Assistant Professor Department of Biology
Dr. Huertas is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at Texas State University. She is an expert in fish physiology and endocrinology. Dr. Huertas research has focused on the fascinating world of olfaction and chemical communication in vertebrates, using fish as a model species. The primary area of research at Texas State University centers on olfactory processes in vertebrates. The goal of her research is advancing understanding of the vertebrate olfactory process and providing new tools for managing of fish populations. Dr. Huertas teaches Fish Physiology and Vertebrate Endocrinology courses at senior and graduate level. She is also engaged in the promotion of minorities in science and is a mentor in the Society for the TXST chapter of Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics group and member of the diversity committee at her department. She built a diverse laboratory with more than 80% Hispanic and other minorities, and 70% women.
Current Lab Members
Laura Ellis, PhD.
Post-Doctoral Associate August 2020 — Present
Dr. Ellis is a fish physiologist who investigates the link between physiology and ecology, such as the effect of environmental changes on animal physiology, using fish as model. Her research focus over the past six years has been concerned with attempting to answer ecological questions, such as how can fish survive in different salinities and the removal of waste products, using a variety of molecular techniques. Specifically, she investigated physiological processes within the fish, such as ammonia tolerance, gill plasticity, cell composition, impact of drinking in the intestines, and cell junctions; all to better address questions related with aquatic species management. Her currently research at Huertas Lab center in the trout olfactory immune function, including the effects of COVID-19 in zebrafish, and the analysis of the nose nitrite transporter.
PhD student August 2021— Present
Chironjib is a first year Ph.D. student researching the effect of handling stress in bass maternal transfer. Chironjib received a B.S. from the University of Bremen (Germany) in Aquatic Tropical Ecology and another B. S. from the Sylhet Agricultural University (Bangladesh).
MS Student August 2020— Present
Ashley Franklin was born in Brisbane, Australia, and have since lived in Papua New Guinea, California, Nigeria, Houston, Venezuela, Canada, Colorado and now the beautiful city of San Marcos, Texas. Her research centers in the effects of nitrite in the catfish nasal microbiome. Along the journey of growing up, her parents instilled in the love for nature and exploring! This love is what drives her towards the goal of becoming a biologist and using her knowledge for environmental management. You can often find her playing with her wonderful cats (Harley and Suzuki!), tending to the 70+ plants she obtained during quarantine, in the lab (of course), or exploring new places with her friends and family!
MS Student January 2021— Present
Alexis joined the Huertas Lab in January of 2021 and is studying the physiological and behavioral effects of bacterial exposure in Rainbow trout. She is currently analyzing neurosteroids (cortisol, progesterone, and estradiol) in the brain of fish. This research is exciting to Alexis because she loves to learn and understand how neurons function in vertebrates. Alexis’s favorite quote is “failure does not mean the game is over, it means try again with experience.”
MS Student August 2018— Present
Fabiola completed her B.S in Microbiology and M.S in Aquatic Resources at Texas State University. Her research focused on the circuitry of pathogen detection via olfaction and the subsequent physiological and behavioral changes in rainbow trout. She is passionate about education in science and human health and will be joining a medical research lab after graduation.
MS Student January 2019— Present
Whitney has a bachelor’s in microbiology and a master’s in aquatic resources. She studied the impact of sublethal concentrations of nitrite on the tissue microbiomes of goldfish under the mentorship of Dr. Huertas and Dr. Carlos-Shanley.
MS Student August 2021— Present
Hanna graduated TXST May 2021 with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in psychology. Her research centers in the effects of nitrite in maternal transfer in Xiphophorus species. In her free time, Hanna enjoys hiking, looking after her fish, playing with her two huskies, and searching for bugs! After completing her master’s degree she hopes to pursue higher education in either entomology or aquatic sciences, and begin work in the field of habitat conservation and fish.
Current Undergraduates Students
Former Graduate Students
2017- 2019 MS – Use of pheromones in species recognition and mating in mollies.
2017-2020 MS – Effect of nitrites and nitrates in olfactory function in goldfish.
Former Undergraduates Researchers
Isabella Jaime 2016-2018
Emily Arzola 2017-2018
Cullen Sunnier 2017-2018
Justin Cornuvier 2017-2018
Hayden Stoeber 2016-2019
Diego Valdez-Oranday 2018-2019
Travis Moore 2018-2019
James Hanna 2018-2020
Isaac Trujillo 2019-2020
Kafayat Oyejide 2019-2020
Ande Beasley 2019-2021
Hanna Hugues 2021
Iqra Amjad 2021