Scott M. Belcher, Ph.D.
I am an expert on the actions of endogenous hormones, endocrine disruptors and estrogen signaling during normal development and etiology of hormonally regulated pathology in the brain, heart and reproductive system. I have a broad background and extensive training/expertise in molecular genetics, molecular and cellular biology and pharmacology of hormonally regulated and excitable cell systems. As an expert on the actions of classical and rapid non-genomic nuclear hormone receptor signaling during normal development, I also have expertise in animal models of pediatric cancer and chemotherapy, whole animal physiology of the endocrine and nervous systems, and toxicology of hormonally active chemicals (endocrine disruptors). Research training opportunities focus on studies utilizing molecular, cellular and physiological approaches to elucidate signaling and molecular networks that result in, or augment harmful effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals. Current research using transgenic/knockout mouse models of human disease focuses on assessing the mechanisms and impacts of estradiol and estrogen-like endocrine disruptors on cardiovascular health, reproductive health, and the etiology of childhood brain cancers. Undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate research trainees have played a critical role in the pursuit of my laboratories research goals.
142 David Clark Labs
Kylie Rock, PhD
Kylie received her PhD in Toxicology from NC State in the fall of 2019 under the guidance of Dr. Heather Patisaul. During her graduate training she gained expertise in the fields of reproductive, developmental, and neurotoxicology and identified functional changes in the placenta that are relevant to neurodevelopmental and behavioral outcomes observed in Wistar rats that were exposed to chemical flame retardants during gestation. After graduate school Kylie joined the lab of Dr. Tracy Bale as a postdoc where she developed her skills in the use transcriptomic and transgenic approaches to probe mechanistic questions relating to placental function and fetal brain development, this time in the context of early prenatal stress. However, her desire to return to the field of toxicology brought her back to NC State to work with Dr. Scott Belcher. Dr. Belcher's expertise in reproductive and neurological consequences of contaminant exposures and expanding "One Health" research program investigating exposure levels and health endpoints in wildlife and companion animals seemed like a perfect fit for Kylie to continue her postdoctoral training and expand upon her current skill sets. Dr. Rock is currently conducting exposure assessments and studying physiological outcomes associated with exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), mercury (Hg), and cadmium (Cd) in traditional laboratory animal models, wildlife, and companion animals.
Graduate Research Assistants
Hannah Starnes, PhD Student
Hannah is a PhD student in the Toxicology program at NC State, working in the Belcher lab. Prior to graduate school, Hannah worked as a postbac in Dr. Peter Rapp’s behavioral neuroscience lab at the National Institute on Aging, studying age-related cognitive decline in a rat model, and assessing the efficacy of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) as a therapeutic intervention. Hannah is particularly interested in the ways in which environmental toxicants can gain access to and impact the central nervous system. She is currently utilizing a high-throughput in vitro assay to understand PFAS binding to serum albumin, a major protein that carries long-chain fatty acids, drugs, and toxicants in the blood, in order to gain insight into the absorption and distribution of PFAS throughout the body. Serum albumin from multiple model species is being evaluated to understand differences in PFAS binding across organisms. Hannah is also working with collaborators in the lab of Dr. Erin Baker to utilize mass spectrometry to measure PFAS in dried blood spot samples. Collectively, Hannah’s projects will have important ramifications and improve our understanding of how contaminants can impact human and wildlife health.
Zach McLean, MS Student
Theresa Guillette, PhD (Postdoc)
Thomas Jackson, PhD (Graduate Student)
Chris Scheibly (Undergraduate)