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Matt M. Vijayan


Matt M. VijayanUniversity Research Chair

Bachelor of Fisheries Science (BFSc) Tamilnadu, Master of Fisheries Science (MFSc) Mangalore, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Guelph


Research interests

My research program is focused on the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in stress tolerance. Specifically, the goal is to discover novel cellular signaling molecules and transduction pathways activated by stressors, revealing hormonal regulation of these stress adaptive pathways, and the integration of these responses at the whole animal level to regain homeostasis. An overriding theme of my research is to understand the regulatory role of corticosteroids either alone or in conjunction with other endocrine pathways in allowing animals to cope with stress. Broadly the goals are to i) elucidate the pathways that are corticosteroid responsive and critical for developmental programming, growth and metabolism, ii) identify pathways that are sensitive to toxicants (critical window) during the early developmental phase,  and iii) determine the long term, including generational, implications on growth and performance associated with endocrine disruption by maternal transfer of xenobiotics in fish. This is currently being explored using a combination of genomics (microarray) and proteomics approaches along with genetic manipulations, including gene knock down in zebrafish (Danio rerio). Most of the whole animal studies in my laboratory utilizes either rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) or zebrafish, while other whole organismal studies using different species of fish, with unique life history strategies, are carried out either in their natural environment or in controlled laboratory conditions with collaborating partners. I am also actively involved in developing chronic stress markers for monitoring the health of grizzly bears.

My research topics can be broadly categorized under:

Genomic and non-genomic corticosteroid signaling and stress adaptation

Endocrine disruption of the cortisol stress axis and their mechanisms of action

Maternal transfer of contaminants and generational effects

Development of molecular markers for detection of chronic stress/health status of wildlife

Selected on-going projects (funding sources)

  • Characterizing the role of genomic and non-genomic glucocorticoid receptor signaling in fish (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada NSERC, Canada)
  • Endocrine disruption of the stress axis in fish  (NSERC)
  • Development of a BioMEMS sensor for in vivo detection of serum HSP70 in bears (NSERC strategic)
  • Physiology and toxicology of anadromous  Arctic charr (collaboration with Dr. Even Jorgensen, University of Tromso)
  • Development and validation of stress indicators for grizzly bears (NSERC Collaborative Research and Development (CRD) and Strategic)

Refereed publications (most recent)

  •  Wiseman, S., Jorgensen, E.H., Maule, A.G. and Vijayan, M.M. 2011. Contaminant loading in remote Arctic lakes affects cellular stress-related proteins expression in feral charr. Polar Biol., DOI 10.1007/s00300-010-0939-0.
  • Sandhu, N and Vijayan, M.M. 2011. Cadmium-mediated disruption of cortisol biosynthesis involves suppression of corticosteroidogenic genes in rainbow trout. Aqaut. Toxicol., 103: 92-100.
  • Ings, J.S., Servos, M.R. and Vijayan, M.M. 2011. Exposure to municipal wastewater effluent impacts stress performance in rainbow trout. Aquat. Toxicol., 103: 85-91.
  • Ings, J.S., Servos, M.R. and Vijayan, M.M. 2011. Hepatic transcriptomics and protein expression in rainbow trout exposed to municipal wastewarter effluent. Environ. Sci. Tech., 45: 2368-2376.
  • Shepherd, B.S., Aluru, N. and Vijayan, M.M. 2010. Acute handling disturbance modulates plasma insulin-like growth factor binding proteins in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Dom. Anim. Endocrinol., 40: 129-138.
  • Chow, B.A., Hamilton, J., Cattet, M.R.L., Stenhouse, G., Obbard, M.E. and Vijayan, M.M. 2010. Serum corticosteroid binding globulin expression is modulated by fasting in polar bears (Ursus maritimus). Comp. Biochem. Physiol. A. Mol. Integr. Physiol., 158: 111-115.
  • Aluru, N., Leatherland, J.F. and Vijayan, M.M. 2010. Bisphenol A in oocytes leads to growth suppression and altered stress performance in juvenile rainbow trout. PLOS ONE 5: e10741.
  • Methling, C., Aluru, A., Vijayan, M.M. and Steffenson, J. 2010. Effect of moderate hypoxia at three acclimation temperatures on stress responses in Atlantic cod with different haemoglobin types. Comp.  Biochem. Physiol. A. Mol. Integr. Physiol., 156: 485-490.
  • Chow, B.A., Hamilton, J., Alsop, D., Cattet, M.R.L., Stenhouse, G. and Vijayan, M.M. 2010. Grizzly bear corticosteroid binding globulin: cloning and serum protein expression. Gen. Comp. Endocrinol. 167: 317-325.
  • Nagler, J., Davis, T.L., Modi, N., Vijayan, M.M. and Schultz, I. 2010. Intracellular, not membrane, estrogen receptors control vitellogenin synthesis in the rainbow trout. Gen. Comp. Endocrinol., 167: 317-325.
  • Nikaido, Y., Aluru, N., McGuire, A., Park, Y-J., Vijayan, M.M. and Takemura, A. 2010. Effect of cortisol on melatonin production by the pineal organ of tilapia, Oreochromis mossambicus. Comp. Biochem. Physiol., 155: 84-90.
  • Letcher, R.J., Bustnes, J.O., Dietz, R., Jenssen, B.M., Jorgensen, E.H., Sonne, C., Verreault, J., Vijayan, M.M. and Gabrielsen, G.W. 2010. Exposure and effects assessment of persistent organohalogen contaminants in Arctic wildlife and fish. Sci. Total Environ., 408: 2995-3043.
  • Moreira-Silva, J., Tsui, T.N.K., Coimbra, J., Vijayan, M.M., Ip, Y.K. and Wilson, J.M. 2010. Branchial ammonia excretion in the Asian weatherloach Misgurnus anguillicaudatus. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology C., 151: 40-50.
  • McGuire, A., Aluru, N., Takemura, A., Weil, R., Wilson, J.W. and Vijayan, M.M. 2010. Hyperosmotic shock adaptation by cortisol involves upregulation of branchial osmotic stress transcription factor 1 gene expression in Mozambique tilapia. Gen. Comp.Endocrinol., 165: 321-329.
  • Alsop, D., Ings, J.S. and Vijayan, M.M. 2009. Adrenocorticotropic Hormone Suppresses Gonadotropin-Stimulated Estradiol Release from Zebrafish Ovarian Follicles. PLoS ONE 4: e6463.
  • Aluru, N. and Vijayan, M.M. 2009. Stress transcriptomics in fish: a role for genomic cortisol signaling. Gen. Comp. Endocrinol., 164: 142-150.
  • Alsop, D. and Vijayan, M.M. 2009. The zebrafish stress axis: molecular fallout from the teleost-specific genome duplication event. Gen. Comp. Endocrinol., 161: 62-66.
  • Alsop, D. and Vijayan, M.M. 2009. Molecular programming of the corticosteroid stress axis during zebrafish development. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. A., 153: 49-54.
  • Gravel, A., Wilson, J.M., Pedro, D.F.N. and Vijayan, M.M. 2009. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs disturb the osmoregulatory, metabolic and cortisol responses associated with seawater exposure in rainbow trout. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. C., 149: 481-490.
  • Aluru, N. and Vijayan, M.M. 2008. Molecular characterization, tissue-specific expression and regulation of melanocortin 2 receptor in rainbow trout. Endocrinol., 149: 4577-4588.
  • Aluru, N. and Vijayan, M.M. 2008. Brain transcriptomics in response to b-naphthoflavone treatment in rainbow trout: the role of aryl hydrocarbon receptor signaling. Aquat. Toxicol., 87: 1-12.
  • Alsop, D. and Vijayan, M.M. 2008. Development of the corticosteroid stress axis and receptor expression in zebrafish. Amer. J. Physiol., 294: R711-719.

Book chapters (most recent)

  • Vijayan, M.M., Aluru, N. and Leatherland, J.F. 2009. Stress response and the role of cortisol. In: Fish Diseases and Disorders,Volume 2, Non-infectious Disorders. Edited by J.F. Leatherland and P.T.K. Woo. CABI Press, New York. (In Press).
  • Hontela, A. and Vijayan, M.M. 2008. Adrenocortical toxicology in fishes. In: Adrenal Toxicology. Edited by  P.W. Harvey, D. Everett and C. Springall. Taylor and Francis, Boca Raton, Florida, pp.233-256.
University of Waterloo

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