Peter van den Hurk

Associate Professor

Contact Information

Phone: 864 656-3594
FAX: 864 656-0435



  • Ph.D. Marine Science, College of William & Mary
  • M.S. Aquatic Ecology, University of Amsterdam, NL
  • B.S Biology and Geology, State University of Groningen, NL

Research Interests

  • My research interest can be summarized as a basic curiosity to find out how animals, including humans, deal with environmental contaminants and endogenous waste materials. Animals have developed ways to deal with unwanted compounds in their internal environment. Even before the human population explosion and the industrial revolution caused significant environmental pollution, animals were exposed to harmful "natural" compounds in their environment and diet, and detoxification pathways have evolved to neutralize and excrete these compounds. I am very interested in the mechanisms of these detoxification pathways in different species, and how they have evolved. Measurements of enzymes and their metabolic products in detoxification pathways can be used as biomarkers for exposure to and effects of toxicants. One major route of excretion is through bile, and therefore a major part of our research focuses on processes in the liver that are involved in bile production and excretion of biotransformation products through bile. We recently started a project to investigate how certain xenoestrogens may influence phospholipid excretion, which is related to the formation of gallstones in susceptible patients.
  • Specific projects we are working on in my lab:
    • Evolutionary history of sulfotransferases and glucuronosyltransferases
    • Biomarker responses in fish as predictors for population effects
    • Influence of chemical stress on protein excretion into bile
    • Toxicity of sulfonamides to estuarine fish species.
    • Heme metabolism in fish species
    • Bile phospholipids and gallstone formation

Selected Publications

  • Schlenk D, Celander M, Gallagher E, George S, James M, Kullman S, Van den Hurk P, Willett K. (2008). Biotransformation in Fishes. In: Toxicology of fishes. D. Hinton, R. DiGiulio (eds). CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fl. pp 153-234
  • Truman, P.A., Van den Hurk, P. (2008). A biomarker approach examining xenoestrogen exposure in bluegill in the Reedy River watershed, SC, USA. Environ. Monitor. Assessm. (submit.)
  • Van den Hurk, P., Wiley, F.E., Lavoie, E.T., Grasman, K.A., Bowerman, W.W. (2007) Activity patterns of biotransformation enzymes in juvenile chickens after in ovo dosage of PCB126. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. Part C 146:301-307.
  • Schreiber, E.S., Otter, R.R., Van den Hurk, P. (2006) A biomarker approach to measure biological effects of contaminant exposure in largemouth bass from Lake Conestee, SC, USA. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 25: 1829-1835.
  • Van den Hurk, P. (2006) Bile fluorescence, heme oxygenase induction, and increased biliverdin excretion by mixtures of environmental toxicants. Aquat. Toxicol. 77: 202-209
  • Corena, M, P. Van den Hurk, H. Zhong, C. Brock, R. Mowery, C. Garner, J.V. Johnson, P.J. Linser. (2006). Natural degradation and toxic effects of methazolamide and acetazolamide in sheepshead minnow (Cyprinodon variegates). Ecotox. Environ. Safety. 64: 369-376.
  • Gaworecki KM, Rice CD, Van den Hurk P. (2004) Induction of phenol-type sulfotransferase and glucuronosyltransferase in channel catfish and mummichog. Mar. Environ. Res. 58: 525-528
  • Van den Hurk P, Kubiczak GA, Lehmler HJ, James MO (2002). Hydroxylated polychlorinated biphenyls as inhibitors of the sulfation and glucuronidation 3-hydroxy-benzo[a]pyrene. Environ. Health Perspect. 110: 343-348

Recent Courses

  • ENTOX 430/630 - Principles of Toxicology
  • ENTOX 831 - Biomarkers in Environmental Toxicology
  • BIOSC 210 - Introduction to Toxicology
  • BIOSC 493 - Senior Seminar
  • ENTOX 861 - ENTOX seminar series
  • BIOSC 491 - Undergraduate Research Experience

Graduate Students

  • Jessica Mierzejewski, MS student: Fish health in the Saluda River
  • Erica Linard, MS student: Bioavailability of fluoranthene associated with carbon nanoparticles

Professional Affiliations

  • Society of Toxicology
  • Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
  • Sigma Xi
  • International Society for the Study of Xenobiotics