Jennifer Ings

Post-doctoral fellow (September 2011-present) 

Jennifer IngsHometown: Quispamsis, NB
Education: BSc (Hon) Environmental Biology, 2003, University of New Brunswick; MSc Zoology/Toxicology, 2006, University of Guelph; PhD Biology, 2011, University of Waterloo
Contact:, 506-648-5985

Research: "Molecular and cellular effects of pulp mill effluent in white sucker (Catostomus commersoni)"

It has been well established that exposure to pulp mill effluent is associated with reproductive dysfunction in fish.

Studies on white sucker (Catostomus commersoni) populations have shown delayed time to maturity, decreases in fecundity, gonad size and sex steroids, and reduced steroidogenic capacity of gonadal tissue in fish exposed to pulp mill effluent compared to fish from reference sites.

These changes suggest an impairment of fish reproductive performance, but it is still unclear whether the underlying causes are due to direct chemical effects on the reproductive axis, a secondary response to changes in metabolic demand resulting in a reallocation of energetic resources, or both.

The objective of my current research project is the development of molecular tools using that will help researchers, practitioners, and regulators understand the physiological and energetic consequences of exposure to pulp mill effluent.

Specific questions include:

  • Does pulp mill effluent impair reproduction through a direct effect on the reproductive axis, and if so where do these effects occur?
  • Does pulp mill effluent affect energy allocation through an increase in energy demand associated with exposure, and if so, does this result in an indirect effect on reproductive performance?
  • Are these changes detectable in fish following the closure of a pulp mill? 

Studies will take place at reference sites, sites exposed to pulp mill effluent and at the site of a closed mill in northern Ontario. Endpoints will be developed to examine estrogenic, androgenic, cellular stress and energy demand responses using a variety of techniques at multiple levels of cellular organization including real-time quantitative RT-PCR, western blotting, and enzyme activity assays, in conjunction with ongoing whole-organism studies at each of the mills.

Recent scientific publications     

Ings, J.S., George, N., Peter, M.C.S., Servos, M.R. and Vijayan, M.M. (2012) Venlafaxine and atenolol disrupt epinephrine-stimulated glucose production in rainbow trout hepatocytes. Aquatic Toxicology. 106-107, 48-55.

Ings, J.S., Vijayan, M.M. and Servos, M.R. (2012) Tissue-specific metabolic changes in response to an acute handling disturbance in juvenile rainbow trout exposed to municipal wastewater effluent. Aquatic Toxicology. 108, 53-59.

Ings, J.S., Servos, M.R. and Vijayan, M.M. (2011) Exposure to municipal wastewater effluent impacts stress performance in rainbow trout. Aquatic Toxicology. 103(1-2), 85-91.

Ings, J.S., Servos, M.R. and Vijayan, M.M. (2011) Hepatic transcriptomics and protein expression in rainbow trout exposed to municipal wastewater effluent. Environmental Science and Technology. 45(6), 2368-2376