Derek Bolser

Mentor: Dr. Nancy Denslow
College of Veterinary Medicine
"I initially joined the Denslow lab to supplement my coursework and gain some practical work experience, but the encouragement of Dr. Denslow, Kevin Kroll, and others in the CEHT led me to pursue my own research question. I want to keep doing research as long as I live, and I hope that my work can be used to make the world a better place."


Natural Resource Conservation


Wildlife Ecology and Conservation

Research Interests

  • Fisheries Management
  • Environmental Toxicology
  • Invasive Species Issues

Academic Awards

  • Florida Academic Scholars 2012-2016
  • Dean's List 2014-2015
  • President's Honor Roll 2015
  • Lafontaine Scholarship 2015
  • University Scholars Program 2015-2016


  • P.K. Yonge Cross Country
  • UF CRU
  • First Lutheran Church


  • N/A

Hobbies and Interests

  • Distance Running
  • Fishing
  • Music Performance
  • Painting

Research Description

Linkage of Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Growth in the Fathead Minnow (Pimephales Promelas)
The linkage of growth and mitochondrial function may be obvious as growth requires an abundance of ATP, but how contaminants can affect growth directly by compromising mitochondrial function is at present not easily quantifiable. A potentially interesting quantifiable biomarker for this process might be the activation of the mTOR (metazoan target of rampamycin), as this mechanism might be the master coordinator of growth, aging, and nutrient driven physiological processes. Fathead Minnow (Pimephales promelas) embryos will be exposed to sublethal concentrations of contaminants that have been shown to affect electron transport and disrupt mitochondrial function. The effect of the contaminants on the mitochondrial respiration of a cohort of embryos will be analyzed, and another cohort will be allowed to mature after exposure. Their growth and development will be observed, and the phosphorylation of the mTOR pathway will be analyzed.