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), 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).

Graduate Students

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Megan E. Solan

Ph.D. Student

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 1) in fish using the rainbow trout liver RTL-W1 cell line, the whole fish exposure and 2) in human cell-based in vitro systems: HepaRG, Caco-2, MRC-5 and RMS13 cell lines.

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.

Office: BSB A448R

email: Megan_Solan1@baylor.edu

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Ashley Ball

Ph.D. Student

Office: BSB A448R

email: Ashley_Ball1@baylor.edu

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.

Undergraduate Students

Sanju Senthilkumar

Undergraduate Student

Sanju Senthilkumar joined the Lavado lab in August 2020, and is currently a junior 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

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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.

Maddison Vrazel
Undergraduate Student

Office: BSB A448R

email: Maddison_Vrazel1@baylor.edu

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. 

Camryn Koperski
Undergraduate Student

Office: BSB A448R

email: Camryn_Koperski1@baylor.edu

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. 

Alec Mockros
Undergraduate Student

Office: BSB A448R

email: Alec_Mockros1@baylor.edu

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.

Mackenna Mcgraw
Undergraduate Student

Lab Alumni

Office: BSB A448R

email: Mackenna_Mcgraw1@baylor.edu

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Marco E. Franco joined the Lavado lab in August 2017 after completing his M.S. degree at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. He earned his Ph.D. in Environmental Science in 2021 with the Thesis entitled: Metabolism and mechanistic toxicity of environmental pollutants in fish models: integrating in vitro and in vivo systems for ecotoxicological studies

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 E. Franco, Ph.D.

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Grace Sutherland joined the Lavado lab in August of 2017 after completing her B.S. degree, and completed her M.S. in Environmental Science degree in May 2019 at Baylor. The title of the Thesis was: Biological responses from contaminants accumulated in seafood using an in vitro human intestinal and liver co-culture.

As an advocate for scientific communication and outreach, Grace took her research from the lab and brought it to the surrounding communities, through organizations such as BU SETAC and Present your PhD. Grace was also a member of Baylor's Women in the Academy organization, and hopes to become a future mentor for other women eager to join the scientific community.

Grace Sutherland, M.S.

Sarah Willing joined the Lavado lab in January 2018 as an undergraduate research assistant. She got her B.S. in Biochemistry with a minor in Sociology in 2019. During her time at Baylor, she was recipient of the President's Gold Scholarship at Baylor University, and was named in the Dean's list since 2016. Sarah's research interests were in protein purification, which was extremely helpful in the lab's research projects with biotransformation enzymes. Upon graduation, Sarah enrolled into medical school at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine.

 

Sarah is originally from Tulsa, OK. making her the #1 fan of the OKC Thunder basketball team. She also enjoys outdoor activities and attending concerts. Sarah was also a member of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority, and she actively participated in the Stompfest (a stepping competition at Baylor).

Sarah M. Willing, B.S.