Ben Brammell

Assistant professor
HR 213
(859) 858-3511 ext. 2123

Ecology lab, Fall 2010

Ph.D., Biology, University of Kentucky, 2005.  Dissertation: Characterization of pollutant response in teleosts with varying degrees of pollutant sensitivity.  http://lib.uky.edu/ETD/ukybiol2005d00362/Brammell.pdf

M.S., Biology, Tennessee Technological University, 2000.  Thesis: Evaluation of brook trout restoration efforts in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park

B.S., Biology, Chemistry Minor, Eastern Kentucky University, 1998

 

 

 

 

While other disciplines interest me, I don’t believe that any could hold my fascination as does the field of biology.  My childhood was spent waiting each day for the drudgery of school to end so I could escape to the streams, fields, and ponds that I would never have left if I was not forced to do so.  By the time I hit fourth grade I had had pet salamanders, numerous snakes, fish, birds, lizards, one fawn, frogs and toads of all sorts, four turtle species, sheep, chickens, and one small alligator for a short time (that predictably bit me when I wouldn’t leave it alone).  Although it took me a little longer to appreciate the complexity and marvel of the biological world at the molecular level I am enthralled by it today.  Clearly the study of biology reveals truths independent of man regarding the natural world.  From a Christian perspective these truths illuminate aspects of God’s creation.    

Research Interests

My research interests focus on the effects of waterborne environmental contaminants on aquatic organisms.  Specifically, most of my work focuses on the detection of contaminants via the use of specific proteins, collectively known as biomarkers, that are known to be altered following exposure to certain classes of pollutants.  These proteins may be quantified at the protein level using enzyme assays or immunoflourescent staining although relatively recent advances in biotechnology make quantification of biomarker proteins at the level of mRNA possible.  Several recently completed projects have utilized reverse transcriptase real time PCR to quantify the expression of biomarker genes in fish exposed to industrial effluents.  I am currently working on a project involving the cloning and sequencing of a number of biomarker genes in widely distributed native fish species (longear sunfish and green sunfish).  Once these sequences are available we will be relating biomarker gene expression to levels of both polychlorinated hydrocarbons and metals found in waterways receiving industrial effluents. 

While most of my research efforts are devoted to the work described above I also have a great interest in basic ecological work including distribution surveys and life history work.  While all aquatic organisms interest me, most of my work in this area has focused on either freshwater fish or crayfish.  Kentucky has an impressive diversity of both of these organisms with 242 fish species and 53 crayfish species.  I am currently working with a student on a survey of the fish species of a local watershed and have other students who have completed surveys of fish and crayfish of nearby watersheds.  I am always eager to talk to interested students about the possibility of conducting undergraduate research.          

 

Publications

  • Brammell, Ben F., David J. Price, Wesley J. Birge, Adria A. Elskus.  Pollutant response in species inhabiting chronically contaminated habitats: two varieties of resistance?  Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part C Available on-line July 6, 2012.  Abstract
  • Brammell, Ben F. and Shawn M. Banks.  2011.  Notes on the Crayfish of Blackburn Fork Watershed, Jackson and  Putnam County, Tennessee.  Journal of the TN Academy of Science 86:105-107. Abstract
  • Brammell, Ben F. and A.W. Wigginton.  2010.  Differential gene expression in zebrafish (Danio rerio) following exposure to gaseous diffusion plant effluent and effluent receiving stream water.  American Journal of Environmental Sciences 6 (3): 286-294.  Abstract
  • Brammell, Ben F., David J. Price, Wesley J. Birge, Adria A. Elskus.  2010.  Differential sensitivity of CYP1A to 3,3’,4’,4 – tetrachlorobiphenyl and benzo(a)pyrene in two Lepomis species.  Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part C 152:42-50.  Abstract
  • Brammell, Ben F., Scott J. McLain, James T. Oris, David J. Price, Wesley J. Birge and Adria A. Elskus.  2010.  CYP1A Expression in Caged Rainbow Trout Discriminates Among Sites with Various Degrees of Polychlorinated Biphenyl Contamination.  Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 58:772-782.  Abstract
  • Brammell, Ben F., Ian T. Struewing, David M. Klarer, Scott G. Lynn.  2009.  An Evaluation of the Ichthyofauna of Old Woman Creek Estuary, a Unique Aquatic Resource.  Journal of Freshwater Ecology 24:521-527.  Abstract
  • Craig E. Wheelock, Kai Eder, Inge Werner, Huazhang Huang, Paul D. Jones, Benjamin F. Brammell, Adria A. Elskus, Inge Werner, Bruce D. Hammock.  2005.  Individual variability in esterase activity and CYP1A levels in Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) exposed to esfenvalerate and chlorpyrifos.  Aquatic Toxicology 74:172-192.  Abstract
  • Brammell, Ben F., David J. Price, Wesley J. Birge, Adria A. Elskus.  2004.  Apparent lack of CYP1A response to high PCB body burdens in fish from a chronically contaminated PCB site. Marine Environmental Research 58:251-255. Abstract
  • Shepherd, Brian. S., Katherine Drennon, Ben F. Brammell, Adria A. Elskus.  2002.  Effects of Aroclor 1254 on endocrine physiology in the channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus).  In Endocrine Disruptors: Mechanisms and Impacts.  M. Vijayan, A. Hontel and D. Mackinlay eds. pp 63-68. 

 

Recent Presentations

  • Adams, Ben M. and Ben F. Brammell.  2013.  Effects of atrazine on the chemical alarm cue response in longear sunfish (Lepomis megalottis).  Kentucky Water Resources Annual Symposium, March 10, 2014, Lexington, KY.  Poster.
  • Kirtland, Marina D., Meredith Eckstein, David K. Peyton, Ben F. Brammell, Andrew J. Wigginton, and Scott Lynn.  “Gene Expression in Native Fish as a Biomarker for ContaminantExposure.” National Collegiate Honors Council Annual Conference in New Orleans, LA, November 6-10th, 2013.
  • Adams, Ben M. and Ben F. Brammell.  2013.  Effects of atrazine on the chemical alarm cue response in longear sunfish (Lepomis megalottis).  99th Annual Kentucky Academy of Science Meeting, Nov. 9, 2013, Morehead State University, Morehead, KY.  Poster.
  • Burr, Samantha J., Joshua M. Lusk, Ben F. Brammell, and David K. Peyton.  2013. Use of eDNA to detect non-nativespecies in small lentic systems.  99th Annual Kentucky Academy of Science Meeting, Nov. 9, 2013, Morehead State University, Morehead, KY.  Poster.
  • Kirtland, Marina D., Meredith Eckstein, David K. Peyton, Ben. F. Brammell, Andrew J. Wigginton, and Scott G. Lynn.  Gene expression in native sunfish as a biomarker of contaminant exposure.  Southern Regional Honors Conference, Louisville, KY, April 4-6, 2013, Louisville, KY.  Poster.
  • Johnson, Matthew D., Ben F. Brammell, David K. Peyton, Ben M. Adams, and Andrew J. Wigginton.  2013.  Gene expression in sunfish as a biomarker of contaminant exposure. Kentucky Water Resources Annual Symposium, March 18, 2013, Lexington, KY.  Poster.
  • Adams, Ben M., Demetria M. Todd, and Ben F. Brammell  2013.  Effects of atrazine on the chemical alarmcue response in centrarchid species.  Kentucky Water Resources Annual Symposium, March 18, 2013, Lexington, KY.  Poster.
  • Adams, Ben M., Demetria M. Todd, and Ben F. Brammell  2012.  Effects of atrazine on the chemical alarmcue response in centrarchid species.  Annual Kentucky Academy of Science Meeting, Oct. 19-20, 2012, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY.  Poster.
  • Cox, Jordan, A., Graham H. Howell, and Ben F. Brammell.  2012.  The Fishes of Hickman and Jessamine Creek Watershed.   Annual Kentucky Academy of Science Meeting, Oct. 19-20, 2012, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY.  Poster.
  • Johnson, Matthew D., Ben F. Brammell, David K. Peyton, Ben M. Adams, and Andrew J. Wigginton.  2012. Gene expression in sunfish as a biomarker of contaminant exposure. Annual Kentucky Academy of Science Meeting, Oct. 19-20, 2012, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY.  Poster.
  • Kirtland, Marina D., Meredith Eckstein, David K. Peyton, Ben. F. Brammell, Andrew J. Wigginton, and Scott G.Lynn.  Gene expression in native sunfish as a biomarker of contaminant exposure.  Annual Kentucky Academy of Science Meeting, Oct. 19-20, 2012, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY.  Poster.
  • Marina Kirtland, Brammell, Ben F., David K. Peyton, Kelly R. Barnett, Joshua C. Ferrell, Scott G. Lynn,  and Andrew J. Wigginton.  2012.  Use of gene expression in caged zebrafish (Danio rerio) and native sunfish (Lepomis) as a biomarker of contaminant exposure. Morehead State University’s Annual Celebration of Student Scholarship, April 25, 2012.
  • Brammell, Ben F., David K. Peyton, Kelly R. Barnett, Joshua C. Ferrell, Scott G. Lynn, and Andrew J. Wigginton. 2011.  Use of gene expression in caged zebrafish (Danio rerio) and native sunfish (Lepomis) as a biomarker of contaminant exposure. 97th Annual Kentucky Academy of Science Meeting, Nov. 4-5, 2011, Murray State University, Murray, KY.  Poster.
  • Todd, Demetria M. and Brammell, Ben F.  2011.  Chemical alarm cue response in two centrarchid species exhibiting varying degrees of piscivory.   Annual Kentucky Academy of Science Meeting, Nov. 4-5, 2011, Murray State University, Murray, KY.  Poster.
  • Engler, Matt W. and Ben F. Brammell.  2011.  A survey of the crayfish of the Hickman and Jessamine Creek watersheds.   Annual Kentucky Academy of Science Meeting, Nov. 4-5, 2011, Murray State University, Murray, KY.  Poster.
  • Howell, Graham H. and Ben F. Brammell.  2011.  The Fishes of the Jessamine Creek Watershed.   Annual Kentucky Academy of Science Meeting, Nov. 4-5, 2011, Murray State University, Murray, KY.  Poster.
  • Brammell, Ben F., David K. Peyton, Kelly R. Barnett, Joshua C. Ferrell, Scott G. Lynn, and Andrew J. Wigginton. 2011.  Gene expression in caged zebrafish (Danio rerio) and native sunfish (Lepomis) as biomarkers of contaminant exposure.  Annual Meeting of North American SETAC, Nov. 13-17, 2011, Boston, Massachusetts.  Poster. 
  • Brammell, Ben F., David K. Peyton, Kelly R. Barnett, Joshua C. Ferrell, and Andrew J. Wigginton.  2011.   Differential gene expression in zebrafish and native sunfish following exposure to gaseous diffusion plant effluent.  Kentucky Water Resources Annual Symposium, March 21, 2011, Lexington, KY. Poster.    
  • Andrew J. Wigginton, Li Yinglei, Ben F. Brammell, and Arne C. Bathke.  2011.  Long term monitoring and evaluation of pollutant levels at a gaseous diffusion plant.  Kentucky Water Resources Annual Symposium, March 21, 2011, Lexington, KY.  Poster.

Personal Interests 

In my spare time I enjoy fishing, especially fly fishing for trout or spin fishing for smallmouth bass.  The New River in Virginia for smallmouth and streams of the PA cost of Lake Erie are some of my favorite destinations.  I also enjoy hiking, canoeing, and camping although these activities are usually conducted in association with fishing.  I enjoy reading, particularly non-fiction books about history or science.

 

Interesting Biology Links

Mutant fish thrive in the presence of contamination, why?

Are they boy or girl fish?  Now it's harder to tell.

Intersex fish more widespread in U.S. rivers than previously believed

Scientists describe giant new crayfish species from Tennessee

Email Ben Brammell