Dr. Stephanie LaPlaca is an ecotoxicologist at ToxStrategies with expertise that contributes to both the Health Sciences and Exposure Practices. Her diverse educational background includes a B.S. in Marine Science, an M.S. in Environmental Health Science, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Toxicology. Her dissertation research investigated the acute and chronic toxicity of tire-wear particles to aquatic organisms, using biomarker analyses to identify adverse effects. Her research included field surveys of stormwater ponds to determine environmental exposure. She also incorporated outreach within her dissertation research that provided opportunities for undergraduate and high school students to develop practical laboratory skills and encouraged scientific inquiry related to microplastic and environmental science research.
Additional research projects extend into evaluating the endocrine-related effects in largemouth bass within a PCB contaminated reservoir. Dr. LaPlaca has experience in histological evaluation for endocrine-related abnormalities in gonadal tissues and experience in the interpretation of endocrine-related biomarkers in fish. As an undergraduate, she was awarded a scholarship for independent research on the spatial and temporal aspects of buffering capacity in a U.S. lake. Her research revealed that algal blooms in certain parts of the lake were driven by site-specific water quality conditions.
Dr. LaPlaca has worked at the state regulatory level in water quality and environmental health monitoring programs. She assisted in project management by coordinating biological sampling efforts and laboratory activities. She also used her capability with geographic information systems software (ArcGIS) to correlate water quality parameters with site physical characteristics. Additionally, she is well versed in water quality topics such as aquatic ecology, harmful algal blooms, water chemistry, and the application and integration of these topics within the context of state and federal regulations.
As a well-rounded toxicologist, Dr. LaPlaca has performed data analysis for environmental risk assessment, which included the integration of hazard and exposure data, as well as assessing study reliability. She is familiar with searching and navigating databases such as ToxPlanet, PubMed, and Embase for literature review. Dr. LaPlaca has used her broad toxicology training for several projects, including reviews of food ingredient safety, toxicity assessments of tire products and tire chemicals, and critical evaluations of literature and study quality for incorporation into risk assessments.