2005 Interview Series #2: Dr. Lisa Kaplan

Author: Frank LaBanca, Ed.D.

Dr. Lisa Kaplan is currently the director of the Biology and Enviromental Sciences Programs at Post University in Waterbury. She received her B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut. She studied under Dr. Joseph Crivello. Below is the abstract from her dissertation

Degree: PH.D.
Year: 1991
Pages: 00159
Advisor: Major Adviser: J. F. CRIVELLO
Source: DAI, 52, no. 12B, (1991): 6255
Abstract: Several species from the fish genus Poeciliopsis differ dramatically in their response to the carcinogen N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA). Differential induction of tumors among genotypes exposed to NDEA may, in part, result from differences in carcinogen bioactivation, extent of hepatotoxicity, and induction of cell proliferation to replace damaged hepatocytes.

Biochemical evidence (inhibition by carbon monoxide and requirement of molecular oxygen and NADPH) suggests that a microsomal cytochrome P450IIE1 enzyme catalyzes the metabolism of NDEA to acetaldehyde and other intermediates in Poeciliopsis. A radioactive assay was developed to measure acetaldehyde formation in liver microsomal preparations. Differences in maximal basal activity and thermal optima (25$spcirc$C-30$spcirc$C) were found among genotypes. Western Blots, using anti-rat P450IIE1 antibodies, detected a 55-60kd band in fish and rat liver microsomes, but none in muscle microsomes.

Northern Blots, using a 49mer probe specific for rat P450IIE1, detected a 3.3kb mRNA from liver of one synthesized and two wild-type hemiclones; no bands were detected from muscle RNA. S1 Nuclease Protection Assays revealed an mRNA protected by the 49mer against nuclease digestion that could be either induced or suppressed depending on dose and exposure to ethanol. Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), using gene specific primers, amplified a 300bp fragment. The putative amino acid sequence from this cDNA had 40% homology with rat P450IIE1.

The presence of cytochrome P450IIE1 activity in liver is, by itself, not sufficient to produce tumorigenesis; there must be cells susceptible to the activated carcinogen. Cells appear most susceptible to damage during their replicative phase. Although adult liver parenchyma is fairly stable, it retains the ability for substantial regeneration. Damage from chemical insult has been found to initiate a toxic response in Poeciliopsis liver. Histological examination of liver after carcinogen exposure revealed diffuse and localized necrosis, loss of tissue architecture, condensation of nuclei, and, in some instances, increased vacuolation of hepatocytes as early as one day post-treatment. Although lymphocytic infiltration was absent, macrophage activity was observed on different days after exposure. Extensive cell proliferation usually began two days post-treatment and continued for up to 12 days.

Read her statement of research at:

Read her current personal profile

Read about her teaching experiences

Dr. Kaplan and Dr. Crivello had a partnership for a number of years conducting research in association with Connecticut High Schools. The program was funded by the Long Island Sound Licence Plate Fund and was called The Estuary Watch Program. Students would collect data from different Long Island Sound Salt Marshes in Connecticut, provide data, with more sophisticated research taking place in Dr. Crivello’s lab. Read about this program at http://estuary.uconn.edu

If you would like to find out more about some of Dr. Kaplan’s published research, search Google! Scholar using “LAE Kaplan” for your search parameters.

Using the information above as well as your own interests and further research, compose appropriate, relevant questions to ask Dr. Kaplan when she visits us on October 25th. Questions should be conceptual, in-depth, and original (do not repeat other students’ questions). Post them here so we can share our ideas and thoughts.

Our interview will conclude with the “Big10.” . . . a series of rapid-fire, quick-response questions based on The Pivot Questionnaire. You will probably recognize them as similar to the 10 questions James Lipton asks of his interviewees on the television program Inside the Actor’s Studio.

01. What is your favorite word?
02. What is your least favorite word?
03. What turns you on creatively?
04. Who has made the biggest impact on your life? (name and relation)
05. What is your favorite scientific word?
06. What sound or noise do you love?
07. What sound or noise do you hate?
08. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
09. What profession would you not like to do?
10. What phrase or message should all people know?

27 Responses to “2005 Interview Series #2: Dr. Lisa Kaplan”

  1. Sam Says:

    On your research statement you cite that you are working on a collaborative project on Prostate cancer. How did you get involved with this project? What specificly are you investigating?

    When you faced the “fork in the road” if you were to take the other path what aspect of medicine would you have gone into?

  2. Ivan Says:

    Is the collaborative Prostate Cancer project also based on carcinogen contamination, or is it totally unrelated to your Long Island Sound research?

    How dangerous is local environment contamination with heavy metals to humans? Is it a direct threat or a distant risk of something happening?

  3. Derek Says:

    Does Prostate Cancer have anything to with Heavy Metal in long island sound?

    What other problems could carcinogen contamination cause

  4. maricate Says:

    You say that you have been researching heavy metals in Long Island Sound organisms. What metals are you testing for and have you only been collecting data or is there some solution you are looking at for the remediation of this body of water? In my own project I am focusing on biosorption of metals with chitin, so I was wondering if you had come up with prospective solutions to the problem that pollution faces us with today.

    What are the long term dangers of the pollution of Long Island Sound organisms? Will there be an effect on local environments, or is the damage restricted to the organisms you are testing? In yout research it states you focus on sea vertabrates; are these animals any source of food and will the economy, such as the fishiong market, be effected in any way by the growing contamination of Long Island Sound organisms?

  5. Lauren Says:

    It seems that you have clearly spent a substantial amount of time on your education as well as the education of others…is this what you see yourself doing 10 or even 20 years down the road? If you were to change your career now, what would you do?

    Also, what is your favourite part of teaching? And to what or whom do you attribute your success?

  6. Luke Says:

    You said that Heavy metals and chemicals affect aquatic organisms in the Long Island Sound. What are some of the internal and external effects on these aquatic organisms?

    What science and math courses did you take during your high school career to get to where you are today?

  7. Sarah Peck Says:

    What draws you to biology? How did you narrow down your interests to where they are today? You had mentioned that you hadmore trouble with biology than with other subjects, but you liked biology more. Did you get to where you are today by strictly following your passions? Is this what you wanted to do when you were in elementary school or high school? What interests you specifically about aquatic vertebrates and Long Island Sound?

  8. Laura Koscomb Says:

    In the future what type of reseach do you plan to do, since you have degrees in both biology and physiology?

    Also how does teaching compare to researching for you? Do you enjoy one more than the other or do you like then fairly equally?

    How was working at NYU? Was it different than working at UCONN or other colleges because it is a very good school?

    How did your knowledge of physiology help in your reseach since it is more biology related?

  9. sarah gutbrod Says:

    When did you begin to work on your first independent research project, was it high school, while you were an undergraduate student or while you were a graduate student? What was the subject of your first research project and how did you arrive at this subject?

    How do you focus your research on a more specific project like your work on the response of aquatic organisms (specifically the metabolism of xenobiotic ) to chemical and thermal pollution, that pertains to your central question (what role metabolism, tissue damage, and proliferative repair have in an organism’s ability to tolerate pollution) without getting caught up in trying to directly answer only your central question?

    Can you describe the importance of the difference between theoretical and applied science in regards to your own experience and research?

  10. Harriet Says:

    If you were to pursue more of a medical career, for example, work in a hospital, in which area would you choose to work and why?

    What were your reasons for selecting the idea/basis for your longterm research project?

    What steps could we take as citizens to help remove local enviromental contamination?

  11. Anonymous Says:

    Finding an application for one’s research results can be hard, and isn’t always going to affect everyday life in the future. How do you think that your long island sound research will one day help clean up the sound. And is the pollution that you found in the fish from the sound found in other bodies of water in the United States? Could your research be applied to those areas where pollution has had similar effects?

    Is there any regret you have/had during your years of education, research and teaching that might have impacted your research or love of teaching?

    –Dayton Horvath

  12. Laura Konkos Says:

    Can you go into detail about how you found that certain pollution were affecting the fish’s life and environment and the techniques you used to in this process? I am dealing with oil in a brook and stream type of water and possibly looking at the effect of the trout in this class 2 trout area..what can you conclude or say about this applied research that I will be doing? what possible license is necessary in order to be able to use fish from the environment to experiment on? What made you go to UCONN and what did you think of their science department (compared to post Univ. and NYU). How were you funded when getting your PH.D?Did your parents pay for your college education? Why do you think you enjoy working with students so much and teaching? What are some fall backs of your job? I related to your personal profile tremendously, I have a major interest in biology. Now that you have gone through dealing with that specific interest and the many crossroads of your life, what advice do you have for someone like me? Have you ever thought about business and science? Why did you decide to not go into that instead of teaching? Where there special opportunities you were given at your high school to develop and elaborate on your certain interest in biology? And if so what?

    Thank You,
    Laura Konkos

  13. drew Says:

    For my independent project I am working with Fundulus heteroclitus, better know as the mummichog. On Friday Mr. Labanca and I caught a little under a hundred in Great Meadows Marsh in Stratford, and next weekend I am heading to Barn Island to take the other sample. I have researched a coulple options, but do you have any suggestions to what i could test in the fishes relating to the quality of the water?

    What is the most enjoyable thing that you have tested in dealing with aqueous creatures?

    When comparing sites for water pollutants, have you found that the more developed areas are more intoxicated?

  14. LaBanca Says:

    Sunday AM. Where are the rest of the posts?

  15. alex albritton Says:

    How important would you say it is for a person getting biology major or any science major to do independent research?

    How did you know studying fish the effects that different pollutants have on them was what you wanted to do with your life?

  16. gabby n Says:

    In your “Statement of Research” you have said that you have a central question (“my central question continues to be what role metabolism, tissue damage, and proliferative repair have in an organism’s ability to tolerate polution”). What advances have you made in answering this question? How did you arrive at this central question? Do you find that research forms a central question or a central question outlines research?

  17. Dan Bunger Says:

    How does genomics factor into the resilience of these organisms’ ability to tollerate pollution?

    Are you focusing your research on any specific organism in the Long Island Sound? If so, why?

    What do you hope to learn and/or accomplish through your research with the Long Island Sound? Is this what has drawn you into research before? If not, what has changed since you initially became interested in performing this research?

    I noticed that all of your training is in the sciences and not necessarily in teaching. Where you looking to teach higher level sciences in which you would be engaged in more of a exchange of ideas than say in primary education? Was it the topic or the idea of teaching that drew you into your current proffesion?

  18. Dan Bunger Says:

    Some corrections to my last post are: the “Where” in the last question should be a “were”, the first question could be worded better as “How does genomics factor into the ability of these organisms to tollerate pollution?”, and “proffesion” should be spelled “profession.” Sorry about that and it being late.

  19. Rebecca Reed Says:

    In the information posted on the website, I saw that you got your PhD in 1991. How do you think the field of Biology has changed in the 14 years since then?

    Also, now that the human genome has been successfully mapped, do you see describing the proteome happening any time in the near future or do you think it is still relatively far off?

  20. Alex Says:

    What are the longterm dangers of polution in the Long Island Sound?

    How did you get interested in this profession?

  21. Applied Science Research » Blog Archive » Videoconference with Dr. Lisa Kaplan Says:

    […] in the past, and she was actually interviewed by previous students in 2005.  Read about it here.  Please prepare questions for Dr. Kaplan.  Her presentation will deal with careers in […]

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