• Corinna Singleman

    Ecotoxicologist interested in increasing scientific literacy


    “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”

    Carl Sagan


    My goal as a scientist is to explore the world, gather what knowledge I can, and share that knowledge as far as it can go.


    I aim to use my expertise and scientific training to bridge the ever-widening gap between the scientific community and the rest of the world by teaching, writing and working on projects that directly impact my community. Ideally, I would like move my career to scientific publishing where I can play a role in science communication.


    Currently, I am working with the HSI STEM Bridges Across Easter Queens grant to redesign stem courses at Queens College and Queensborough Community College. Through this grant, we aim to open opportunities to more students interested in careers in STEM. As the Communications Director I make sure that all the players in our grant are kept up to date with project progress and events, while also sharing this information with the wider community both in person and digitally. I also work with our peer mentors to develop learning collectives, help negotiate articulation agreements to allow for seamless transfers for STEM students between colleges, and help with course redesign implementation.


    My doctoral research explored the effects of toxins found in NYC water ways on fish development. This project identified effects of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) exposure on zebrafish and sturgeon heart development, specifically exploring a novel mechanism of aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) action in causing these defects. My study married the widely different fields of developmental, genetic and ecological biology.



    HSI STEM Bridges Across Eastern Queens

    Director of Communications & Special Projects

    Sept 2018 – Present


    I make sure that all the players in our grant are kept up to date with project progress and events, while also sharing this information with the wider community both in person and digitally. I also work with our peer mentors to develop learning collectives, help negotiate articulation agreements to allow for seamless transfers for STEM students between colleges, and help with course redesign implementation.

    Queens College

    Visiting Assistant Professor

    Aug 2017 – Aug 2018


    I designed taught Vertebrate Histology to upper level juniors and seniors majoring in biology, taught Introductory Biology lectures for majors, and Writing in the Sciences to non-majors.

    HSI STEM Bridges Across Eastern Queens

    Assistant to the Director

    Aug 2017 – Sep 2018



    CUNY Graduate Center

    Doctoral Candidate 

    Aug 2011 – June 2017


    I am a doctoral student studying the developmental consequences of PCBs on zebrafish and sturgeon heart development.

    Queens College CUNY

    Graduate Teaching Assistant 

    Jun 2012 – May 2017

    Adjunct Lecturer 

    Aug 2009 – Aug 2011


    Currently teach multiple lab sections for Anatomy and Physiology. Taught laboratory sections for Intro Bio, A&P and Nutritional Microbiology. Coauthored, with course head, new musculoskeletal lab for Intro Biology. Responsibilities include modifying and presenting lab lectures, writing and administering exams and maintaining regular office hours.


    Queens College

    Lab Technician 

    Aug 2009 – Aug 2011


    Conducted independent research on cardiomyopathy in zebrafish. Managed many lab support functions, including tending zebrafish test subjects, general upkeep of fish facility and laboratory training of other researchers in the laboratory.

    Chatham University

    Teaching Assistant for Cadaver Lab 

    Jan 2009 – May 2009


    Taught a weekly lab class identifying anatomy of male and female cadavers.

    Chatham University

    Supplemental Instructor for Intro to Cell Biology Course 

    Jan 2009 – May 2009


    Held weekly office hours to assist students. Sessions included lecture and reading material review, and included exposing students to study and understanding techniques to aid them in self-study.

    US Army Corps of Engineers

    Plover Steward 

    Jul 2008 – Sep 2008


    Worked in a team locating and monitoring piping plover and least tern nesting sites on private property on Long Island NY. Helped erect symbolic fencing and predator exclosures at nesting areas, monitoring reproductive success throughout the breeding season, recorded specified daily field observations including nesting success reports and time reports and assisted with preparation of final reports.

  • Publications

    Impact of aquatic toxins on heart development in Atlantic and shortnose sturgeon larvae.
    A final report of the Tibor T. Polgar Fellowship Program

    Corinna Singleman and Nathalia Holtzman



    The Hudson River (HR) is teeming with life, and also with toxins. Over the course of 30 years General Electric released approximately 1.3 million pounds of PCB mixtures (Aroclors) into the HR resulting in lasting contamination. While PCBs are chemically quite stable, they are biologically active causing cancer, reproductive, developmental and survival problems. Fish living and breeding in the HR are exposed to these toxins and suffer the consequences. Sturgeon have historically frequented the HR during spawning seasons and with populations starting to increase, more and more sturgeon return to the river each year to lay their eggs in the contaminated sediments. While some information is available on the consequences of toxin exposure to different fish species, little is understood of sturgeon response to PCBs. Proper heart development is essential to survival of many organisms and PCBs are known to impact cardiac development. This study explored the effects of early toxin exposure on sturgeon heart development using molecular tools to visualize the young sturgeon heart. Shortnose and Atlantic sturgeon hearts exposed to PCB 126, TCDD and an Aroclor mixture showed unique cardiac deformities. PCB 126 caused hearts to not loop properly in early heart development, while TCDD and Aroclor treatments resulted in hearts with chambers that did not balloon. In both situations, the fish likely had problems with blood circulation and in most cases, treated fish died soon after hatching. These toxins have a clear impact on development and survival of sturgeon larvae and may hinder the budding recovery of these endangered species.


    Full text: http://www.hudsonriver.org/ls/reports/Polgar_Singleman_TP_05_14_final.pdf

    Growth and maturation in the zebrafish, Danio rerio: A staging tool for teaching and research.

    Corinna Singleman and Nathalia Holtzman

    July 2014


    Zebrafish have been increasingly used as a teaching tool to enhance the learning of many biological concepts from genetics, development and behavior to the understanding of the local watershed. While traditionally, in both research and teaching, zebrafish work has focused on embryonic stages; however later stages, from larval through adulthood, are increasingly being examined. Defining developmental stages based on age is a problematic way to assess maturity because many environmental factors, such as temperature, population density and water quality, impact growth and maturation. Fish length and characterization of key external morphological traits are considered better markers for maturation state. While a number of staging series exist for zebrafish, here we present a simplified normalization table of post-embryonic maturation well suited to both educational and research use. Specifically, we utilize fish size and four easily identified external morphological traits (pigment pattern, tail fin, anal fin and dorsal fin morphology) to describe three larval stages, a juvenile stage, and an adult stage. These simplified maturation standards will be a useful tool for both educational and research protocols.



    Analysis of post-embryonic heart development and maturation in the zebrafish, Danio rerio.

    Corinna Singleman and Nathalia Holtzman

    Nov 2012


    Background: Cardiac maturation is vital for animal survival and must occur throughout the animal's life. Zebrafish are increasingly used to model cardiac disease; however, little is known about how the cardiovascular system matures. We conducted a systematic analysis of cardiac maturation from larvae through to adulthood and assessed cardiac features influenced by genetic and environmental factors. Results: We identified a novel step in cardiac maturation, termed cardiac rotation, where the larval heart rotates into its final orientation within the thoracic cavity with the atrium placed behind the ventricle. This rotation is followed by linear ventricle growth and an increase in the angle between bulbous arteriosus and the ventricle. The ventricle transitions from a rectangle, to a triangle and ultimately a sphere that is significantly enveloped by the atrium. In addition, trabeculae are similarly patterned in the zebrafish and humans, both with muscular fingerlike projections and muscle bands that span the cardiac chamber. Of interest, partial loss of atrial contraction in myosin heavy chain 6 (myh6/weahu423/+) mutants result in the adult maintaining a larval cardiac form. Conclusions: These findings serve as a foundation for the study of defects in cardiovascular development from both genetic and environmental factors.



    Heart dissection in larval, juvenile and adult zebrafish, Danio rerio.

    Corinna Singleman and Nathalia Holtzman

    Sept 2011


    In order to analyze heart development over the fish's lifespan, we dissect zebrafish hearts at numerous stages and photograph them for further analysis. This protocol explains two distinct, size dependent dissection techniques for zebrafish, ranging from larvae 3.5 mm standard length (SL) with hearts of 100 μm ventricle length (VL), to adults, with SL of 30 mm and VL 1mm or larger.Larval and adult fish have quite distinct body and organ morphology. Larvae are not only significantly smaller, they have less pigment and each organ is visually very difficult to identify. For this reason, we use distinct dissection techniques. We used pre-dissection fixation procedures, as we discovered that hearts dissected directly after euthanization have a more variable morphology, with very loose and balloon like atria compared with hearts removed following fixation. This protocol will provide a valuable technique for the study of cardiac development maturation and aging.





    CUNY Graduate Center

    Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Biology, EEB (Ecology, Evolution & Behavior) 2011 - 2017



    DSC Representative for Biology

    Member of Biology EEB Advisory Committee & Executive Committee

    SETAC CDC member



    Society for Ecotoxicology and Chemistry

    Genetics Society of America,

    New York Academy of Science

    Chatham College

    Master of Science (MS) Biology, General 2008 - 2009



    Macaulay Honors College at The City University of New York

    Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Biology, General 2004 - 2008

    Macaulay Honors College Scholar at Queens College


    Biology & Chemistry tutor

    Biology Honors Society President

    Golden Key member

    Captain of Women's Fencing Team


    "If we knew what we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?"

    Albert Einstein

  • Honors & Awards

    President's Award for Service - Society for Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry

    November 2017


    Bain Graduate Fellowship


    The Hudson River Foundation's Bain Graduate Fellowship supports graduate student research for a full academic year. My proposal focused on studying the underlying mechanism driving PCB derived heart defects in Atlantic sturgeon and zebrafish.

    Doctoral Student Research Grant #10


    This grant supported by the CUNY Graduate Center provides students with travel funds. I plan to use these funds to attend two meetings in the spring of 2016. 

    Tibor T. Polgar Fellowship


    The Hudson River Foundation's Polgar Fellowship is a summer grant awarded to students conducting research related to the Hudson River in NY. My proposal included exploring the consequences of PCB exposure to larval sturgeon hearts at the organ and cellular levels.

    Doctoral Student Research Grant #8


    This grant supported by the CUNY Graduate Center provides students with travel funds. I utilized this award to travel the the 11th International Conference on Zebrafish Development in June 2014 where I presented my work on zebrafish. 

    Seymour Fogel Endowment Fund Research Award


    The Fogel Endowment Fund supports PhD student genetic research using genetic and/or genomic tools. I used these funds to purchase supplies to study the consequences of PCB exposure on zebrafish development. 

    Summer Program for Undergraduate Research

    Summer 2006 & 2007

    The Howard Hughes Medical Institute supports undergraduate research during the summer months with a stipend for students conducting research full time. 

  • Service & Volunteer work

    Sitting Chair of Career Development Committee (2019)

    Chair of Buddy Mentorship Subcommittee (2018)

    CDC Member from

    2015 - Present

    Reviewer on Editorial board of BECT

    2016 - Present

    Doctoral Student Council - Biology Student Rep


    Alumna Mentor for current MHC students

    2012 - 2015

    Judge for the NY State Science and Engineering Fair

    2013, 2014, 2015 & 2016

    Session I Moderator for Mid-Atlantic Region Zebrafish Meeting 

    May 2013

    Volunteer educator presenting scientific information to primary school aged children

    Oct 2012

    Volunteer human cadaver dissector for male and female cadavers. 

    2008 - 2009

    Dispatcher for College Point Volunteer Ambulance Corps

    2004 - 2008



    Science Communication

    Writing & Editing

    Developmental Biology Research

    Ecotoxicology Research


    You can also find me at www.linkedin.com/in/CorinnaSingleman