu

Jordan pic.jpg

Jordan Jatko

Ph.D. Student

Office: BSB A448R

email: Jordan_Jatko1@baylor.edu

Jordan Jatko joined the Lavado lab in August 2020 after completing his M.S. degree at Clemson University in Environmental Toxicology.  While there, he studied how an arsenic exposure through drinking water affected the intestinal Lgr5+ stem cell and differentiation.  His research interests are in studying the modes of action and mechanisms of toxicity of organic pollutants in ecologically relevant organisms.  Jordan is also interested in the use of in vitro modeling to minimize the use of animal testing and generating extrapolatable data to apply and critique new or current safety guidelines for environmentally relevant contaminants.  He is currently working on the small chain fatty acid (SCFA) metabolomic profile of patients with chemotherapy-induced diarrhea (CID).  Additionally, he is investigating the lipidomic profiles in human models who have been exposed to environmental obesogens.

Jordan is active in the environmental toxicology community.  He is the recipient of multiple travel and presentation awards for SETAC-NA, regional SETAC meetings, the Tennessee Water Resource Symposium, and the American Chemical Society Annual Meeting.  He hopes to continue and elevate his participation in the community and become a successful scientist during his time here at Baylor University. 

Sanju Senthilkumar

Undergraduate Student

Sanju Senthilkumar joined the Lavado lab in August 2020, and is currently a sophomore in Biochemistry and in the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core (BIC). She is from The Woodlands - which is a suburb a little North of Houston.

She is interested in studying the pharmaceutical effects of various compounds though in vitro methods. After graduating from Baylor University, She hopes to go to medical school and become an Obstetrician/Gynecologist and while conducting research on women's health. While at Baylor she hopes to make a positive impact on the community and gain experiences that will prepare me for her future.

Office: BSB A448R

email: Sanju_Senthilkumar1@baylor.edu