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Bioanalytical monitoring of Laguna Lake (Philippines) to scope out environmental and human health impacts and water research priorities associated with organic chemical pollution

Laguna Lake is the largest freshwater lake in the Philippines, and is currently under extreme stress associated with population growth and urbanization. In this project, we employed in vitro bioassays and fish health assessment to elucidate the potential adverse responses in the environment and human health, further assisting the local stakeholders with prioritizing their actions towards Laguna Lake rehabilitation. This project is in collaboration with Dr. Patricija Marjan and Dr. Kelly Munkittrick (University of Calgary), Dr. Michael Velarde (University of the Philippines) and the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA). We are also working closely with Troy Locke from the Molecular Biology 

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This project employed field- and lab-based activities to characterize the toxicological impacts of chemical pollution using in vitro bioassays . In June - July 2022, Drs Arlos and Marjan (supported by the University of the Philippines [UP-D] crew) collected water samples (grab) and completed a preliminary fish health assessment using established protocols from the Munkittrick Lab (UofC). The samples were processed and extracted in the Philippines with the support from Dr. Velarde's research team (Jobrielle Baluyot, Harold Carag, and Leo. The dried extracts were then shipped to UofA (Arlos Lab) for in vitro bioassay analysis. The in vitro bioassays selected cover (i) specific (cytotoxicity), (ii) reactive (mutagenicity, genotoxicity), and (iii) specific (estrogenicity) toxicities. The analyses were completed by Emily Quecke (PhD student - Arlos Lab) with the support from Stephanie Peralta (UTEC) as part of her international exchange. From March - July 2023, Jay Macairan (UP-D) went for a research exchange at the UofA to process the gene expression analysis of liver tissue samples collected from Laguna Lake.  The UofA Molecular Biology Facility (MBSU) was instrumental in processing the liver samples, with the guidance of Troy Locke.


This research is still ongoing and data analysed. Stay tuned!

Funding and Community Partners

Faculty of Engineering - SEED Grant 2022
University of Alberta Research Experience (UARE) - UAlberta International
University of the Philippines - Diliman
Laguna Lake Development Authority
University of Calgary - Dr. Kelly Munkittrick and Dr. Patricija Marjan

Emily Quecke (PhD)
Jay Macairan (PhD Exchange)
Stephanie Peralta (UG Exchange)


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