Alexandra Folcik

Alexandra M. Folcik, Ph.D.

Scientist
Ecological & Biological Sciences
Maynard
  • CV (English)
  • Contact Card

Dr. Folcik is a toxicologist with an interdisciplinary background in risk assessment, water quality, biochemistry, and environmental and ecotoxicology. Her doctoral research focused on the development of new applications for high energy electron beam irradiation for the removal of cyanobacteria and their associated toxins from drinking water. She studied the chemical and biological effects of ionizing radiation, the feasibility of implementing such technologies into existing water treatment infrastructure, as well as using irradiation in more traditional applications. In addition to her work assessing cyanotoxins, she has experience investigating the effects of mixtures of agricultural chemicals on freshwater phytoplankton using standard laboratory toxicity tests. She also assessed the degradation of PFAS substances in water, sediments, and sludges with electron beam technology.

Prior to joining Exponent, Dr. Folcik earned her Ph.D. in Toxicology from Texas A&M University and her B.S. in Biochemistry from Florida Institute of Technology. Concurrent with her graduate studies, Dr. Folcik worked as an environmental consulting intern where she contributed to ecological risk assessment criteria for PFAS substances. As part of her undergraduate research, she developed and published a paper on small particle tracking methodology which was used to investigate quorum sensing behavior in unicellular algae. She also worked as a research intern at the National Center for Toxicological Research where she identified possible biomarkers for indicating organ-specific toxicities caused by tyrosine kinase inhibiting drugs. In addition to her research background, Dr. Folcik has a passion for science communication and scientific outreach. Dr. Folcik has presented her work at various regional, national, and international conferences, published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and is an active member of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC).

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Toxicology, Texas A&M University, 2021
  • B.S., Biochemistry, Florida Institute of Technology, 2017
  • National Institute of Health T32 Trainee Fellow, 2018

    Texas A&M Merit Fellow, 2017-2021

    Astronaut Scholar, 2016

Publications

Folcik AM, Klemashevich C, Pillai SD. Response of Microcystis aeruginosa and Microcystin-LR to Electron Beam Irradiation Doses. Radiation Physics and Chemistry 2021. 109534. DOI: 10.1016/j.radphyschem.2021.109534

Folcik AM, Cutshaw K, Haire T, Goode J, Shah P, Zaidi F, Richardson B, Palmer A. G. Quorum Sensing Behavior in the Model Unicellular Eukaryote Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. iScience 2020. 101714. DOI: 10.1016/j.isci.2020.101714

Folcik AM, Pillai SD. A critical review of ionizing radiation technologies for the remediation of waters containing Microcystin-LR and M. aeruginosa. Radiation Physics and Chemistry 2020. 109128. DOI: 10.1016/j.radphyschem.2020.109128

Folcik AM, Haire TC, Cutshaw K, Riddle M, Shola C, Nassani S, Rice P, Richardson B, Nazamoddini-Kachouie N, Palmer AG. Computer assisted tracking of Chlamydomonas species. Frontiers in Plant Science 2019. 10, 1616. DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2019.01616

Raczka MF, Mosblech N A, Giosan L, Valencia BG, Folcik AM, Kingston M, Bush MB A human role in Andean megafaunal extinction? Quarternary Science Reviews 2019. 205(1), 154-165. DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2018.12.005

Raczka MF, Bush MB, Folcik AM, McMichael CH. Sporormiella as a tool for detecting the presence of large herbivores in the Neotropics. Biota Neotrop 2016. 16(1). DOI: 10.1590/1676-0611-BN-2015-0090

Selected Presentations

Folcik AM. High energy electron beam technology for the mitigation of M. aeruginosa and microcystin-LR in drinking water. Oral presentation, Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry SciCon2, November 15, 2020, Fort Worth, Texas

Folcik AM, Klemashevich C, Pillai SD. Microcystin-LR breakdown and toxicity alleviation using electron beam irradiation. Oral presentation, Tihany Symposium for Radiation Chemistry, May 25-30, 2019, Siófok, Hungary.

Folcik AM, Pillai SD. Remediation of Environmental Toxins Using Electron Beam Technology. Poster presentation, Lone Star Chapter Society of Toxicology Annual Meeting, September 7, 2018, Austin, TX.

Folcik AM, Nassani S, Haire N, Nezamoddini-Kachouie N, Palmer A. Semi-automated Tracking of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii for Modeling Tropic Responses. Poster presentation, Northrop Grumman Engineering and Science Design Showcase, April 7, 2017, Melbourne, FL.

Folcik AM, Vijay V. Differential kinase expression as a possible predictor of susceptibility to tyrosine kinase inhibitors organ-specific toxicities. Poster presentation, 2017 Society of Toxicology Annual Meeting, March 14, 2017, Baltimore, MD.

Folcik AM, Schneider K, Amps T. Characterizing the ROAM (Reactive Oxygen Associated Molecule) response in Arabidopsis thaliana. Poster presentation, Northrop Grumman Engineering and Science Design Showcase, April 8, 2016, Melbourne, FL.

Prior Experience

Risk Assessor Intern, Arcadis, 2018-2021

Graduate Research Assistant, Texas A&M University, 2017-2021

Professional Affiliations

Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC), 2018 – present

  • National and Regional North Atlantic Chapter

Project Experience

Evaluated acute and chronic toxicological data for aquatic animals and plants in order to develop ecological risk assessment criteria for poly- and per-fluoroalkyl (PFAS) substances.

Investigated the effect of ionizing radiation on DNA integrity and gene expression in toxin producing cyanobacteria. Utilized RNA sequencing data and bioinformatic techniques for determining trends of dose and time on gene expression.

Conducted in vitro cytotoxicity tests with various human cell lines to determine toxicity of microcystin-LR with and without irradiation treatment.

Investigated the effects of various water quality parameters on the degradation of microcystin-LR in surface waters using electron beam irradiation technology.

Performed literature review on the use of ionizing radiation technologies for the treatment of microcystins in water.

Utilized a multi-directional data mining approach and basal rat gene expression to identify potential biomarkers of organ specific toxicity caused by tyrosine kinase inhibiting drugs.

Developed a freeware-based small particle tracking methodology for use in studying taxis in single celled organisms. Using this methodology, she identified quorum sensing behaviors in eukaryotic green algae.

Knowledge

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Toxicology, Texas A&M University, 2021
  • B.S., Biochemistry, Florida Institute of Technology, 2017
  • National Institute of Health T32 Trainee Fellow, 2018

    Texas A&M Merit Fellow, 2017-2021

    Astronaut Scholar, 2016