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Research Fellowships

Investigating How the Microbiome Interacts With Environmental Chemicals in Zebrafish

EPA Office of Research and Development

EPA National Science Foundation Graduate Research Internship Program (GRIP) Opportunity

Opportunity Title:

Investigating How the Microbiome Interacts With Environmental Chemicals in Zebrafish

Research Area:

 Health Research

EPA Lab/Center/Office:

 National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory (NHEERL)


Research Triangle Park, North Carolina


 6-12 months

Brief Summary:

This internship will use an innovative experimental system comprised of colonized and microbe-free zebrafish to learn how microbial colonization status affects the toxicity of environmental chemicals.

Opportunity Description:

 The U.S. EPA is using zebrafish as a model organism to understand how microbial colonization during development affects chemical toxicity. Zebrafish develop rapidly and external to the mother and methods have been developed to change its colonization status. This research will look at the ability of specific host-associated microbes to carry out chemical biotransformations.

Opportunities for Professional Development:

The intern will be part of an active scientific research team, conduct and present independent research. In addition, the intern will learn how to (1) design and carry out experiments, (2) perform sterile technique, (3) propagate specific strains of bacteria, (3) derive and maintain microbe-free zebrafish cultures and colonize them with specific strains of bacteria, (4) expose zebrafish to environmental chemicals, (5) perform automated behavioral tracking, and (6) statistically analyze and visualize data. Depending on the length of the internship, it is possible that the student may be a co-author on a poster or manuscript.

Point of Contact or Mentor:

 Tamara Tal (