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About Nicole M. Roy

Dr. Nicole Roy utilizes the zebrafish model organism to study the effects of environmental toxins or pharmaceuticals on the developing nervous system. Zebrafish are vertebrates, like humans, and follow the vertebrate developmental plan. Thus, discoveries made using zebrafish are applicable to higher order vertebrates like humans.

The questions she asks in her lab are very important to human health. It is estimated that 17% of children under age 18 are afflicted with developmental disabilities like ADHD and hyperactivity disorders. Recent studies of fetal cord blood have demonstrated shockingly high levels of toxins including phthalates, PFC's and BPA. Her lab takes a two-fold approach whether it is an ecotoxicological or pharmaceutical/drug related project.

The first tier of the project involves analyzing embryonic stages utilizing molecular approaches including PCR, in situ hybridization and the use of fluorescent transgenic reporter fish. In these approaches, they look for changes in neural synapses, neurotransmitters and general synaptic remodeling events. The second tier of the project is to link the molecular changes they see to later stage behavioral impairments. Using a state of the art larval tracking apparatus that the department has recently purchased, they are able to track and analyze larval behavior and their responses to stimuli.
Degrees and Certifications: Post-Doctoral Fellow, 2005-2007, Duke University. Molecular Genetics and Microbiology and Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences;
Post-Doctoral Associate, 2003-2005, Phylonix Pharmaceuticals, Boston, MA;
Ph.D., 2003 Pharmacology and Molecular Toxicology (concentration Developmental Neurobiology) University of Massachusetts Medical Center;
B.S., 1996, Chemistry, Assumption College

Affiliations: Beta Beta Beta Biology Honor Society, Sigma Xi, Society for Developmental Biology, Council of Undergraduate Research (CUR), Project Kaleidoscope and STEM Education (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) member


September 2019 - Present Professor Biology, Sacred Heart University Biology Department
March 2007 - August 2019 Associate Professor Biology, Director of Pre-Health Advisement Program, Sacred Heart University Biology Department

Curriculum Vitae

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Honors and Awards

  • Duke University Integrated Toxicology Program Fellow (2005-2007)
  • Best Poster “Assessment of Neurotoxicity using Zebrafish as a Model Organism” Society of Toxicology Meeting (2005)
  • Training Grant in Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology Issued by National Institute of Neurologic Disorders and Stroke (1999-2002)
  • Award for Academic Excellence in Chemistry, Assumption College (1996)
  • Promotion 2019


  • BI 355 Molecular Biology
  • BI 212 Developmental Biology
  • BI 111/113 Concepts In Biology I
  • BI 112/114 Concepts In Biology II
  • BI299 – Pharmacology
  • ESM507- Environmental Toxicology
  • FY125- Freshman Seminar, Toxic Babies


1997 - 2003 Ph.D. Pharmacology & Molecular Toxicology (concentration Developmental Neurobiology), UMass Chan Medical School
1996 B.S. Chemistry, Assumption University

Contact Information

Academic Building
College of Arts and Sciences


Articles (19)

Dissertation (1)