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 started her own laboratory at Wayne State University in 2016 and transitioned to a tenured Associate Professor position in the Department of Environmental and Global Health at the University of Florida in August 2021. In this time, the WATER lab has published primary articles that highlight our knowledge and skills uncovering the critical genes and epigenetic regulation underlying adverse health endpoints and provide critical insights into transgenerational, environmentally induced disease. Recent publications include the investigation of single-cell transcriptomic changes involved in EDC-induced infertility, the occurrence and effects of endocrine disruption due to environmental contaminants we measured in Detroit waterbodies, exogenous factors linked to the development of childhood leukemia, occurrence of microplastics in drinking water and the consequential impact on human health, evaluation of microbiome changes due to drinking water filtration, and the use of novel assay systems to evaluate health effects of volatile organic chemicals. 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.


Isabela Silva

Lab Manager

Isabela received her B.S. in Biology at the University of South Florida (USF) with a passion for studying Conservation science in an urban setting. Isabela joined the WATER lab in Fall 2021 and since then has been excited to see how concerning environmental toxicants found in everyday commercial products can negatively affect populations of Zebrafish. When not overseeing the lab, Isabela enjoys cooking fresh food, singing, and enjoying an outside workout!


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 used zebrafish as a model to study the relationship between gut and drinking water microbiome. She also has been studying the effect of chemical exposures on aged populations to develop risk assessments. When she’s not working, she enjoys hiking and reading.


Danielle Meyer

Post-doctoral fellow

Danielle is a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Environmental and Global Health at the University of Florida. In 2021, she earned her Ph.D. in Pharmacology at Wayne State University, after majoring in Biology and Psychology with a minor in Neuroscience from Hope College in 2015. Since joining the WATER lab in 2016, her doctoral (and ongoing) research has explored the lifespan and legacy health effects of developmental exposure to environmental endocrine-disrupting toxicants, including TCDD (dioxin), lead, and nanoplastics. Her research goal is to use the zebrafish model to look at the specific timing of molecular events during early development that become dysregulated by endocrine disruption, leading to effects ranging from infertility to neurological dysfunction later in life and in following generations. Outside of the lab, she enjoys reading, music, podcasts, theater, researching and exploring new places, and cuddling all available fuzzy animals.


Alex Haimbaugh

Post- Doc

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.


Mallory Llewellyn

Graduate student

Mallory obtained her bachelor’s degree in Physiology from the University of Washington in 2017. She worked in a gene therapy lab at Fred Hutch before applying to graduate school. She is currently a PhD student in Environmental Toxicology researching the effects of ingesting nanoplastics. In her days off she enjoys gardening, reading and mushroom hunting.


Mackenzie Connell

Graduate student

Mackenzie joined the WATER lab in 2017 while pursuing her B.S. in public health with a minor in sociology. She then went on to earn a Master of Public Health Degree from Wayne State University with a concentration in public health practice. Mackenzie has had the opportunity to learn about environmental health and contribute to health research in her time with the WATER Lab, Michigan Antibiotic Resistance Reduction Coalition, and Henry Ford Health System. Combining her background and education in Public Health Analytics, Mackenzie plans to build on these foundational skills as she works toward her PhD in Public Health at the University of Florida. Mackenzie has a passion for maternal and reproductive health and will continue to investigate the environmental stressors that affect organisms during critical reproductive windows. When she’s not in the lab, you can find Mackenzie on the water, reading, or enjoying quality time exploring Florida with her fiancé.


Nolan Lyons

Research Technician

Nolan graduated from Siena Heights University in 2016 obtaining his bachelor's degree in biology. Before starting at UF, Nolan worked for Henry Ford Health in Detroit Michigan, as a Research Recruitment Representative. During his time with HFH, he worked in sample collection and scientific writing. Nolan will be furthering his education next July at Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine where he plans to pursue his goal of becoming an orthopedic surgeon. Nolan will be working with Microplastics while at the WATER lab. In his free time, Nolan enjoys cooking, fishing, going to the gym, and spending time with his fiancé.

2022 Fall Undergraduates

Top row:

Gabrielle Gonzalez (UF University Research Scholars Program)

Dayita Banerjee (UF Honors Program)

Brianna Vo (UF Honors Program)

Ashley Guarino (UF University Research Scholars Program)

Emma Cavaneau (UF Honors Program)

Bottom row:

Grace Winny

Amelia Paquette

Emily Kintzele

Rachel Caspar



2022 Spring Undergraduates

Top row:

Ashley Guarino (UF University Research Scholars Program)

Dayita Banerjee (UF Honors Program)

Gabrielle Gonzalez (UF University Research Scholars Program)

Haley Diefenbaugh (Emergency & Critical Care - UF Small Animal Hospital)

Bottom row:

Courtney Kennedy

Brianna Vo (UF Honors Program)

Meguine Duvert



   2020/2021 Undergraduates

Mackenzie Connell (WSU reBUILD scholar)

Destiny Johnson (WSU IMSD program)

Abraham Soto (WSU IMSD program)

Mohammad Abdi (WSU reBUILD scholar)

Aicha Khalaf (WSU Richard Barber Interdisciplinary Research Program)

Anna-Maria Petriv


2019 Undergraduates

Mackenzie Connell (WSU Richard Barber Interdisciplinary Research Program and reBUILD scholar)
Abraham Soto (WSU IMSD program)
Anna-Maria Petriv
Michelle Gorrell (WSU SURE scholar)
Destiny Johnson (WSU IMSD program)


2018 Undergraduates

Andrea Wahls
Anna-Maria Petriv (WSU Richard Barber Interdisciplinary Research Program)
Abraham Soto (WSU IMSD program)
Mackenzie Connell (WSU reBUILD scholar)
Zane Tolbert (WSU SURE and SURF scholar)
Annelise Crabtree (WSU reBUILD scholar)
Nemer Hijazi