Toxicology

Steven J. Bursian, Professor
Principle Investigator, Animal Toxicology Laboratory
Katrina L. Shields, Research Assistant/Laboratory Coordinator

Our laboratory studies the effects of natural toxins such as mycotoxins and environmental contaminants such as PCBs and dioxins on animals. For the past 40 years, past and present members of our group have worked with mink and have contributed significantly to the extensive database regarding not only the biology of this species, but also the unique sensitivity of the mink to persistent environmental contaminants. Most recently, we have conducted a number of feeding trials with mink that assessed the reproductive and health effects of environmentally derived chemical contaminants from specific areas of concern such as the Saginaw River in Michigan and the Housatonic River in Massachusetts. We are also studying a unique lesion of the jaw that occurs in mink exposed to specific chlorinated contaminants that are common in the environment. Additionally, we have conducted a number of studies that have examined the effects of common environmental contaminants as well as emerging contaminants on avian embryo development. We are fortunate to have a number of fellow scientists not only at MSU but at other research facilities throughout the word, that collaborate with us on our studies. The data that this laboratory has generated over the years have been and will continue to be important information incorporated into ecological risk assessments.

Karen Chou, Associate Professor
Toxicology Group

My laboratory studies the exposure and health effects of environmental chemicals in mammalian species, with a focus on developmental and reproductive toxicity. The laboratory examines the mechanism of toxicity of pesticides and endocrine disruptors on testicular function, sperm and egg production, and fertility. The target mechanisms include the functions of endocrine systems, production of reactive oxygen species, and the relationship between clusters of alternations in gene expression and long-term reproductive performance. A second major focus of my laboratory is the development of improved semen preservation methods for livestock. The study models include laboratory animals, livestock, and cultured gametes.