Helbing Lab

University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia
What the facility does

Develop and use molecular approaches on wildlife to identify effects of environmental contaminant exposure on ecosystem, animal, and human health

Areas of expertise

Wildlife are sentinels of ecosystem and animal/human health. The Helbing Lab is developing and using a wide range of molecular approaches on amphibians, fish, marine mammals, bivalves, and other wildlife to better define effects of exposure to substances including pharmaceuticals, personal care products, oil spills, and chemical mixtures from municipal wastewater. Particular focus on amphibian tadpole metamorphosis uncovers thyroid hormone action and its disruption by pollutants.

They apply the latest genomics technologies to wildlife species including RNA Sequencing, quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), metabolomics and proteomics. One research goal is to develop accessible non-lethal health tests for wildlife. To assess population health, we are applying our molecular expertise to develop robust tools for biologists to track species distribution using environmental DNA (eDNA). These eDNA tools can test for endangered or invasive species, and the presence of their DNA can be tested non-invasively from a scoop of water.

To study tadpole metamorphosis, we are using powerful biochemical and bioinformatics techniques to examine gene expression programs and their controlling factors in tadpole tissues.

Research services
  • RNA Sequencing (RNA-Seq)
  • Quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR)
  • Metabolomics and proteomics
  • Environmental DNA (eDNA)
Sectors of application
  • Environmental technologies and related services
  • Fisheries and aquaculture
  • Life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment
  • Professional and technical services (including legal services, architecture, engineering)
Real-time quantitative thermocyclers
Laminar flow hoods
BSL-2 biosafety cabinet
BSL-2+ aquatics facility