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Judit Smits


Ecosystem and Public Health (EPH)

Contact Information: 

+1 (403) 210-7407
TRW 2D18

Research / Scholarly Activities: 

My research interests range from wildlife health as affected by environmental contamination and other anthropogenic disturbances, to factors affecting the conservation of wildlife and ecosystems.  The majority of my research has involved birds including passerines, waterfowl and gulls, storks, vultures and raptors. Other classes of vertebrates with which I work are amphibians and carnivores.  A new area of toxicology that I am investigating is the mitigation of chronic arsenic toxicity (arsenicosis) in mammals using biofortified food.  Arsenicosis is estimated to affect 50 to 100 million people worldwide, making it the major global toxicity problem in history. Much of my research occurs through graduate students and spans wide geographic areas including numerous sites across Canada, Spain, Argentina and South Africa. Specific research areas:

  • Disease resistance related to exposure to environmental contaminants and immunotoxicity in wild birds
  • Developing and validating noninvasive hormonal and disease indicators of health in populations of wild carnivores.
  • Mitigating arsenic toxicity in mammals using food naturally biofortified with selenium and folate
  • Physiological impacts of oil sands’ mining effluent on raptors, passerines and amphibians.
  • Pathological and immunotoxicological impacts of air-borne contaminants on birds of prey.

Immunotoxicology, physiological and reproductive effects of persistent organic contaminants on American kestrels..

Research personnel and trainees : 

Graduate Students:

  • Heather Bryan (PhD candidate ); Noninvasive hormonal and stress indicators of health in wild carnivore populations.
  • Shweta Sah (MSc candidate); Reducing arsenic toxicity in mammals through dietary biofortification with high selenium, Saskatchewan grown lentils
  • Luis Cruz-Martinez, DVM, (PhD candidate); Toxicology of airborne pollutants associated with Oil and Gas production in avian wildlife.
  • Christine Godwin-Sheppard (MSc candidate) Songbird and Waterfowl - monitoring to track Oil Sands related contaminants.

Post-Doctoral Fellows

  • Sukhbir Nain; Effect of environmental contaminants on immune function and disease resistance in wild birds.
  • Danna Schock; Developmental toxicology & Disease resistance in sentinel amphibians on reclaimed wetlands on the Oil Sands.
  • Regina Krohn (PDF) Molecular toxicology of arsenic, and potential detoxification with selenium and folate.