Omics approaches in environmental toxicology

Date: July 14, 2021 4:00 pm (ET)


  • Denina Simmons
    Ontario Tech University

The use of ‘Omics approaches (e.g. genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics) is increasing in the field of environmental science. When I first began doing ‘Omics research, I participated in a fair bit of critical discourse with other scientists who thought that ‘Omics science was not appropriate for use in environmental science. In this seminar I will build a case for the use of ‘Omics approaches in the field of environmental toxicology. I will begin by introducing the audience to the concepts and technologies of ‘Omics approaches, and then present some real-world examples of how I have applied ‘Omics approaches as an aquatic toxicologist, as well how blood plasma ‘Omics approaches could lead to a new era in non-lethal ecosystem health monitoring. I will conclude with an overview of some of the current research my lab group is working on, and what I would like the future of environmental research to look like when the full potential of ‘Omics technologies are completely realized.


Dr. Denina Simmons was apointed to the Faculty of Science at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in July 2018, where she is a Tier II Canada Research Chair in Aquatic Toxicology and runs the Aquatic Omics Lab. Denina is also an associate editor of the Elsevier Journal “Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology – Part D: Genomics and Proteomics”. Denina received her undergraduate degree from Ryerson University and then completed her master’s degree at Trent University under the supervision of Chris Metcalfe investigating the effects of personal care products on the estrogen receptor. Denina continued her doctoral research at Trent Univeristy under the supervision of Dirk Wallschälger and Neil Emery when she examined the metabolic detoxification of selenium by algae. Denina completed two consecutive post-doctoral fellowships at Environment Canada working with Jim Sherry in the Aquatic Contaminants Research Division where she developed protein profiling and proteomics methods to investigate the health of fish. After that, Denina had two consecutive contracts working on ‘Omics projects with the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation, and Parks.