Shannon Bard's Ecotoxicology Lab


Dr. Shannon Mala Bard
Adjunct Professor

Simon Fraser University
British Columbia, Canada

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My interdisciplinary research program encompasses studies of multixenobiotic resistance in marine organisms at the level of the ecosystem, population, and organism, down to the cellular and molecular realms. This work combines marine environmental toxicology and ecology by integrating field research studying intertidal biodiversity at gradients from polluted coastal sites with cell biology studies of the metabolism and excretion of environmental contaminants in pollutant-tolerant organisms.

These results are further applied to address the marine management issues of pollution abatement and conservation. Although the diversity of intertidal species decreases dramatically with increased proximity to a pollution source such as a pulp mill, a small number of hardy species are found adjacent to pollution sources which tolerate chronic exposure to hazardous environmental contaminants.

My interest is to identify these hardy species through field studies then in the laboratory elucidate the underlying biochemical and molecular mechanisms that contribute to their multixenobiotic resistance phenotype. My studies focus on one multixenobiotic resistance strategy analogous to multidrug resistance (MDR) conferring by ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters that facilitate the cellular export of a wide variety of environmental toxicants (Cornwall et. al., 1995).

Elucidating the function and regulation of xenobiotic transporters is an important issue in human health because defects in ABC transporters are responsible for several human genetic diseases (de Vree et al., 1998, Strautnieks et al., 1998, Tsujii et al., 1999) and ABC transporters facilitate the cellular efflux of certain anti-cancer drugs in human tumors thus conferring MDR and confounding chemotherapy (Endicott & Ling, 1989; Yokoyama et al., 1999).


Long term or global goals

Short term research goals

  1. Evaluate intertidal species diversity along pollution gradients from British Columbia (B.C.) pulp mills
  2. Develop a geographic information system to assess the effect of improved pollution abatement at pulp mills studied in (1) on intertidal species diversity since 1990
  3. Identify organic contaminants that are substrates of multixenobiotic resistance transporters
  4. Establish the extent to which enhanced xenobiotic transport activity confers resistance and increased survival in vivo

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Last updated: 01 September 2004

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