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Academic Degrees

  • Ph.D. Zoology, Zoological Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, Russia (1997)
  • B.S. Biology, St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, Russia (1991)

Professional Experience

    • 2011-present: Professor, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC
    • 2008-2011: Associate Professor, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC
    • 2002-2008: Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC
    • 2001-2002: Post-doctoral Fellow, University of Guelph, Guelph ON, Canada
    • 1999-2001: Alexander von Humboldt Post-doctoral Fellow, Alfred-Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany

1997-2001: Research Fellow, White Sea Biological Station, Zoological Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, Russia

Editorial Service:
Editor-in-Chief of Marine Environmental Research
Contributing Editor of Marine Ecology Progress Series
Editorial Board Member of Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology; Frontiers in Aquatic Physiology; Aquatic Toxicology.

Courses Taught:

  • BIOL 3144 Ecology
  • BIOL 4600 Senior Seminar
  • BIOL 4000/5000 Comparative Animal Physiology
  • BIOL 4000/5000 Environmental Toxicology and Health
  • BIOL 6000/8000 Environmental Toxicology and Health

Laboratory Courses:

  • BIOL 2111 Cell Biology Lab
  • BIOL 3144L Ecology Laboratory
    • Web designer for BIOL3144L Ecology Lab

Environmental Physiology and Toxicology of Aquatic Ectotherms

In today’s world, geological forces have combined with past and present human activities to cause an extremely rapid environmental change, one that is often too strong and too fast to permit the long process of evolutionary adaptation that can require many generations to complete. The population survival and distribution of many species in this rapidly changing world will depend on their abilities to cope with stress and to quickly adjust their physiology to environmental change. The overarching research goal of our lab is to understand the effects of environmental stress on marine organisms, to identify physiological and molecular mechanisms of their stress adaptation and tolerance, and to predict the potential consequences of the environmental change to their populations. Research in our lab is focused in the three main areas: 1) Environmental Physiology and Toxicology; 2) Metabolic Physiology and Bioenergetics; 3) Invertebrate Immunology and Host-Parasite Relationships.

Current Research Projects

Effects of ocean acidification and global warming on marine bivalves. Global climate change, which is to a large extent driven by anthropogenically-released CO2, is expected to lead to significant changes in species distribution and abundance around the globe. Two factors associated with the rise in atmospheric CO2 are of particular importance to marine ecosystems: 1) warming due to the CO2-driven greenhouse effect, and 2) acidification of the sea water and reduction in the degree of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) saturation. These changes can have adverse effects on marine organisms, especially on calcifiers that build their endo- or exoskeletons of CaCO3, such as bivalve mollusks that are ecosystem builders in coastal regions as well as a key species for marine fisheries and aquaculture. We study the effects of elevated temperature and CO2 levels on biomineralization, growth and energy metabolism of three common bivalve species. We determine the effects of elevated temperature and high CO2 on shell formation and growth, survival, energy metabolism, as well as structural and mechanical properties of shells in the bivalves. These studies are important for assessing the potential ecological and economic impacts of global climate change in estuaries and coastal zones of the ocean.

Energy metabolism as a tool to assess interactive effects of multiple stressors in marine organisms. This research project is focused on physiological and molecular mechanisms of interactive effects of temperature stress, ocean acidification (such as expected in the case of the global change),hypoxia and metal pollution on physiology and bioenergetics of marine bivalves (including oysters, clams and mussels) that serve as ecosystem engineers in estuarine and coastal communities. We focus on the role of energy metabolism in stress adaptations and tolerance, because matching metabolic demand with energy supply is a key factor for sustained activity, reproduction and survival of all organisms – from bacteria to humans, and metabolic misbalance is a major factor setting limits of stress tolerance and implicated in disease and pathology.  We use an integrative approach by analyzing the stressor effects on different levels – from molecular, subcellular (mitochondrial) and cellular responses to the effects on the whole-organism physiology and bioenergetics, and predicting the potential consequences of these effects for population performance and survival.

Environmental effects on immune function and disease resistance in oysters. Immune defense is an energy-demanding function that is critical for survival and well-being of an organism. In our lab, we study the effects of environmental stressors (such as ocean acidification, pollution, hypoxia and temperature stress) on immune health of oysters and their ability to control growth and proliferation of protozoan and bacterial pathogens (such as Perkinsus marinus, a causative agent of Dermo disease and Vibrio vulnificus, a human pathogen that resides in oysters). We also investigate the cellular mechanisms underlying the stress-induced changes in bivalve immunity and disease resistance in order  to understand and predict the consequences of environmental stressors for the health of  bivalve populations on the east coast of the U.S.

Funding:

Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications (last 5 years)
*Indicates a student co-author

  • Sokolova I.M. (2013). Metabolic arrest as an adaptation to extreme stress in molluscs. Nature Education Knowledge (in press).
  • Sokolova I.M. (2013). Surviving thermal extremes: Temperature adaptations in animals. Nature Education Knowledge (in press).
  • Götze, S.*, Bose, A., Abele, D., Sokolova, I.M., and Saborowski, R. (2013). Pitfalls in invertebrate proteasome assays. Journal of Experimental Biology 216: 1351-1354.
  • Bedulina, D. S., M. B. Evgen’ev, M. A. Timofeyev, M. V. Protopopova, D. G. Garbuz, V. V. Pavlichenko*, T. Lukenbach,  Z. M. Shatilina, D. V. Axenov-Gribanov*, A. N. Gurkov, I . M. Sokolova and O. G. Zatsepina. (2013). Expression patterns and organization of the hsp70 genes correlate with thermotolerance in two congener endemic amphipod species (Eulimnogammarus cyaneus and E. verrucosus) from Lake Baikal. Molecular Ecology 22(5):1416-30.
  • Matoo, O.B.*, Ivanina, A.V., Ullstad, C.*, Beniash, E. and Sokolova, I.M. (2013). Interactive effects of elevated temperature and CO2 levels on metabolism and oxidative stress in two common marine bivalves (Crassostrea virginica and Mercenaria mercenaria). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology A 164: 545–553.
  • Dickinson G.H., Ivanina A.V.*, Matoo O.B.*, Pörtner H.O., Lannig G., Bock C., Beniash E., Sokolova I.M. (2012). Interactive effects of salinity and elevated CO2 levels on juvenile eastern oysters, Crassostrea virginica. Journal of Experimental Biology 215:29-43.
  • Sokolova I.M., Frederich M., Bagwe R.*, Lannig G., Sukhotin A.A. (2012). Energy homeostasis as an integrative tool for assessing limits of environmental stress tolerance in aquatic invertebrates. Marine Environmental Research 79: 1-15. The # 2 most downloaded article in Marine Environmental Research.
  • Ivanina A.V.*, Kurochkin I.O., Leamy L., Sokolova I.M. (2012). Effects of temperature and cadmium exposure on the mitochondria of oysters (Crassostrea virginica) exposed to hypoxia and subsequent reoxygenation. Journal of Experimental Biology 215: 3142-3154.
  • Tomanek L., Zuzow M.J., Ivanina A.V.*, Beniash E., Sokolova I.M. (2011) Proteomic response to elevated PCO2 level in eastern oysters, Crassostrea virginica: evidence for oxidative stress. Journal of Experimental Biology 214:1836-1844. DOI: 10.1242/jeb.055475.
  • Kurochkin I.O.*, Etzkorn M., Buchwalter D., Leamy L. and Sokolova I.M. (2011). Top-down control analysis of the cadmium effects on molluskan mitochondria and the role of oxidative stress in cadmium-induced mitochondrial dysfunction. American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 300:R21-R31.
  • Ivanina A.V.*, Froelich B.*, Williams T.*, Sokolov E.P., Oliver J.D., Sokolova I.M. (2011). Interactive effects of cadmium and hypoxia on metabolic responses and bacterial loads of eastern oysters Crassostrea virginica Gmelin. Chemosphere 82(3): 377-89.
  • Chapman R.W., Mancia A., Beal M., Veloso A., Rathburn C., Blair A., Holland A.F.,  Warr G.W., Didinato G. , Sokolova I.M., Wirth E.,  Sanger D. (2011). The transcriptomic responses of the eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica, to environmental conditions. Molecular Ecology 20: 1431–1449. Cited by the Faculty of 1000.
  • Piontkivska H., Chung J.-S., Ivanina A.V.*, Sokolov E.P., Techa S.*, Sokolova I.M. (2011). Molecular characterization and mRNA expression of two key enzymes of hypoxia-sensing pathways in eastern oysters Crassostrea virginica (Gmelin): Hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) and HIF-prolyl hydroxylase 2 (PHD2). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology D: Genomics and Proteomics 6: 103-114.
  • Foster B.*, Grewal S.*, Graves O., Hughes F.M. Jr, Sokolova I.M. (2011). Copper exposure affects hemocyte apoptosis and Perkinsus marinus infection in eastern oysters Crassostrea virginica (Gmelin). Fish and Shellfish Immunology 31:341-349.
  • Hughes F.M., Foster B., Grewal S., Sokolova I.M. (2010). Apoptosis as a host defense mechanism in Crassostrea virginica and its modulation by Perkinsus marinus. Fish and Shellfish Immunology 29(2):247-257.
  • Ivanina A.V.*, Sokolov E.P., Sokolova I.M. (2010). Effects of cadmium on anaerobic energy metabolism and mRNA expression during air exposure and recovery of an intertidal mollusk Crassostrea virginica. Aquatic Toxicology 99:330-342.
  • Lannig G., Eilers S., Pörtner H.O., Sokolova I.M., Bock C. (2010). Impact of ocean acidification on energy metabolism of oyster, Crassostrea gigas – Changes in metabolic pathways and thermal response. Marine Drugs 8(8), 2318-2339.
  • Beniash E., Ivanina A.*, Lieb N.S.*, Kurochkin I.*, Sokolova I.M. (2010). Elevated levels of carbon dioxide affect metabolism and shell formation in oysters Crassostrea virginica (Gmelin). Marine Ecology Progress Series 419:95-108.
  • Ivanina A.V.*, Eilers S.*, Kurochkin I.O.*, Chung J.S., Techa S.*, Piontkivska H., Sokolov E.P., Sokolova I.M. (2010). Effects of cadmium exposure and intermittent anoxia on nitric oxide metabolism in eastern oysters Crassostrea virginica. Journal of Experimental Biology 213, 433-444.
  • Cherkasov A. S., Taylor C.*, Sokolova I.M. (2010). Seasonal variation in mitochondrial responses to cadmium and temperature in eastern oysters Crassostrea virginica (Gmelin) from different latitudes. Aquatic Toxicology 97(1): 68-78.
  • Kurochkin I.O.*, Ivanina A.V.*, Eilers S.*, Downs C.A., May L.A., Sokolova I.M. (2009). Cadmium affects metabolic responses to prolonged anoxia and reoxygenation in eastern oysters Crassostrea virginica. American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 297: R1262-R1272.
  • Sokolova I.M. (2009). Apoptosis in molluscan immune defense. Invertebrate Survival Journal 6: 49-58 (invited review). Open Access: http://www.isj.unimo.it/articoli/ISJ183.pdf
  • Kern B., Ivanina A.V.*, Piontkivska H., Sokolov E.P., Sokolova I.M. (2009). Molecular characterization and expression of a novel homolog of uncoupling protein 5 (UCP5) from the eastern oyster Crassostrea virginica (Gmelin) (Bivalvia: Ostreidae). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology D 4: 121-127.
  • Granovitch A.I., Yagunova E.B.*, Maximovich A.N.*, Sokolova I.M.(2009). Elevated female fecundity as a possible compensatory mechanism in response to trematode infestation in populations of Littorina saxatilis (Olivi). International Journal of Parasitology 39: 1011-1019.
  • Ivanina A.I.*, Taylor C.*, Sokolova I.M. (2009). Effects of elevated temperature and cadmium exposure on stress protein response in eastern oysters Crassostrea virginica (Gmelin). Aquatic Toxicology 91: 245-254.
  • Sokolova I.M. (2008). Poikilotherms. In: S. E. Jorgensen & B. D. Fath (eds). Encyclopedia of Ecology, 1st Edition, Elsevier B.V., Oxford. Pp. 2851-2854. (invited chapter).
  • Sokolova I.M. (2008). Temperature regulation. In: S. E. Jorgensen & B. D. Fath (eds). Encyclopedia of Ecology, 1st Edition, Elsevier B.V., Oxford. Pp. 3509-3516. (invited chapter).
  • Sokolova I.M., Lannig G. (2008). Interactive effects of metal pollution and temperature on metabolism in aquatic ectotherms: Implications of global climate change. Climate Research 37: 181-201. (invited review).
  • Ivanina A.V.*, Habinck E.*, Sokolova I.M. (2008). Differential sensitivity to cadmium of key mitochondrial enzymes in the eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica Gmelin (Bivalvia: Ostreidae). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology C 148: 72-79. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cbpc.2008.03.009
  • Ivanina A.V.*, Sokolova I.M. (2008). Effects of cadmium exposure on expression and activity of P-glycoprotein in eastern oysters, Crassostrea virginica Gmelin. Aquatic Toxicology 88:19-28. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aquatox.2008.02.014
  • Ivanina A.V.*, Sokolova I.M., Sukhotin A.A. (2008). Oxidative stress and expression of chaperones in aging mollusks. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology A 150: 53-61. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cbpb.2008.01.005
  • Lannig G., Bock C., Cherkasov A.*, Pörtner H.O., Sokolova I.M. (2008). Cadmium-dependent oxygen limitation affects temperature tolerance in eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica Gmelin). American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 294:1338-1346. http://ajpregu.physiology.org/cgi/reprint/294/4/R1338
  • Ivanina A.V.*, Cherkasov A.S.*, Sokolova I.M. (2008). Effects of cadmium on cellular protein and glutathione synthesis and expression of stress proteins in eastern oysters, Crassostrea virginica Gmelin. Journal of Experimental Biology 211: 577-586. http://jeb.biologists.org/cgi/reprint/211/4/577
  • Sanni B.*, Williams K.*, Sokolov E.P., Sokolova I.M. (2008). Effects of acclimation temperature and cadmium exposure on mitochondrial aconitase and LON protease from a model marine ectotherm, Crassostrea virginica. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology C 147: 101 – 112. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cbpc.2007.08.005
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