Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Dr. Amanda Dickinson

Second Advisor

Dr. Sarah Rothschild

Third Advisor

Dr. Greg Walsh

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Alaattin Kaya


Over the past several years vaping has become part of the cultural zeitgeist in the United States, with ECIG usage amongst those of reproductive age rising more and more. Due to a lack of regulation and research concerning their long term effects, public opinion trends toward the idea that they are somehow safer than their traditional counterparts. As cases of lung injury and ECIG related death are beginning to be reported more and more, it is clear that the misinformation about their safety is unfounded. Congenital heart defects (CHDs) are some of the most common birth defects currently in the United States. Increased risk of these conditions is known to be associated with traditional cigarette use, but information concerning the relationship between these conditions and electronic cigarette use is not readily available, highlighting an area in need of study. Xenopus laevis is an ideal model to evaluate the effects of ECIG exposure on cardiac, blood, and vasculature development due to the familiarity with the X. laevis genome, their transparent nature, and their ex utero development all of which make alterations to development easy to evaluate throughout multiple stages.

In this study, I show that e-liquid exposure during development reduces ventricle size and heart rate as well as altering the expression of several cardiac, blood, and vasculature related genes in X. laevis embryos. Additionally, I suggest that these effects are not simply due to nicotine or frequent e-liquid additives propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, but some other chemicals used in e-liquid.


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