Profile for Tisha King-Heiden

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Tisha King‑Heiden

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

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Specialty area(s)

Reproductive physiology, reproductive toxicology, and developmental toxicology.  In my lab, we strive to bridge the gap between ecotoxicology (fish) and human health. We use small fish models (typically zebrafish and fathead minnows) to study the effects of embryonic exposure to various  environmental contaminants of emerging concern on development, behavior,  metamorphosis, cardiovascular health, immune response and reproductive health.  

Students interested in doing Undergraduate Independent Research or earning a MS degree should email me, especially if you hold marginalized identities within the field of environmental science.

Brief biography

As a professor at a comprehensive/ primarily undergraduate university, I am committed to using innovative strategies in the classroom to help all students feel that they belong in biology so that they excel in their program. By working with undergraduate and MS students in the research lab, I help students develop the necessary skills for them to be successful in graduate programs or in their chosen field of interest. I strive to incorporate outreach opportunities for students to also get involved with their community here in La Crosse.


PhD University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Great Lakes WATER Institute, 2005

MS University of North Carolina - Greensboro, 1998

BS University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point, 1996


Teaching history

Bio 105 (General Biology)

Bio 260 (Special Topics: Environmental and Health Effects of Water Pollution)

Bio 312 (Human Anatomy & Physiology I)

Bio 313 (Human Anatomy & Physiology II)

Bio 421/521 (Comparative Vertebrate Endocrinology)

Bio 441/541 (Environmental Toxicology)

Bio 718 (Advanced Human Physiology I)

Professional history

Health Professions Advisory Board to the International Joint Commission 2023-present

Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) World Council, 2021-present

Immediate Past President, SETAC-North America (SETAC-NA), Nov 2023-present

President, SETAC-NA Nov 2022-Nov 2023

Vice President, SETAC-NA 2021-Nov 2022

Board of Directors for SETAC-NA 2018-2024

Faculty in the Biology Department at UWL since 2008

Post-doctoral Fellow, University of Wisconsin Molecular and Environmental Toxicology Center, 2006-2008

Field Research Technician, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee 1999-2000

High School Biology Teacher, North Carolina School of the Arts, 1999

Lecturer, University of North Carolina -Greensboro, 1998


Research and publishing

RESEARCH PUBLICATIONS (*indicates undergraduate student; graduate student):

AJ Jeninga, N Kooij*, E Harrahy, and TC King-Heiden. Binary mixtures of imidacloprid and thiamethoxam do not appear to cause additive toxicity in fathead minnow larvae (Pimephales promelas)“Women in Ecotoxicology Special Issue. Front. Toxicol. 5:1282817. https://doi:10.3389/ftox.2023.1282817

J Scheuller, M Boogaard, C Kirkeeng, N Schloesser, S Wolf, A Lettenberger*, TC King-Heiden, and J Luoma. 2023. Determination of Larval Sea Lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) Seasonal Sensitivity Differences to Lampricide Treatment. J Great Lakes Research. 

AJ Jeninga, Z Wallace*, S Victoria, E Harrahy, and TC King-Heiden2023.  Chronic exposure to environmentally relevant concentrations of imidacloprid impacts survival and ecologically relevant behaviors of fathead minnow larvae. Env. Tox and Chem42(10): 2184-2192 DOI:10.1002/etc.5710 

S Victoria, M Hein*, E Harrahy and TC King-Heiden.  2022. Potency matters: Impacts of embryonic exposure to nAChR agonists thiamethoxam and nicotine on hatching success, growth, and neurobehavior in larval zebrafish.  J Toxicol Env Health, A.  85(18):767-782.

S Victoria, S Duffy*, E Harrahy and TC King-Heiden.  2022.  Embryonic exposure to thiamethoxam reduces survival and alters neurobehavior of fathead minnows.  Env. Tox. and Chem.  41(5):1276-1285.

A Stenzel*, H Wirt*, A Patten*, B Theodore*, and TC King-Heiden.  2019.  Larval exposure to environmentally relevant concentrations of triclosan impairs metamorphosis and reproductive fitness in zebrafish.  Repro. Toxicol. 87:79-86.

R Ryan, C Belby, TC King-Heiden, RJ Haro, J Ogorek, and G Gerrish.  2019. The role of macroinvertebrate in the distribution of lead (Pb) within a marsh ecosystem. Hydrobiologica. 827:337-352.

H, Wirt*, R Botka*, KE Perez, and TC King-Heiden.  2018.  Embryonic exposure to environmentally relevant concentrations of triclosan impairs foraging efficiency in zebrafish larvae.  Env. Tox. and Chem.  37(12):3124-3133.

AJ Olson*, T Cyphers, G Gerrish, C Belby, and TC King-Heiden.  2018. Evaluating the toxicity of contaminated sediments from an urban wetland: A case study approach to develop a molecular biomarker for exposure to lead in zebrafish. J Toxicol Environ Health (A). 81(18):924-938.

Q Liu, RH Klingler, B Wimpee, M Dellinger, TC King-Heiden, J Wehr Grzybowski*, SL Gerstenberger, DN Weber, and MJ Carvan, III.  2016.  Maternal methylmercury from a wild-caught walleye diet induces developmental abnormalities in zebrafish. Repro. Toxicol. 65:272-282.

A Saley*, M Hess*, K Miller*, D Howard, and TC King-Heiden.  2016. Cardiac toxicity of triclosan in developing zebrafish.  Zebrafish: Special Issue on Toxicology.  13(5): 399-404.

N Carmosini, S Grandstrand*, and TC King-Heiden. 2016.  Developmental toxicity of triclosan in the presence of dissolved organic carbon: Moving beyond standard acute toxicity assays to understand ecotoxicological risk. Zebrafish: Special Issue on Toxicology.  13(5): 424-431.

Lor*, Y, A Revak*, J Weigand*, E Hicks*, D Howard, and TC King-Heiden.  2015.  Juvenile exposure to vinclozolin shifts sex ratios and impairs reproductive capacity of zebrafish. Repro Tox 58:111-118.

RJ Hutz, M Carvan, III, JK Larson, Q Liu, RV Stelzer, TC King-Heiden, MG Baldridge, N Shahnoor and K Julien.  2014. Familiar and novel reproductive endocrine disruptors: xenoestrogens, dioxins and nanoparticles. Current Trends Endocrinol. 7:111-122.

TR Baker, TC King-Heiden, W Heideman, RE Peterson. 2014. Dioxin induction of transgenerational inheritance of disease in zebrafish. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 398:36-41.  Invited Review.

Chollett*, D, KE Perez, and TC King-Heiden.  2014. Embryonic exposure to sublethal concentrations of 2,3,7,8-TCDD impairs prey capture by zebrafish larvae. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 33(4): 784-790. Selected by editorial board as one of top 5 exceptional papers in ETC 2014.

Wiecinski, PN, KM Metz, TC King-Heiden, K Lewis, AN Mangham, RJ Hamers, W Heideman, RE Peterson, and JA Pederson. 2013. Toxicity of oxidatively degraded quantum dots. Environ. Sci. and Technol.  47(16):9132-9139.

King-Heiden, TC, V Mehta, KM Xiong, KA Lanham, DS Antkiewicz, A Ganser*, W Heideman, RE Peterson.  2012. Reproductive and developmental toxicity of dioxin in fish. Mol. Cell Endo. 354(1-2):121-38. 

King-Heiden, TC, PN Wiecinski, AN Mangham, KM Metz, D Nesbit, JA Pederson, RJ Hamers, W Heideman, and RE Peterson. 2009. Quantum Dot nanotoxicity assessments using the zebrafish embryo. Environ. Sci. and Technol. 43(5):1605-1611.

King-Heiden, TC, J Spitsbergen, W Heideman, and RE Peterson.  2009.  Persistent adverse effects on health and reproduction caused by exposure of zebrafish to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin during early development and gonad differentiation. Tox Sci. 109(1):75-87.

Hill, AJ, TC King-Heiden, W Heideman, W, and RE Peterson.  2009.  Roles of ARNT2 in zebrafish embryonic development. Zebrafish. 6(1): 79-91.

King-Heiden, TC, CA Struble, ML Rise, MJ Hessner, RJ Hutz, and MJ Carvan, III. 2008. Molecular targets of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin within the zebrafish ovary: Insights into TCDD’s ovarian toxicity.  Reprod. Toxicol.  25(1):47-57.

King-Heiden, TC, E Dengler, WJ Gao, W Heideman, and RE Peterson.  2007.  Developmental toxicity of low generation PAMAM dendrimers in Zebrafish.  Toxicol. Appl. Pharm. 225:70-79.

Hutz, RJ, MJ Carvan III, MG Baldridge, LK Conely, and TC King-Heiden.  2006.  Environmental toxicants and effects on female reproductive function, Review. Trends in Repro. Biol. 2:1-11.

King-Heiden, TC, MJ Carvan, III, and RJ Hutz.  2006.  Inhibition of follicular development, vitellogenesis, and 17β estradiol concentrations in zebrafish following chronic, sublethal dietary exposure to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin.  Tox. Sci. 90(2): 490-499.

King-Heiden, TC, RJ Hutz, and MJ Carvan, III.  2005.  Accumulation and maternal transfer of TCDD: Effects on reproductive success of female zebrafish. Tox Sci.  87(2):497-507.

King-Heiden, TC, A Neal Haines, C Manire, J Lombardi, and TJ Koob.  2005.  Ultrastructure and permeability of the egg capsule of the bonnethead shark, Sphyrna tiburo. J. Exp. Zool. 303A(7):577-589.


KE Perez and TC King-Heiden. 2018. Geometric morphometrics as a tool to evaluate teratogenic effects in zebrafish (Danio rerio).  In Teratogenicity Testing: Methods and Protocols.  I  Springer.  Pg. 373-391.

Carvan III, MJ, TC King-Heiden, and H Tomasiawicz.  2005.  The Utility of Zebrafish as a Model for Toxicological Research.  In Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of Fishes, vol 6 Environmental Toxicology.  TP Mommsen and TW Moon, eds.  Elsevier BV. Pp. 3-41.


TC King-Heiden and ME Litster. 2018. Using learning cycle based modules to promote a better understanding of the evolutionary processes that shape human health. J of Bio Ed, in press.

Gerrish, G, T King-Heiden, A, Sanderfoot, M Abler, K Perez.  2014.  Building the impetus for change: an across curriculum Vision & Change initiative in Biology.  J College Sci Teaching. 44(4):28-35.



Tisha King-Heiden and Nicole Kooij, both Biology, co-authored the article "Binary mixtures of imidacloprid and thiamethoxam do not appear to cause additive toxicity in fathead minnow larvae (Pimephales promelas)" in Frontiers in Toxicology published on Nov. 10 by Frontiers. This project was led by Anja Jeninga (MS Biology, Aug 2022). Nicole Kooij is an undergraduate who will graduate in May 2023. This work was completed in collaboration with Dr. Elisabeth Harrahy from UW-Whitewater. The all women/gender non-conforming authors are particularly excited that this publication is included in an open access special issue of the journal that celebrates and highlights Women in Ecotoxicology.

Submitted on: Nov. 11



Tisha King-Heiden, Biology, co-authored the article "Seasonal differences in larval sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) sensitivity to the pesticide TFM" in Journal of Great Lakes Research published on Nov. 1 by IAGLR. This work was a collaboration among several students from UWL and USGS scientists from the Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center. Justin Schueller (MS Biology, 2021) designed and lead this project, which included undergraduate student Avery Lettenbeger (currently MS student in Biology with David Schumann) and USGS scientist Samantha Wolf (currently MS student in Biology with Tisha King-Heiden).

Submitted on: Nov. 6



Tisha King-Heiden, Biology, was appointed to the Health Professional Advisory Board of the International Joint Commission on Aug. 22. This advisory group was established to be liaisons between Canadian and U.S. governments to develop recommendations regarding emerging environmental and human health issues related to transboundary water resources.

Submitted on: Aug. 23



Anya Jeninga, Shayla Victoria, Tisha King-Heiden and Zion Wallace, all Biology; and Elisabeth Harrahy, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater; co-authored the article "Chronic exposure to environmentally-relevant concentrations of imidacloprid impact survival and ecologically-relevant behaviors of fathead minnow larvae." in Env Toxicol and Chem published on Wednesday, July 5, by SETAC. Anya recently completed their master of science in the Biology Department and is currently working with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Zion is currently an undergraduate student in the Biology Department and is now doing even cooler research with Dr. Anita Davelos in Biology. Shayla also earned her master's degree in biology from UWL and is currently a doctoral student at the University of Mississippi.

Submitted on: July 5



Recep Pekdemir, Accountancy; Cord Brundage and Tisha King-Heiden, both Biology; Kristin Koepke, CATL; Eugenia Turov, Chemistry & Biochemistry; Ashley Edwards and Jessica Welsh, both Communication Studies; Bryan Kopp, English; Jason Sumontha, Psychology; and Katherine Evans, Recreation Management & Therapeutic Recreation; served by representing UWL at UW System’s Faculty College event May 30-June 2, 2023. The theme for Faculty College 2023 was Teaching & Learning with a Social Justice Lens.

Submitted on: June 1


Memberships & affiliations

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