Who We Are

Tracie Baker

Principal Investigator and Director

Dr. Baker has substantial academic training and research in developmental biology, environmental toxicology, genetics, and animal health. Her academic training has been multidisciplinary in nature with an interest in toxicology beginning as an undergraduate at Cleveland State University, where she investigated water pollution effects on zebra mussel survival and behavioral ecology. She earned her Master of Science at the University of Alaska – Fairbanks while researching genes involved in toxin production by harmful algal blooms and bacterial species. After earning her DVM (University of Wisconsin – Madison) and a certificate in fish health medicine from the State of Wisconsin, she was an assistant researcher investigating clinical improvements in fish medicine before accepting an NIEHS-funded postdoctoral position that evolved into a PhD program at UW – Madison under the mentorship of Dr. Dick Peterson. Her research was the first to show transgenerational inheritance of disease using a zebrafish model. In 2013, she competed successfully for an NIH K01 award through the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS). Dr. Baker found that low level, dioxin-induced decreased fertility across multiple generations following early developmental exposure is mediated through the male germline, and has been invited to present these findings at several national and international conferences, including at several workshops hosted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She joined the faculty at Wayne State University (WSU) as an Assistant Professor in the Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the Department of Pharmacology – School of Medicine in 2016 because of the focus on addressing health disparities in the Detroit community within the Integrative Biosciences Center (iBio). She also has adjunct positions within the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences – Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and the Department of Environmental and Civil Engineering, and is a faculty member of WSU’s Center for Urban Responses to Environmental Stressors (CURES) and Healthy Urban Waters (HUW) Initiative. As a previous NCAA Division I swimmer, Tracie enjoys being a faculty advisor for the WSU Swimming and Diving team. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her wife, daughter, and their two dogs, participating in open water swim events and triathlons, traveling, and being outside.

Bridget Baker

Deputy Director

Bridget has a unique background in wildlife ecology and veterinary medicine with a passion for conservation/aquatic medicine, one health, and sustainability. After earning her Bachelor of Science (wildlife ecology) at the University of Wisconsin – Madison with an internship at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, she worked for Ventana Wildlife Society on the California Condor Recovery Project and Big Sur Ornithology Lab, as well as for the University of California – Santa Cruz, U.S. Geological Survey, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and Alaska Sealife Center on sea otter research and conservation projects throughout mainland California, and the Channel, Aleutian, and Commander Islands. She subsequently returned to UW-Madison for a Master of Science (comparative bioscience) and DVM with externships at Vancouver Aquarium, Milwaukee County Zoo, and Toledo Zoo. She also completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the USGS National Wildlife Health Center and a Special Species internship at the UW – Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, and was the former fisheries veterinarian for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and member of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission – Fish Health Committee. Currently, she serves on the President’s Standing Committee on Environmental Initiatives to support sustainability efforts for the Wayne State University campus and community. Her primary research interests include: 1) investigation of pharmaceutical and technical approaches/practices that improve standard of care and welfare for fish and wildlife species, 2) development and validation of non-lethal sampling methods for fish health diagnostic testing, 3) identification and characterization of emerging diseases that affect aquatic species, and 4) understanding the health consequences of multiple, concurrent stressors (e.g. nutrition, pathogens, and contaminant exposures) on aquatic species. In her spare time, she volunteers within the Detroit community, and loves to travel, explore, and get outside to run, bike, hike, bird watch, and kayak.

Selected publications:

Knupp C, Wiens GD, Faisal M, Call DR, Cain KD, Nicolas P, Van Vliet D, Yamashita C, Ferguson JA, Meuninck D, Hsu H, Baker BB, Shen L, Loch, TP. Large-scale analysis of Flavobacterium psychrophilum MLST genotypes recovered from North American salmonids indicates both newly identified and recurrent clonal complexes are associated with disease. Appl Environ Microbiol 2019; 85(6): e02305-18.

Baker BB, Schuler KL, Mayer K, Perez-Heydrich C, Holahan P, Thomas N, White CL. Refining aging criteria for northern sea otters in Washington State. J Fish Wildl Manag 2018; 9(1):e1944-687X. doi:10.3996/052017-JFWM-040.

Sibley SD, Finley MA, Baker BB, Puzach C, Armien AG, Giehtbrock D, Goldberg TL. Novel reovirus associated with epidemic mortality in wild Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides). J Gen Virol 2016 Aug 1.

Baker BB, Baker TB, Johnson SM, Sladky KK. Comparative analgesic efficacy of morphine sulphate and butorphanol tartrate in koi (Cyprinus carpio) undergoing unilateral gonadectomy. JAVMA 2013; 243(6): 882-890.

Mans C, Lahner LL, Baker BB, Johnson SM, Sladky KK. Antinociceptive efficacy of buprenorphine and hydromorphone in red-eared slider turtles (Trachemys scripta elegans). JZWM 2012; 43(3): 662-665.

Baker BB, Sladky KK, Johnson SM. Evaluation of the analgesic effects of oral and subcutaneous tramadol administration in red-eared slider turtles. JAVMA 2011; 238(2): 220-227.

Kim Bauman

Lab Manager





Chia-Chen Wu

Post-doctoral fellow

Chia-Chen received her B.S. in public health and M.S. in environmental engineering from National Taiwan University. Chia-Chen earned her Ph.D. at the University of Michigan. Her research characterized the microbial ecology of point-of-use drinking water filters. She identified if opportunistic pathogens from tap water are enriched in drinking water filters. Chia-Chen joined the WATER lab in the Fall of 2019. While applying her previous bioinformatics and statistics skills, she will be using zebrafish as a model to study the relationship between gut and drinking water microbiome, as well as studying the effect of chemical exposures on aged populations to develop risk assessments. When she’s not working, she enjoys playing piano and hiking.

Danielle Meyer

Graduate student

Danielle is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Pharmacology at the Wayne State University – School of Medicine. She earned Bachelor's degrees in biology and psychology with a minor in neuroscience from Hope College in 2015. She joined the WATER Lab in 2016, and is excited to continue Dr. Baker's investigation into the transgenerational reproductive effects of early life exposure to a model endocrine-disrupting chemical (dioxin). Her research goal is to use the zebrafish model to look at the specific timing of molecular events during reproductive development that become dysregulated by endocrine disruption, leading to sex ratio changes and infertility later in life and in following generations. When not in the lab, she enjoys reading, theater, cuddling with her cat and dog, and both listening to and performing music!

Camille Akemann

Graduate student

Camille grew up in Pinckney, MI and received her B.S. in biochemistry at the University of Michigan in 2016. She has since joined the WATER Lab as a PhD student in the Department of Pharmacology – School of Medicine at Wayne State University. During her first semester, she was also accepted into the interdisciplinary Transformative Research in Urban Sustainability Training (T-RUST) program. Her research is focused on epigenetic mechanisms for adverse, transgenerational health outcomes stemming from exposure to environmental toxicants, such as lead, using the zebrafish model. When she's not in the lab, Camille enjoys running, playing piano, and spending time with her pets, Daisy and Mija.

Alex Haimbaugh

Graduate student

Alex earned her B.S. in neuroscience from the University of Michigan in 2015. She worked in a neuroscience lab at Johns Hopkins University before joining Wayne State University's Pharmacology program in 2018. Her research in the WATER Lab uses a zebrafish model to examine the developmental and endocrine disrupting effects of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that are found in the Lake Huron to Erie corridor. Outside of the lab, she enjoys CrossFit, being outdoors, and reading.

Jeremy Shields

Research Assistant

Jeremy is a research assistant in the WATER Lab, Dr. Ryan Thummel's lab, and is an active entrepreneur at Wayne State University. Jeremy combines years of working in the preclinical research industry with his academic background to pursue innovative investigations. His research efforts in the WATER Lab focus on screening emerging environmental contaminants and optimizing larval zebrafish behavioral assays. Supported by the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation, Jeremy is also pioneering a zebrafish model for the progression of human retinoblastoma. He has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Alma College and a master’s degree in basic medical science from Wayne State University. He is currently applying to medical school, where he plans to employ his research and business expertise to advance precision medicine.

Adam Pedersen

Research Assistant

Adam grew up in Clinton Township, MI and received his B.S in environmental science with a minor in geology from Wayne State University in 2018. He started in the WATER lab in 2018. He is very excited to be studying the ecological and human health risks of microplastics using a zebrafish model. He is also working with Macomb County Public Works to study the buildup of fats, oils, and greases (FOGS) that create "fatbergs" in sewer systems and their associated environmental consequences. He is currently applying for PhD programs in environmental toxicology for the fall of 2020. When he’s not in the lab he enjoys running, visiting his family and friends, and playing with his cat, George.

2019 Undergraduate lab members:

Mackenzie Connell (Richard Barber Interdisciplinary Research Program and reBUILD scholar)

Abraham Soto (IMSD program)

Anna-Maria Petriv

Michelle Gorrell (SURE scholar)

Destiny Johnson (IMSD program)

2018 Undergraduate lab members:

Andrea Wahls

Anna-Maria Petriv (Richard Barber Interdisciplinary Research Program)

Abraham Soto (IMSD program)

Mackenzie Connell (reBUILD scholar)

Zane Tolbert (SURE and SURF scholar)

Annelise Crabtree (reBUILD scholar)

Nemer Hijazi