Isabella Boyack, has been recognized as a UMass Amherst Rising Researcher for her work in Dr. Alicia Timme-Laragy's lab.
Isabella's research in the Timme-Laragy lab is aimed at understanding the development of the exocrine pancreas in zebrafish after exposure to perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS), and a known proxidat tert-butyl hydroperoxide (tBOOH). PFOS and PFBS are known as forever chemicals because they do not break down in the environment and they have been shown to have toxic effects on human health. They can also cross the placenta, which is why it is important to investigate how they affect embryonic development. The Timme-Laragy lab previously found that at 4 dpf these chemicals cause a truncated pancreatic tail, so Isabella's work is to evaluate larvae at 15 dpf and assess persistence vs recovery of this phenotype, along with analyzing lipid accumulation and levels of cholesterol, triglyceride, glucose, and protein. These studies will provide insight as to how these chemicals affect exocrine pancreas development, along with the overall health of the fish.
Isabella also had the honor and privilege of presenting a poster at the Society of Toxicology annual conference in Nashville, Tennessee. She won second place for Best Undergraduate Poster in the Reproduction and Development Specialty Section. Isabella’s work also won third place for the Undergraduate Award in the Molecular and Systems Biology Specialty Section. The FUTURE committee at the Society of Toxicology honored Isabella with the Undergraduate Research Award which recognizes the group of students that they believe have excelled in research in toxicology throughout their undergraduate careers.
Isabella plans to attend vet school in the Fall. She has been accepted by several schools, including the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. She will be making a final decision soon as to which veterinary school acceptance offer to accept. Isabella hopes to pursue a career in wildlife and exotic veterinary medicine, in addition to continuing research in toxicology in a One Health perspective.
Read more about the UMass Rising Researchers.