Photo of Jason O'Brien

Jason O'Brien

Adjunct Research Professor

Office:Environment and Climate Change Canada, National Wildlife Research Centre (Located at Carleton University, Raven Road)

Current Research

  • High-Throughput In Vitro Chemical Testing: Chemical safety testing using traditional methods is slow, expensive, and uses countless laboratory animals. In order to streamline and modernize this process we develop and apply in vitro methods for high-throughput screening of chemicals that are potentially dangerous to wildlife. We use transcriptomics, flow cytometry, sequencing, and other methods to measure molecular endpoints that can be used to assess the potential hazards of chemicals and elucidate their mechanisms of action.
  • Genetic Health of Wildlife Populations: The presence of genotoxic agents in the environment is a concern with respect to wildlife health. We develop and apply novel methods for measuring the effects of chemicals on the genetic health of wildlife populations. This includes measuring biomarkers of genome health (DNA damage, DNA mutation, and epigenetics) in various wildlife species such as seabirds in the Great Lakes and river otters in oil sands-affected areas of Alberta.
  • Modernization of chemical risk assessment by regulatory agencies to make use of novel molecular toxicology data: This work involves consulting with national and international regulatory bodies to develop and promote novel approaches for incorporating molecular data into the regulatory decision making process.

Selected Publications

Meier MJ, O’Brien JM, Beal MA, Allan B, Yauk CL, Marchetti F. 2016. In Utero Exposure to Benzo[a]Pyrene Increases Mutation Burden in the Soma and Sperm of Adult Mice. Environ. Health Perspect. 125:82–88.

O’Brien JM, Beal MA, Yauk CL, Marchetti F. 2016. Next generation sequencing of benzo(a)pyrene-induced lacZ mutants identifies a germ cell-specific mutation spectrum. Sci. Rep. 6:36743.

O’Brien JM, Austin AJ, Williams A, Yauk CL, Crump D, Kennedy SW. 2011. Technical-grade perfluorooctane sulfonate alters the expression of more transcripts in cultured chicken embryonic hepatocytes than linear perfluorooctane sulfonate. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 30:2846–2859.

O’Brien JM, Kennedy SW, Chu S, Letcher RJ. 2011. Isomer-specific accumulation of perfluorooctane sulfonate in the liver of chicken embryos exposed in ovo to a technical mixture. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 30:226–231.

O’Brien JM, Williams A, Yauk CL, Crump D, Kennedy SW. 2013. In vitro microarray analysis identifies genes in acute-phase response pathways that are down-regulated in the liver of chicken embryos exposed in ovo to PFUdA. Toxicol. Vitr. 27:1649–1658.