Ramon Lavado, Ph.D.
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), Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology (Springer), and Ecotoxicology (Springer). He received his Ph.D. in Animal Physiology and earned his B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of Barcelona (Spain).
Office: BSB A430
Phone: +1 (254) 710-2468
Fax: +1 (254) 710-3409
Dr. Md Ibrahim joined the Lavado Lab as a Postdoc in August 2022 after completing his PhD in Integrative Biology at Oklahoma State University (OSU). His doctoral research focused on the Toxicity, Bioavailability, and Bioreactivity of Metal Complexes in Fish: Role of Environmental Chloride. In the Lavado Lab, he is working on developing cell lines of fish to be used for in vitro toxicity assays. He is also investigating the toxicity and biotransformation mechanisms of tire derived chemical, 6PPD-Q in fish.
Dr. Ibrahim won several awards during his doctoral study at OSU. He was the winner of the Interdisciplinary Toxicology Program Fellowships (2017-2022), the Robberson Summer Dissertation Fellowship 2021, Dr. Homer and Mrs. May Tang Graduate Fellowship 2019, and the Wilhm Travel Award 2018. He participated and presented his research at national and international conferences of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC). In 2019, he was awarded the SETAC travel award to present his research at the SETAC 2019 annual meeting in Toronto, Canada.
Md Ibrahim, Ph.D.
Office: BSB A449R
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 human cell-based in vitro systems.
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 E. Solan
Office: BSB A448R
Alisha Michelle Janiga-MacNelly is from the Rio Grande Valley in Southern Texas. As an undergraduate at the University of Texas Austin, Alisha focused on the neurotoxicity of substances of abuse and how to train first responding medical professionals to identify and direct people suffering from substance dependence towards beneficial resources. After a gap-year, she switched her focus from substance abuse to the biodegradation of long-term pollutants. Following this, Alisha received her M.S. in Agriculture, Environmental and Sustainable Science at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley . During this time, Alisha characterized bacteria communities in a polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) polluted reservoir in Donna, TX. This study included traditional culture methods, carbon metabolism preference testing, and PCB degrading gene detection. Interestingly, samples from Donna, TX had a high preference for polymer substances such as Tween 80, and both samples from Donna, TX and Edinburg, TX (a local source with no reported PCBs) contained genes for PCB degradation.
Currently, she is interested in characterizing and comparing microbial communities from the aeration tanks of local wastewater treatment plants in central Texas. Tentatively, plans for investigation include water chemistry trends, taxonomic profiling, extracellular polymer substances analysis, antibiotic resistance testing, and active sludge in vitro modeling.
Office: BSB A448R
Rafia Afroze Rifa joined Lavado Lab in August 2022. She completed her DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine) degree in 2018 from Bangladesh Agricultural University. Then she did her MSc in ecotoxicology from the University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany. Her master thesis topic was “Effects of the interaction between algae and microplastics on life-history traits of Daphnia pulex clones”. Her research interests are Environmental health and toxicology, public health, and one health.
She is working on a multidisciplinary research program that includes the following areas- (1) Determination of the presence of different enterovirus (human adenovirus, rotavirus, norovirus, enterovirus, and hepatitis A virus) and fecal bacteria by using ELISA and RT-PCR methods on the hi-touch surfaces of schools to identify the potential threat of virus/ bacterial infection to children (2) the impact of interactive, inquiry-based lesson programs on elementary students’ understanding and utilization of proper hand hygiene to reduce reduced diarrhea and respiratory tract infections among school children.
Rafia Afroze Rifa
Office: BSB A448R
Maddison Vrazel joined the Lavado Lab in August 2021 and is studying Health Science on the Pre-Med track. She is from the small town of Danbury, TX. She is working with cell-based bioassays and developing new biosensors to detect viral pathogens in water. At Baylor, she is involved in First in Line as an ambassador which represents all first-generation college students as well as the American Medical Women’s Association which focuses on empowering women who plan to enter the medical field as a professional.
After receiving her bachelor’s degree from Baylor, Maddison plans to attend medical school to pursue her goal of becoming an Obstetrician-Gynecologist. As she joins the field of medicine she hopes to increase patient advocacy as well as health education.
Her research is based on the evaluation of the effects of gut bacteria metabolites, indole derivativess, on differen human cell lines representing different tissues, as lung, kidney, liver, and intestine.
Camryn Koperski joined the Lavado Lab in January 2022 and is studying Biology with a minor in Biochemistry on the Pre-Med track. She is originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan. At Baylor, she is involved in Medical Service Organization (MSO), volunteers with Communities in Schools, and is a member of FILSA (First in Line Student Association).
After receiving her bachelor’s degree, she hopes to attend medical school and pursue her career goal of becoming a gastroenterologist.
Her research is focused on the effects of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), ubiquitous contaminants that have been linked to metabolic diseases. She is evaluating the lipid accumulation response in human hepatocytes (HepaRG cells) following exposure to various concentrations of short-chain and long-chain PFAS compounds.
Alec Mockros joined Lavado Lab in January 2022 and is currently a junior studying Environmental Science with a minor in Business Administration. He is from Kingwood, Texas, a suburb of Houston.
He is interested in ecological risk assessment and examining the effects of industrial chemicals on ecosystems. He hopes to bring more awareness to the impacts of industry on the environment. After graduating from Baylor, he plans on attending graduate school.
His research is focused on the effects of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) on non-mammal in vitro models: selected fish cell lines reperesenting differenet tissues as liver, gills and brain.
Mackenna McGraw joined the Lavado Lab in January 2022 and is studying Honors Medical Humanities with a minor in Biology on the pre-med track. She is from Houston, TX. At Baylor, she is a learning assistant for the freshman Biology Lab and is a volunteer with Kindred Hospice.
After receiving her bachelor's degree she plans on attending medical school and pursuing a career in Pediatric Reconstructive Surgery.
She is doing research on the cytotoxic and proliferation effects of different parabens and their metabolites (esters of p-hydroxybenzoic acid used in over 22,000 preservatives and are considered safe for use in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and food in the United States) in normal human keratinocytes, used as a skin model for humans.