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Scientists at The Wise Laboratory at the University of Southern Maine – right in The Baker Company’s backyard – are engaged in multidisciplinary research to understand the effects of environmental contaminants on humans and marine life

One of their premier studies is an exploration of the impact of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion on the wildlife of the Gulf of Mexico.

Every summer since the disaster, a research team from the Wise Laboratory has given up days at the beach in favor of life on the only sailboat in the world equipped with a cell culture lab (that includes a custom biosafety cabinet from Baker). The team collects whale skin biopsies and creates whale cell lines in order to measure the levels and effects of Deepwater Horizon contaminants in the whales themselves. They also evaluate the ability of such contaminants to kill whale cells and cause DNA damage.

The work being performed is not only about the effects of oil and chemical dispersants on the Gulf’s marine residents, but also about its overarching impact on the larger ocean ecosystem. The results have implications for human health and the economic well-being of the Gulf and surrounding areas as well.