Drake Phelps

zebrafish, immunology, toxicology, immunotoxicology, PFAS

I'm an immunotoxicologist who is passionate about protecting human and environmental health from toxic threats, such as EDCs and PFAS.

Works (10)

Updated: July 5th, 2023 15:34

2023 journal article

Legacy and emerging per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances suppress the neutrophil respiratory burst


By: D. Phelps*, A. Palekar, H. Conley*, G. Ferrero, J. Driggers*, K. Linder*, S. Kullman n, D. Reif n ...

author keywords: Innate immunity; neutrophils; per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS); reactive oxygen species; zebrafish
MeSH headings : Animals; Humans; Zebrafish; Neutrophils; Reactive Oxygen Species; Respiratory Burst; Fluorocarbons / toxicity; Alkanesulfonic Acids / toxicity; Environmental Pollutants
TL;DR: This report is the first to demonstrate that these PFASs suppress neutrophil function and support the utility of employing zebrafish larvae and a human cell line as screening tools to identify chemicals that may suppress human immune function. (via Semantic Scholar)
UN Sustainable Development Goal Categories
Sources: ORCID, Web Of Science
Added: February 15, 2023

2021 journal article

Monoassociation with bacterial isolates reveals the role of colonization, community complexity and abundance on locomotor behavior in larval zebrafish

Animal Microbiome, 3(1).

By: C. Weitekamp*, A. Kvasnicka*, S. Keely*, N. Brinkman*, X. Howey*, S. Gaballah*, D. Phelps*, T. Catron* ...

author keywords: Microbiome; Hyperactivity; Monoassociation; Gnotobiotic; Germ-free; Axenic; Zebrafish; Monocolonization
TL;DR: The results suggest that differences in the composition of microbes in fish facilities could affect the results of behavioral assays within pharmacological and toxicological studies, and support a growing body of evidence that individual species of bacteria can have different effects on host behavior. (via Semantic Scholar)
Source: ORCID
Added: May 8, 2021

2020 journal article

Derivation of stable embryonic stem cell-like, but transcriptionally heterogenous, induced pluripotent stem cells from non-permissive mouse strains

MAMMALIAN GENOME, 31(9-12), 263–286.

By: T. Garbutt n, K. Konganti*, T. Konneker n, A. Hillhouse*, D. Phelps n, A. Jones n, D. Aylor n, D. Threadgill*

MeSH headings : Animals; Biomarkers; Cell Differentiation; Cells, Cultured; Cellular Reprogramming / genetics; Embryonic Stem Cells / cytology; Embryonic Stem Cells / metabolism; Gene Expression Profiling; Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental; Genetic Heterogeneity; Immunophenotyping; Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology; Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / metabolism; Mice; Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1; Species Specificity; Transcriptome
TL;DR: Heterogeneity is a naturally occurring, necessary quality of stem cells that allows for the maintenance of pluripotency and this study is the first study to derive stable ESC-like stem cells from the non-permissive NOD/ShiLtJ and WSB/EiJ strains, enabling easier and broader research possibilities into pluripOTency for these and similar non-Permissive mouse strains and species. (via Semantic Scholar)
UN Sustainable Development Goal Categories
Sources: Web Of Science, ORCID
Added: October 19, 2020

2020 journal article

In vivo assessment of respiratory burst inhibition by xenobiotic exposure using larval zebrafish

Journal of Immunotoxicology, 17(1), 94–104.

author keywords: Chemical screen; high throughput; phagocyte; reactive oxygen species (ROS); polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH); endocrine disrupting compounds (EDC); lead
MeSH headings : Animals; Animals, Genetically Modified; Benzo(a)pyrene / adverse effects; Blood Cell Count; Cytotoxicity Tests, Immunologic / methods; Embryo, Nonmammalian; Estradiol / adverse effects; Feasibility Studies; High-Throughput Screening Assays / methods; Immunity, Innate / drug effects; Macrophages / drug effects; Macrophages / immunology; Methoxychlor / adverse effects; Neutrophils / drug effects; Neutrophils / immunology; Organometallic Compounds / adverse effects; Phenanthrenes / adverse effects; Reactive Oxygen Species / analysis; Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism; Respiratory Burst / drug effects; Respiratory Burst / immunology; Zebrafish
TL;DR: The utility of zebrafish larvae as a vertebrate model for identifying compounds that impact innate immune function at non-teratogenic levels is demonstrated and validates measuring ROS production and phagocyte numbers as metrics for monitoring how xenobiotic exposure alters the innate immune system. (via Semantic Scholar)
UN Sustainable Development Goal Categories
14. Life Below Water (OpenAlex)
Source: ORCID
Added: May 15, 2020

2019 journal article

Microbiota alter metabolism and mediate neurodevelopmental toxicity of 17β-estradiol

Scientific Reports, 9(1).

By: T. Catron*, A. Swank*, L. Wehmas*, D. Phelps*, S. Keely*, N. Brinkman*, J. McCord*, R. Singh* ...

MeSH headings : Animals; Embryonic Development / drug effects; Estradiol / metabolism; Estradiol / pharmacology; Estrogens / metabolism; Estrogens / pharmacology; Germ-Free Life / drug effects; Larva / drug effects; Larva / metabolism; Locomotion / drug effects; Microbiota / drug effects; Microbiota / genetics; Neurogenesis / drug effects; RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics; Zebrafish / embryology; Zebrafish / metabolism; Zebrafish / microbiology
TL;DR: It is demonstrated that E2 locomotor effects in the light phase are dependent on the presence of microbiota and suggest that microbiota influence chemical E2 toxicokinetics, and the concept that microbial colonization status may influence chemical toxicity is supported. (via Semantic Scholar)
Sources: ORCID, Crossref
Added: September 23, 2019

2019 journal article

Triclosan-selected host-associated microbiota perform xenobiotic biotransformations in larval zebrafish

Toxicological Sciences.

Drake Phelps

author keywords: microbiome; microbiota; zebrafish; triclosan; triclosan sulfate; toxicokinetics; antimicrobial; antibacterial
TL;DR: Data support the concept that microbiota modify the toxicokinetics of xenobiotic exposure and suggest that triclosan exposure selects for microbes that harbor the capacity to biotransform tricrosan into chemical metabolites with unknown toxicity profiles. (via Semantic Scholar)
Source: ORCID
Added: September 23, 2019

2018 journal article

Host developmental toxicity of BPA and BPA alternatives is inversely related to microbiota disruption in zebrafish

Toxicological Sciences, 10.

By: T. Catron*, S. Keely*, N. Brinkman*, T. Zurlinden*, C. Wood*, J. Wright*, D. Phelps*, E. Wheaton* ...

author keywords: microbiome; zebrafish; developmental toxicity; BPA
MeSH headings : Animals; Behavior, Animal / drug effects; Benzhydryl Compounds / chemistry; Benzhydryl Compounds / toxicity; Dose-Response Relationship, Drug; Environmental Pollutants / chemistry; Environmental Pollutants / toxicity; Larva / drug effects; Larva / microbiology; Microbiota / drug effects; Microbiota / genetics; Phenols / chemistry; Phenols / toxicity; RNA, Ribosomal, 16S; Structure-Activity Relationship; Zebrafish / growth & development; Zebrafish / microbiology
TL;DR: It is indicated that some BP analogs disrupt host microbiota early in life and demonstrate novel chemical-microbiota interactions that may add important context to current hazard identification strategies. (via Semantic Scholar)
Source: ORCID
Added: September 23, 2019

2018 journal article

Permissiveness to form pluripotent stem cells may be an evolutionarily derived characteristic in Mus muscuius


By: T. Garbutt n, T. Konneker n, K. Konganti*, A. Hillhouse*, F. Swift-Haire n, A. Jones n, D. Phelps n, D. Aylor n, D. Threadgill*

MeSH headings : Animals; Cells, Cultured; Cellular Reprogramming / drug effects; Cellular Reprogramming / genetics; Culture Media / metabolism; Culture Media / pharmacology; Evolution, Molecular; Female; Fibroblasts; Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 beta / antagonists & inhibitors; Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 beta / metabolism; Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells; Leukemia Inhibitory Factor / metabolism; MAP Kinase Kinase Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors; MAP Kinase Kinase Kinases / metabolism; Male; Mice / genetics; Mice, Inbred Strains / genetics; Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells; Primary Cell Culture; Protein Kinase Inhibitors / pharmacology; Sex Factors; Transcription, Genetic
TL;DR: iPSC derived in 2iS are more transcriptionally similar to ESC than EpiSC, indicating that iPSC reprogramming acts to overcome genetic background constraints, and only some M. musculus strains are permissive under LIF culture conditions suggesting that this is an evolutionarily derived characteristic in the M.Mus musculus lineage. (via Semantic Scholar)
UN Sustainable Development Goal Categories
15. Life on Land (OpenAlex)
Sources: Web Of Science, ORCID
Added: October 16, 2018

2017 journal article

Development, and genetic and metabolic characterization of new tomato mutants with enhanced and deficient carotenoid content


By: Y. Dan*, G. Yousef n, F. Campbell*, D. Phelps*, C. Burnett*, A. Kekkonen*, A. Shockley*, M. Lila n

author keywords: Carotenoid; lycopene; -carotene; Solanum lycopersicum; mutagenesis
TL;DR: Genetic and metabolic analyses showed that new mutants with enhanced and deficient carotenoid content in a single genetic background of tomato cv. (via Semantic Scholar)
UN Sustainable Development Goal Categories
Sources: ORCID, Web Of Science
Added: August 6, 2018

2017 journal article

Microbial colonization is required for normal neurobehavioral development in zebrafish

Scientific Reports.

By: D. Phelps*, N. Brinkman*, S. Keely*, E. Anneken*, T. Catron*, D. Betancourt*, C. Wood*, S. Espenschied*, J. Rawls*, T. Tal*

MeSH headings : Aeromonas veronii / growth & development; Animals; Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage; Behavior, Animal; Embryo, Nonmammalian; Gastrointestinal Microbiome; Larva / growth & development; Larva / microbiology; Locomotion; Nervous System / growth & development; Vibrio cholerae / growth & development; Zebrafish / growth & development; Zebrafish / microbiology
TL;DR: Data show that microbial colonization during early life is required for normal neuro behavioral development and support the concept that antibiotics and other environmental chemicals may exert neurobehavioral effects via disruption of host-associated microbial communities. (via Semantic Scholar)
Source: ORCID
Added: September 23, 2019


Updated: March 6th, 2024 18:14

2023 - present

ORISE/USEPA Durham, North Carolina, US

2023 - 2023

East Carolina University Greenville, North Carolina, US
Postdoctoral Scholar Brody School of Medicine: Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology

2022 - 2023

Food Packaging Forum Zurich, Zürich, CH
Independent Consultant

2022 - 2022

NC State University Raleigh, NC, US
Postdoctoral Research Scholar Molecular Biomedical Sciences

2017 - 2022

NC State University Raleigh, NC, US
Graduate Research Assistant Molecular Biomedical Sciences

2019 - 2019

Center for Environmental Health Durham, NC, US
Graduate Intern

2016 - 2017


2015 - 2015

North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC, US
Undergraduate Research Assistant Prestage Department of Poultry Science

2014 - 2015

North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC, US
Undergraduate Research Assistant Program of Genetics

2011 - 2012

Institute for Sustainable and Renewable Resources Danville, VA, US
Undergraduate Research Assistant


Updated: June 8th, 2022 15:12

2017 - 2022

NC State University Raleigh, NC, US
PhD in Comparative Biomedical Sciences

2012 - 2015

North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC, US
Bachelor of Science in Microbiology with Minors in Biotechnology and French Language

2010 - 2012

Danville Community College Danville, VA, US
Associate of Arts and Sciences

Funding History

Funding history based on the linked ORCID record. Updated: December 18th, 2019 10:30

grant July 1, 2018 - July 1, 2020
NIH/NCSU Molecular Biology Training Program
National Institutes of Health

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