Nishad Jayasundara, PhD

Assistant Professor of Environmental Toxicology and Health
Assistant Research Professor of Global Health
Assistant Professor in Medicine
Email address

Dr. Jayasundara studies adverse ecological and human health outcomes of anthropogenic environmental change. Specifically, Dr. Jayasundara focuses on various teleost fish species (e.g., zebrafish Danio rerio  and Atlantic killifish Fundulus heteroclitus) and conduct field and laboratory studies that integrate functional genomics analyses, in vitro and in vivo physiological and biochemical assays, and mathematical modeling approaches. Ongoing projects aim to:

1. Determine interactive effects of metals and pesticides on kidney mitochondrial function in the context of chronic kidney disease epidemic in agricultural communities based on environmental epidemiology and mechanistic toxicology studies.

2. Examine mitochondrial responses to acute and chronic exposure to heat stress during organismal development and linking to later-life metabolic consequences 

3. Elucidate the role of genetic, epigenetic, and gut microbiome shifts in evolved resistance to chemical pollutants.  

4. Assess rural water quality through citizen science and community engagement in Maine and Sri Lanka

Education and Training

  • Ph.D., Stanford University, 2012


Castilho, Pedro Carvalho, Nishad Jayasundara, Ivona Mladineo, and Barbara B. Block. “Using skin mucus RNA to study gene expression in pacific bluefin tuna.” In Faseb Journal, Vol. 22, 2008.


Jayasundara, Nishad, David W. Towle, Dirk Weihrauch, and Céline Spanings-Pierrot. “Gill-specific transcriptional regulation of Na+/K+ -ATPase alpha-subunit in the euryhaline shore crab Pachygrapsus marmoratus: sequence variants and promoter structure.” The Journal of Experimental Biology 210, no. Pt 12 (June 2007): 2070–81.

Full Text

Jayasundara, N., C. Spanings-Pierrot, and D. W. Towle. “Salinity-induced changes in isoform-specific Na++K+-atpase gene expression in the European shore crab Pachygrapsus marmoratus.” In Integrative and Comparative Biology, 45:1150–1150, 2005.


Jayasundara, N., C. Spanings-Pierrot, and D. W. Towle. “Quantitative analysis of hsp70 mRNA expression under salinity stress in the euryhaline shore crab Pachygrapsus marmoratus.” In Integrative and Comparative Biology, 44:709–709, 2004.


Gans, Ian M., Remy Babich, Nishad Jayasundara, and James A. Coffman. “Glucocorticoid-Responsive Transcription Factor Klf9 Dynamically Regulates fkbp5 Activity and Metabolism,” n.d.


Craig, Emily, Remy Babich, Dilini V. Ekanayake, Chuan Yan, Mangala C. S. DeSilva, and Nishad Jayasundara. “Zebrafish Behavioral Toxicity of Metal-Herbicide Complexes May Explain Similar Effects of Exposure to Water Samples from Sri Lankan Agricultural Regions,” n.d.