STEMExplore Virtual Career Connection with Dr. Theresa Guilette
Environmental toxicologists are scientists who try to understand how living organisms are affected by pollution. Do they get sick more often? Are they unable to have babies? Do they act in a way that they aren’t supposed to act? Some environmental toxicologists collect information from living organisms that are exposed to pollution “in the wild” while others try to ask questions in the laboratory under very controlled conditions. Both types of toxicologists often work together to figure out if pollution can harm living organisms and they can work in many different organizations, including university, federal government, industry, and state government laboratories.
Dr. Theresa Guillette
Theresa earned her B.S. from the University of Texas. She then received her Ph.D. in August 2017 from the Medical University of South Carolina, under the direction of Dr. Louis Guillette, Jr. and Dr. John Bowden In her Ph.D. work, she developed novel blood-based analytical approaches to assess markers of inflammation and oxidative stress in Nile crocodiles and Mozambique tilapia (spent 6 weeks in South Africa collecting fieldwork samples). She has worked with numerous non-profit organizations (Kiawah Conservancy, Bald Head Island) to actively capture and release American alligators to use as sentinel species for environmental health, and has created educational programs to minimize the threat of human-alligator interactions. In Oct. 2017, she started her postdoctoral fellowship at NCSU in the Belcher laboratory and is interested in studying how environmental contaminants (Per and Polyfluoroalkyl substances) influence the health of American alligators and fish in the Cape Fear River.