Overstimulation of the Innate Response by the Neonicotinoid Pesticide Thiamethoxam: How Does This Contribute to Observed Toxicity in Fish?


The 2024 Research in the Rotunda featured 16 Freshwater Collaborative-funded research projects. Students shared more about their experience.

Student: Nicole Kooij
University: UW-La Crosse
Major: Biology with a Biomedical Science concentration
Expected graduation date: May 2024
Mentor: Tisha King-Heiden

Summarize the research and your role.

I am the lead of my research, both carrying out the experimental process and data analysis with the help of my research mentor.  I started my research studying the effect of chronic exposure to a neonicotinoid pesticide, thiamethoxam, on the innate immune response of zebrafish. I carried out this experiment by measuring the amount of reactive oxygen species present in the organism at the selected time frame. This was then used to analyze whether the organism experienced a change in immune system functions.

What skills have you gained?

I gained skills such as reading and synthesizing primary literature and designing the experiment to test our hypothesis. Additionally, I used different statistical programs to analyze and interpret the data, which inspired me to examine the data.

What was your favorite part of this project?

My favorite part of this experience was being able to carry out my own experiment, and this has aided me in my graduate school applications.

What are your plans after graduate?

I will be attending graduate school for a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology.