Public Health major Haydee Jacobs presents research at conference

January 13, 2016

From left: SFBRM Strategic Alliances & Outreach Co-Chair Karl Herbert
and Haydee Jacobs at the Annual Meeting (Photo courtesy of SFBRM)

Haydee Jacobs, a senior public health and biology major, presented her research at the Society for Redox Biology and Medicine (SFRBM) Annual Meeting in Boston. Jacobs, who works in the UMass Amherst lab of Assistant Professor of Environmental Health Sciences Alicia Timme-Laragy, was one of two undergraduates selected to present during the meeting's Undergraduate Day on November 19. The SFRBM describes itself as a “professional organization comprised of scientists and clinicians with an interest in the research and medical applications of free radical chemistry, redox biology and antioxidants.”

Jacobs’ poster was titled “Mono-2-ethylhexyl Phthalate (MEHP) Alters Embryonic Growth And Pancreatic Organogenesis In Zebrafish.” The research examined effects of MEHP, a chemical used in PVC piping and medical tubing that is easily released into the environment, in developing zebrafish embryos.  

"We have discovered that exposure to MEHP during embryonic development may have a significant impact on pancreatic development in zebrafish, but we are still working on determining a mechanism of toxicity," Jacobs explains.

“Participating in my first research conference was a little intimidating, but an incredible experience!” she says. 

“Everyone I spoke to was eager to hear about my research and it was extremely interesting to hear about the fascinating research going on in the field. I was able to speak with several experts in the field, and had lunch with a few young professionals who were enthusiastic to answer my questions about applying to graduate school,” she adds.

Jacobs plans to continue her research after graduation by pursuing an MPH at UMass Amherst.

“After this incredible experience at SFRBM, I am very excited to attend more research conferences. My abstract was recently accepted by the Society of Toxicology (SOT) to present at the annual meeting of SOT in New Orleans this spring,” she notes.