Joanna Y. Wilson, Associate Professor

Educational Background:

  • H.B.Sc. in Biology and Pharmacology, McMaster University
  • M.Sc. in Biology, University of Victoria
  • Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography, MIT and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

I have taught in Biology 1A03 (Cellular and Molecular Biology), Biology 2A03 (Integrative Physiology of Animals), Pharmacology 3A06 (Introduction to Pharmacology), Biology 3ZZ3 (Topics in Physiology), Biology 3AA3 (Introduction to Pharmacology),  Biology 4C09/4F06 (Senior Project/Thesis) and Biology 726 Topics in Integrative Physiology.

I am an Associate Member of the Department of Psychology, Neurosciences and Behaviour (McMaster University) and a Guest Investigator at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution). I am Special Faculty at the University of Guelph for Integrative Physiology.

Outside of the lab, I am active with community volunteering, science outreach to local schools and of course, hanging out with my kids.

Current Lab Members

Lisa Stoa, Research Technician

Derek Alsop, Research Associate

Educational Background:

  • B.Sc. in Biology, McMaster University
  • M.Sc. in Biology, McMaster University
  • Ph.D. in Biology, University of Guelph

I am using zebrafish (Danio rerio) as a model organism in two projects. The first involves the CYP1 family of enzymes, examining their substrate specificities with high-throughput screening (McMaster HTS webpage). The second project is testing the potential for additive toxicity between priority contaminants and their underlying mechanisms of action.  Most recently, I am performing studies to examine the interaction between temperature and chemicals as independent stressors.

Not only do I enjoy my time in the lab, but getting to and from work on my bike is usually an adventure as well. “Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live.” -Mark Twain


Meghan Fuzzen, Postdoctoral fellow

Allison Kennedy, Postdoctoral fellow

Shamaila Fraz, Ph.D. Candidate

Lana Shaya, Ph.D. Candidate

Andrea Murillo, Ph.D. Candidate



Adam Kulesza Mug ShotAdomas (Adam) Kulesza, MSc Candidate

Educational Background:

  • H.B.Sc. in Biology, McMaster University

I am working on a project examining the effects of multiple stressors from nuclear power plant emissions on the development of Whitefish embryos. This work involves observing end points such as hatching and mortality under multiple combinations of both chronic and acute exposures.

In my free time I enjoy rock climbing, dancing and spending my weekends getting lost in the wilderness.

Shayen Sreetharan, MSc Candidate

Sreetharan2Educational Background:

  • H.B.Sc. in Biology, Physiology Specialization, McMaster University

My broad research interests involve animal and human physiology, and understanding changes in this normal physiology in a pathophysiological state or in response to an environmental stressor. Through my co-supervision by Dr. Doug Boreham, I also have a growing interest in the world of radiation biology and studying how systems are affected by low doses of ionizing radiation. My masters project, in collaboration with the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) is investigating the effects of low dose radiation exposure during pregnancy on fetal programming of health and disease with a focus on whole-animal physiology.

I have been involved with an extensive variety of projects over the past few years in the WilsonToxLab. For a full background of my research experience check out my website.

Outside of the lab I am involved with clinical research at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, various community service engagements or just talking science at the Phoenix.

Former Students

Michael Lim, MSc 2016 “Thermal, morpholine, and radiation stressor effects on the embryonic development of lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) and round whitefish (Prosopium cylindraceum). ” Mike is a PhD candidate at the University of Guelph

Kristine Hammill, MSc 2016 “The Effects of Parental Carbamazepine and Gemfibrozil Exposure on Sexual Differentiation in Zebrafish (Danio rerio)” Kristine is currently working for Health Canada.

Charles Mitz, Ph.D. 2016, co-supervised with D. Boreham; “The cost of hormesis” Charles works for Golder Associates.


Chris Thome, Ph.D. 2015, co-supervised with D. Boreham;  “The effects of thermal, chemical and radiological stressors on embryonic development in lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis)” Chis is a PDF at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine.



John Eme, Postdoctoral Fellow  John is currently an Assistant Professor at California State San Marcos.

Casey Mueller,
Postdoctoral Fellow  Casey is currently an Assistant Professor at California State San Marcos.

Michal Galus, Ph.D. 2014 “Chronic Exposure to Environmentally Relevant Pharmaceutical Concentrations Effects Reproductive and Developmental Physiology in Zebrafish (Danio rerio)” Mike is currently a PDF at the University of Ottawa.

Eugene Choi,
M.Sc. 2014 ” The effects of chronic acetaminophen exposure on the kidney, gill and liver in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)” Eugene has gone into pharmacy school.


Lana Shaya, MSc 2014 “Expression of cytochrome P450 3C and 3B genes in teleost fish” Lana is currently a PhD student in the Wilson Tox Lab

Chris Dejong, MSc 2014 “The cytochrome P450 superfamily complement in Capitella teleta” Chris is currently a bioinformatics analyst in biomedical sciences.

James Harskamp, MSc 2012 “Functional screening of cytochrome P450 activity and uncoupling by capillary electrophoresis”

Nina Kirischian, MSc 2010 “Phylogenetic and in silico functional analyses of the cytochrome P450 families 2 and 4” Nina is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto

Lucas Bowley, MSc 2010 “Endocrine disruption in round goby (Neogobius melanostomus) from Hamilton Harbour” Luke has become a physician.

Emily Smith, MSc 2009 “Cytochrome P450 drug metabolism and protein induction and inhibition in fish liver microsomes” Emily has become a teacher.

Marcus Scornaienchi, MSc 2009. “Functional characterization of zebrafish cytochrome P450 1 and 3A genes using heterologously expressed proteins”

Recent Posts

Bring on the summer!

With each academic term change, there can be a change in who is doing research in the Wilson Tox Lab.  But summer and fall term mark times of large change, as undergraduates  and graduate students complete their thesis research, write up, and move on to new challenges.  This year it is a bit of an exception as many of the undergraduates that have been working in our lab over the last year are staying to continue their research.  Kirill Pankov, an undergraduate student that works between Dr. Andrew McArthur’s lab and Wilson Tox Lab, had a very successful thesis.  He won the best thesis presentation for the Biomedical Discovery and Commercialization Program (BDC); no mean feat considering he was discussing his research in Cnidarian genomes!  Kirill is continuing to work on that project over the summer with the hopes that we are wrapping up a project spanning multiple Cnidarian genomes and will be able to move into nomenclature of the cytochrome P450 genes in this important animal phylum.  Caitlin West and Devon Jones completed their undergraduate theses in the Biology, Physiology Specialization Program and are remaining in the lab to contribute to our whitefish program (Caitlin) and mouse fetal programming project (Devon).  Devon won best poster presentation for the Biology Department’s senior thesis class.  Caitlin has just won the best video in the iClimate video competition, showcasing excellent science communication skills.  Check out her video on the iClimate Facebook page; a link is provided on our research pages.  These are just three of the seven undergraduates working in the lab this summer.

We do have a few new people that have joined the lab in 2017.  Meghan Fuzzen joined us in January to begin a post doctoral fellowship after completing her PhD at Waterloo.  She was actually out in the field with us in late fall for whitefish spawning, working ahead of her PDF to get experiments going.  Hard core scientist in our midst and we are so glad to have her!  Allison Kennedy is another post doctoral fellow that has joined the group more recently.  Allison has been working at NOSM with our collaborator, Dr. Doug Boreham, and has moved to McMaster to work on our Mouse Fetal Programming project as part of our ongoing collaboration with the Boreham lab.  We also have two new PhD students in our midst this summer.  Andrea Murillo has moved from the University of Regina and Dr. Richard Manzon’s lab to complete her PhD with us.  We have gotten to know Andrea over the last two years of her MSc degree, where she worked on heat shock proteins in developing whitefish.  We were lucky enough to have her in the field with us each fall for the last few years, collecting spawning whitefish to perform IVF and generate embryos for our research program.  Andrea’s research is going to move us into more invertebrate species and allow us to continue our research on cytochrome P450 enzymes in the marine annelid worm, Capitella telata.  James McEvoy will be joining us shortly from Australia, where he is completing a PhD at Flinders University.  He is our first Cotutelle student and will get his degree from both Flinders and McMaster!

And of course, we are starting to look forward to fall and the next major change in the lab.  Three graduate students are wrapping up their research; both Adam and Shayen will be finishing their MSc degrees by fall term and Shamaila is finishing the last bit of her PhD research this summer.  So between research and writing manuscripts, this is shaping up to be one exciting summer in the Wilson Tox Lab.

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