Shelby Steele

Postdoctoral Fellow (BScH, MSc, PhD)

Shelby is originally from Montague, PEI but moved to Ontario to complete her Bachelor of Science in Zoology at the University of Guelph.  Shelby completed her Honours project in the lab of Dr. Pat Wright examining the effect of ammonia on hatching and urea production in rainbow trout embryos.  She stayed at the Univeristy of Guelph to complete a Masters program in Dr. Wright’s lab, examining urea production associated with brackish water acclimation in embryonic little skates.  She was first introduced to the zebrafish as a research organism in the lab of Dr. Ian Johnston at the University of St. Andrew’s, Scotland, where she worked as a research associate for Dr. Wright during her sabbatical research in 2004.  There, Shelby participated in experiments examining muscle development in zebrafish embryos.

Shelby then began her work with the zebrafish model at the University of Ottawa as an NSERC post graduate scholar, where she did her PhD in the labs of Drs. Steve Perry and Marc Ekker looking at the hypoxic regulation of cardiac beta adrenergic and muscarinic receptors in early developmental stages of these fish.  She then moved on to do a two year postdoctoral fellowship in the lab of Dr. Daniel Figeys at the University of Ottawa where she worked with both cell culture and mouse models to examine non-LDLR targets of PCSK9, a recently discovered molecular chaperone involved in cellular cholesterol metabolism.

Shelby returned to the Maritimes and joined the Berman lab in January 2013 as a postdoctoral fellow.  She was drawn to the lab by the opportunity to use the zebrafish to model human diseases and use these as a platform for drug discovery.  As such, she is involved in the IGNITE project, a multidisciplinary collaboration with clinicians and researchers at Dalhousie investigating the genetic causes and therapeutic targets for orphan diseases identified in Atlantic Canada.  Shelby also works on projects investigating the role of HACE1, a known tumour suppressor, in cardiac development using the zebrafish.

Shelby is enjoying living in Halifax and being near the ocean again, she enjoys exploring the city in her spare time, as well as CrossFit, cooking, shopping, and hanging out with her favourite orange four legged companion, Leo.


Steele, SL, Prykhozhij, SV, and Berman, JN.  (2013).  Zebrafish as a model system for mitochondrial biology and disease.  Translational Research (in press).

Fournier, S, Steele, SL, Julien, C, Fournier, S, Gulemetova, R, Caravagna, C, Soliz, J, Bairam, A, and Kinkead, R.  (2013).  Gestational stress promotes pathological apneas and sex-specific disruption of respiratory control development in newborn rat.  Journal of Neuroscience 33:  563-573.

Kumai, Y, Bahubeshi, A, Steele, SL, and Perry, SF.  (2011).  Strategies for maintaining Na+ balance in zebrafish (Danio rerio) during prolonged exposure to acidic water.  Journal of Comparative Physiology A 160:  52-62.

Bertelsen, MF, Steele, SL, Grondahl, C, and Baandrup, U.  (2011).  Pheochromocytoma in a white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum).  Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 42:  521-523.

Steele, SL, Yang, X, Debiais, M., Pelster, B, Schwerte, T, Ekker, M, Tiberi, M, and Perry, SF.  (2011).  In vivo and in vitro assessment of β1- and β2-adrenergic receptor function in the heart of larval zebrafish (Danio rerio).  Journal of Experimental Biology 214:  1445-1457.

Steele, SL, Ekker, M, and Perry, SF.  (2011).  Interactive effects of development and hypoxia on catecholamine synthesis and cardiac function in zebrafish (Danio rerio).  Journal of Comparative Physiology B 181:  527-538.

Braun, MH, Steele, SL, and Perry, SF.  (2009).  The responses of zebrafish (Danio rerio) to high external ammonia and urea transporter inhibition:  Nitrogen excretion and expression of rhesus glycoproteins and urea transporter proteins.  Journal of Experimental Biology 212: 3846-3856.

Steele, SL, Lo, KHA, Li, VWT, Cheng, SH, Ekker, M, and Perry, SF.  (2009). Loss of M2 muscarinic receptor function inhibits development of hypoxic bradycardia and alters cardiac β-adrenergic sensitivity in larval zebrafish Danio rerio. American Journal of Physiology Regulatory, Integrative, and Comparative Physiology 297: R412-R420.

Braun, MH, Steele, SL, Ekker, M, and Perry, SF.  (2009).  Nitrogen excretion in developing zebrafish (Danio rerio): A role for Rh proteins and urea transporters.  American Journal of Physiology Renal Physiology 296: F994-F1005.

Wright, PA, Steele, SL, Huitema, A, and Bernier, NJ.  (2007).  Induction of four glutamine synthetase genes in brain of rainbow trout in response to elevated environmental ammonia.  Journal of Experimental Biology 210, 2905-2911.

Fernandes, JMO, MacKenzie, MG, Wright, PA, Steele, SL, Suzuki, Y, Kinghorn, JR. and Johnston, IA.  (2006).  Myogenin in model puffer fish species:  comparative genomic analysis and thermal plasticity of expression during early development.  Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology D 1, 35-45.

Essex-Fraser, PA, Steele, SL, Bernier, NJ, Murray, BW, Stevens, ED, and Wright, PA.  (2005).  Expression of four glutamine synthetase genes in early stages of development of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in relationship to nitrogen excretion.  Journal of Biological Chemistry 280, 20268-20273.

Steele, SL, Yancey, PH, and Wright, PA.  (2005).  The little skate Raja erinacea exhibits an extrahepatic ornithine urea cycle in the muscle and modulates nitrogen metabolism during low-salinity challenge.  Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 78, 216-226.

Barimo, JF, Steele, SL, Wright, PA, and Walsh, P.J.  (2004).  Ureotely and ammonia tolerance in early-life stages of the gulf toadfish, Opsanus beta. Journal of Experimental Biology 207, 2011-2020.

Steele, SL, Yancey, PH, and Wright, PA.  (2004).  Organic osmolyte levels, ornithine-urea cycle enzymes, and the functional capacity of the ureosmotic system to respond to external salinity changes during early embryonic development in the marine little skate, Raja erinacea.  Journal of Experimental Biology 207, 2021-2031.

Steele, SL, Chadwick, TD, and Wright, PA.  (2001).  Ammonia detoxification and localization of urea cycle enzyme activity in embryos of the rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in relation to early tolerance to high environmental ammonia levels.  Journal of Experimental Biology 204, 2145-2154.

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