Nil Basu is an environmental toxicologist interested in the risk assessment of aquatic pollutants, development of neurochemical biomarkers, the use of fish and wildlife as sentinels of human and environmental health hazards, and global studies concerning community health of Indigenous Peoples. Prior to joining the Faculty in September 2007, he spent two years as a NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Wildlife Research Center (Environment Canada) and the Center for Advanced Research in Environmental Genomics (University of Ottawa).
EHS500: Principles of Environmental Health Sciences
Ph.D., Wildlife Biology, McGill University, 2005
M.Sc., Animal Physiology, University of Britsh Columbia, Vancouver, 2001
B.Sc. (Hons), Environmental Sciences & Life Sciences, Queen's University, 1999
Research Interests & Projects
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Dr. Basu's research uses basic, applied, and innovative methods to evaluate ecosystem and human health. Research objectives are tested by means of integrative and comparative studies on multiple organisms (fish, birds, wild mammals, human communities), pollutants (mainly mercury, but also PCBs, brominated flame retardants, pulp and paper mill effluents), levels of biological organization (high throughput in vitro screens, whole animal bioassays in the laboratory, fieldwork on natural populations), neurological pathways (acetylcholine, glutamate, GABA, dopamine), and techniques (exposure biomarkers, receptor and enzyme biochemistry, genetic polymorphisms, animal physiology, gene expression). Cellular events are linked to physiological and ecological processes under a "molecules-to-ecosystem" approach. His current activities focus on: 1) the development, application, and validation of neurochemical biomarkers to assess sub-clinical, neurotoxic damage in wildlife and humans; 2) using fish and wildlife as sentinel organisms to study the etiology of diseases relevant to humans and ecosystems; and 3) development of novel methods to study mercury exposure and effects in both wildlife (focus: fish-eating organisms) and humans populations (focus: Communities of Indigenous Peoples). Dr. Basu's research is globally oriented and includes studies in Greenland, Ghana, Canada, India, Taiwan, Atlantic ecosystem, and Guatemala.
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Basu, N., Nam, D.-H., Kwansah-Ansah, E., Nriagu, J., Renne, E. (2011). Multiple metals exposures among small-scale artisanal gold miners. Environmental Research, 463-467.
Basu, N., Head, J. (2010). Mammalian wildlife as complementary models in environmental neurotoxicology. Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 32, 114-119.
Basu, N., Abare, M., Buchanan, S., Cryderman, D., Nam, D-.H., Sirkin, S., Schmidtt, S., Hu, H. (2010). A Combined Ecological and Epidemiologic Investigation of Exposure to Metals amongst Indigenous Peoples Near the Marlin Mine in Western Guatemala Science of the Total Environment, 79-77.
Pilsner JR, Lazarus AL, Nam DH, Letcher RJ, Sonne C, Dietz R, Basu N. (2010). Mercury-associated DNA hypomethylation in polar bear brains via the LUminometric Methylation Assay: a sensitive method to study epigenetics in wildlife. Molecular Ecology, 19, 307-314.
Basu, N., Ta, C. A., Waye, A., Mao, J., Hewitt, M., Arnason, J., Trudeau, V. (2009). Pulp and paper mill effluents contain neuroactive substances that potentially disrupt neuroendocrine control of fish reproduction. Environmental Science and Technology, 43, 1635-41.
Basu, N., Scheuhammer, A. M., Sonne, C., Letcher, R. J., Born, E. W., and Dietz, R. (2009). Is dietary mercury of neurotoxicological concern to polar bears (Ursus maritimus)? Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 28, 133-140.
Scheuhammer, A.M., Basu, N., Burgess, N., Elliott, J.E., Campbell, G.D., Wayland, M., Champoux, L., Rodrigue, J. (2008). Relationships among mercury, selenium, and neurochemical parameters in common loons (Gavia immer) and bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). Ecotoxicology, 17, 93-101.
Basu, N., Scheuhammer, A.M. , Rouvinen-Watt, K., Grochowina, N.M., Evans, R.D., O'Brien, M. and Chan, H.M. (2007). Decreased N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) receptor levels are associated with mercury exposure in wild and captive mink. Neurotoxicology, 28(3), 587-593.
Basu, N., Scheuhammer, A.M., and O'Brien, M. (2007). Polychlorinated biphenyls, organochlorinated pesticides, and polybrominated diphenyl ethers in the cerbral cortex of wild river otters (Lontra canadensis). Environmental Pollution, 149, 25-30.
Basu, N., Scheuhammer, A.M., Rouvinen-Watt, K., Grochowina, N., Klenavic, K., Evans, R.D. and Chan, H.M. (2006). Merthylmercury impairs components of the cholinergic system in captive mink (Mustela vison). Toxicological Sciences, 91, 202-209.
Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Society of Toxicology
International Society of Environmental Bioindicators
International Neurotoxicology Association