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Baylor > Environmental Science > Faculty and Staff > Cole W. Matson, Ph.D.
Cole W. Matson, Ph.D.

Dr. Matson Smallhead

Contact Information: Department of Environmental Science
Baylor University
One Bear Place #97266
Waco, TX 76798-7266

Office: BSB C.413

Phone: (254) 710-2517

Fax: (254) 710-3409


Dr. Matson CV

  • Assistant Professor of Environmental Science, 2011
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Duke University, 2009,
    (Advisor: Dr. Richard T. Di Giulio)
  • Ph.D., Texas A&M University, 2004
    (Advisor: Dr. John W. Bickham)
  • M.S., Texas Tech University, 1999
    (Advisor: Dr. Robert J. Baker)
  • B.S., Texas A&M University, 1996


Dr. Matson joined the Department of Environmental Science in the fall of 2011. He is a member of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC).

Academic and Research Interests

Dr. Matson is an environmental toxicologist specializing in the genetic effects of contaminants on wildlife. His research focus is currently the genetic and developmental impacts of environmental contaminants on fish, with a particular interest in how environmental gradients affect the toxicity of nanomaterials and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Prof. Matson has published and presented environmental toxicology research for the last twelve years, with projects covering a wide variety of organisms and stressors. His early work focused on the population genetic impacts of chronic contamination exposures and on biomarkers of DNA damage. More recent work has focused on mechanistic toxicology and embryonic developmental toxicity. His interest in nanomaterial toxicity is centered on environmentally relevant transformations of particles and how these transformations affect the toxicity of the particles, including separating particle toxicity from metal toxicity.

Research Keywords:

Aquatic Toxicology, Biomarkers, Conservation Genetics, Ecotoxicology, Environmental Toxicology, Evolutionary Toxicology, Gene Expression, Molecular Ecology, Multiple Stressors, Nanotoxicology, Population Genetics, Toxicogenomics, Wildlife Toxicology.

Dr. Matson is currently looking for both MS and PhD students for projects examining the developmental toxicity of nanomaterials in fish. A strong foundation in biology, toxicology, evolution, or genetics is expected, and chemistry experience is certainly advantageous.

Selected Publications:

Baker, L.F., R.S. King, J.M. Unrine, B.T. Castellon, G.V. Lowry, C.W. Matson. In press. Press or pulse exposures determine the environmental fate of cerium nanoparticles in stream mesocosms. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

Nesmith, S.M., C.J. Wynveen, E. Dixon, B.W. Brooks, C.W. Matson, W.C. Hockaday, M.A. Schaum, J. DeFillipo. 2015. The impact of a wetland academy on educators’ environmental education attitudes and efficacy. International Journal of Science Education, Part B: Communication and Public Engagement. DOI: 10.1080/21548455.2015.1078519

Park, S.-Y., J. Chung, B.P. Colman, C.W. Matson, Y. Kim, B.-C. Lee, P.-J. Kim, K. Choi, J. Choi. 2015. Ecotoxicity of bare and coated silver nanoparticles in the aquatic midge, Chironomus riparius. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 34: 2023-2032.

Bigorgne, E., T.W. Custer, P.M. Dummer, R.A. Erickson, N.K. Karouna-Renier, S. Schultz, C.M. Custer, W.E. Thogmartin, C.W. Matson. 2015. Chromosomal damage and EROD induction in tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) along the Upper Mississippi River, Minnesota, USA. Ecotoxicology, 24: 1028-1039.

Bone, A.J., C.W. Matson, B.P. Colman, X. Yang, J.N. Meyer, R.T. Di Giulio. 2015. Silver nanoparticle toxicity to early life stage Atlantic killifish (Fundulus heteroclitus) and Caenorhabditis elegans: A comparison of mesocosm, microcosm and conventional laboratory studies. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 34: 275-282.

Keane, M., J. Semeiks, A.E. Webb, Y.I. Li, V. Quesada, T. Craig, L.B. Madsen, S. van Dam, D. Brawand, P.I. Marques, P. Michalak, L. Kang, J. Bhak, H.-S. Yim, N. Grishin, N.H. Nielsen, M.P. Heide-Jørgensen, E.M. Oziolor, C.W. Matson, G. Church, G. Stuart, J. Patton, C. George, R. Suydam, K. Larsen, C. López-Otín, M.J. O'Connell, J.W. Bickham, B. Thomsen, J.P. de Magalhães. 2015. Insights into the evolution of longevity from the bowhead whale genome. Cell Reports, 10: 112-122.

Sparling, D.W., J.W. Bickham, D. Cowman, G.M. Fellers, T. Lacher, C.W. Matson, L. McConnell. 2015. In situ effects of pesticides on amphibians in the Sierra Nevada. Ecotoxicology, 24: 262-278.

Auffan, M., C.W. Matson, J. Rose, M. Arnold, O. Proux, B. Fayard, W. Liu, P. Chaurand, M.R. Wiesner, J.-Y. Bottero, R.T. Di Giulio. 2014. Salinity-dependent silver nanoparticle uptake and transformation by Atlantic killifish (Fundulus heteroclitus) embryos. Nanotoxicology, 8: 167-176.

Blickley, T.M., C.W. Matson, W.N. Vreeland, D. Rittschof, R.T. Di Giulio, and P. McClellan-Green. 2014. Dietary CdSe/ZnS quantum dot exposure in estuarine fish: Bioavailability, oxidative stress, reproduction, and maternal transfer. Aquatic Toxicology, 148: 27-39.

Colman, B.P., B.P. Espinasse, C.J. Richardson, C.W. Matson, G.V. Lowry, D.E. Hunt, M.R. Wiesner,E.S. Bernhardt. 2014. Emerging contaminant or an old toxin in disguise? Silver nanoparticle impacts on ecosystems. Environmental Science and Technology, 48: 5229-5236.

Oziolor, E.M., E. Bigorgne, L. Aguilar, S. Usenko, and C.W. Matson. 2014. Evolved resistance to PCB- and PAH-induced cardiac teratogenesis, and reduced CYP1A activity in Gulf killifish (Fundulus grandis) populations from the Houston Ship Channel, Texas. Aquatic Toxicology,, 150: 210-219.

Unrine, J.M., B.P. Colman, A.J. Bone, A.P. Gondikas, C.W. Matson. 2012. Biotic and abiotic interactions in aquatic microcosms determine fate and toxicity of Ag nanoparticles: Part 1 – Aggregation and Dissolution. Environmental Science and Technology, 46: 6915-6924.

Bone, A.J, B.P. Colman, A.P. Gondikas, K.M. Newton, K.H. Harrold, R.M. Cory, J.M. Unrine, S.J. Klaine, C.W. Matson*, R.T. Di Giulio. 2012. Biotic and abiotic interactions in aquatic microcosms determine fate and toxicity of Ag nanoparticles: Part 2 – Toxicity and Ag speciation. Environmental Science and Technology, 46: 6925-6933. *corresponding author

Lowry, G.V., B.P. Espinasse, A.R. Badireddy, C. Richardson, B. Reinsch, L.D. Bryant, A.J. Bone, A. Deonarine, S. Chae, M. Therezien, B.P. Colman, H. Hsu-Kim, E. Bernhardt, C.W. Matson, M.R. Wiesner. 2012.Long-term transformation and fate of manufactured Ag nanoparticles in a simulated large scale freshwater emergent wetland. Environmental Science and Technology, 46: 7027-7036.

Jung, D., C.W. Matson, L.B. Collins, G. Laban, H.M. Stapleton, J.W. Bickham, J.A. Swenberg, and R.T. Di Giulio. 2011. Genotoxicity in Atlantic killifish (Fundulus heteroclitus) from a PAH-contaminated Superfund site on the Elizabeth River, Virginia. Ecotoxicology, 20: 1890-1899.

Rinner, B.P., C.W. Matson, A. Islamzadeh, T.J. McDonald, K.C. Donnelly, and J.W. Bickham. 2011. Evolutionary toxicology: contaminant-induced genetic mutations in mosquitofish from Sumgayit, Azerbaijan. Ecotoxicology, 20: 365-376.

Wiesner, M.R., G.V. Lowry, L. Casman, P.L. Bertsch, C.W. Matson, R.T. Di Giulio, J. Liu, and M.F. Hochella, Jr. 2011. Meditations on the ubiquity and mutability of nano-sized materials in the environment. ACS Nano, 5: 8466-8470.

Clark, B.W., C.W. Matson, D. Jung, and R.T. Di Giulio. 2010. AHR2 mediates cardiac teratogenesis of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and PCB-126 in Atlantic killifish (Fundulus heteroclitus). Aquatic Toxicology, 99: 232-240.

Cooper, E.M., H.M. Stapleton, C.W. Matson, R.T. Di Giulio, and A.J. Schuler. 2010. UV treatment and biodegradation of dibenzothiophene: Identification and toxicity of products. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 29: 2409-2416.

Givens, G.H., R.M. Huebinger, J.C. Patton, L.D. Postma, M. Lindsay, R.S. Suydam, J.C. George, C.W. Matson, and J.W. Bickham. 2010. Population genetics of bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) in the Western Arctic. Arctic, 63(1): 1-12.

Wills, L.P., C.W. Matson,, C.D. Landon, and R.T. Di Giulio, 2010. Characterization of the recalcitrant CYP1 phenotype found in Atlantic killifish (Fundulus heteroclitus) inhabiting a Superfund site on the Elizabeth River, VA. Aquatic Toxicology, 99: 33-41.

Matson, C.W. , A.M. Gillespie, C. McCarthy, T.J. McDonald, J.W. Bickham, R. Sullivan, and K.C. Donnelly. 2009. Wildlife toxicology: Biomarkers of genotoxic exposures at a hazardous waste site. Ecotoxicology, 18: 886-898.

Phillips, C.D., R.G. Trujillo, T.S. Gelatt, M.J. Smolen, R.L. Honeycutt, C.W. Matson,, J.C. Patton, and J.W. Bickham. 2009. Assessing substitution patterns, rates and homoplasy at HVRI of Steller sea lions, Eumetopias jubatus. Molecular Ecology, 18: 3379-3393.

Sitzlar, M.A., M.A. Mora, J.G.W. Fleming, F.W. Bazer, J.W. Bickham, C.W. Matson. 2009. Potential effects of environmental contaminants on P450 aromatase activity and DNA damage in swallows from the Rio Grande and Somerville, Texas. Ecotoxicology, 18: 15-21.

Barbee, G.C., J. Barich, B. Duncan, J.W. Bickham, C.W. Matson,, C.J. Hintze, R.L. Autenrieth, G.-D. Zhou, T.J. McDonald, L. Cizmas, D. Norton, and K.C. Donnelly.2008. In situ biomonitoring of PAH-contaminated sediments using juvenile coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch). Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 71: 454-464.

Kenow, K.P., D.J. Hoffman, R.K. Hines, M.W. Meyer, J.W. Bickham, C.W. Matson,, K.R. Stebbins, P. Montagna, and A. Elfessi. 2008. Effects of methylmercury exposure on glutathione metabolism, oxidative stress, and chromosomal damage in captive-reared common loon (Gavia immer) chicks. Environmental Pollution, 156: 732-738.

Matson, C.W., B.W. Clark, M.J. Jenny, C.R. Fleming, M.E. Hahn, and R.T. Di Giulio. 2008. Development of the morpholino gene knockdown technique in Fundulus heteroclitus: a tool for studying molecular mechanisms in an established environmental model. Aquatic Toxicology,, 87: 289-295.

Matson, C.W., A.R. Timme-Laragy, and R.T. Di Giulio. 2008. Fluoranthene, but not benzo[a]pyrene, interacts with hypoxia resulting in pericardial effusion and lordosis in developing zebrafish. Chemosphere, 74: 149-154.

Custer, T.W., P.M. Dummer, C.M. Custer, A.U. Li, D. Warburton, M.J. Melancon, D.J. Hoffman, C.W. Matson, and J.W. Bickham. 2007. Water level management and contaminant exposure to tree swallows nesting on the Upper Mississippi River. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 133: 335-345.

Levengood, J.M., L. Wiedenmann, T.W. Custer, D.J. Schaeffer, C.W. Matson, M.J. Melancon, D.J. Hoffman, J.W. Scott, J.L. Talbott, G.O. Bordson, J.W. Bickham, B.A. Rattner, and N.H. Golden. 2007. Contaminant exposure and biomarker response in embryos of black-crowned night-herons (Nycticorax nycticorax) nesting near Lake Calumet, Illinois. Journal of Great Lakes Research,, 33: 791-805.

Timme-Laragy, A.R., C.J. Cockman, C.W. Matson, and R.T. Di Giulio. 2007. Synergistic induction of AHR regulated genes in developmental toxicity from co-exposure to two model PAHs in zebrafish. Aquatic Toxicology, 85: 241-250.

Custer, C.M., T.W. Custer, D. Warburton, D.J. Hoffman, J.W. Bickham, and C.W. Matson. 2006. Trace element concentrations and bioindicator responses in tree swallows from northwestern Minnesota. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 118: 247-266.

Custer, T.W., C.M. Custer, B.L. Goatcher, M.J. Melancon, C.W. Matson,, and J.W. Bickham. 2006. Contaminant exposure of barn swallows nesting on Bayou d’Inde, Calcasieu Estuary, Louisiana, USA. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 121: 543-560.

Hoffman, J.I., C.W. Matson, W. Amos, T.R. Loughlin, and J.W. Bickham. 2006. Deep genetic subdivision within a continuously distributed and highly vagile marine mammal, the Steller’s sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus). Molecular Ecology, 15: 2821-2832.

Matson, C.W., M.M. Lambert, T.J. McDonald, R.L. Autenrieth, K.C. Donnelly, A. Islamzadeh, and J.W. Bickham. 2006. Evolutionary toxicology: Population-level effects of chronic contaminant exposure on the marsh frogs (Rana ridibunda) of Azerbaijan. Environmental Health Perspectives, 114: 547-552.

Mora, M.A., D. Musquiz,J.W. Bickham, D.S. Mackenzie, M.J. Hooper, J. Szabo, and C.W. Matson. 2006. Biomarkers of exposure and effects of environmental contaminants on swallows nesting along the Rio Grande, Texas, USA. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 25: 1574-1584.

Sparling, D.W., C. Matson,, J. Bickham, and P. Doelling-Brown. 2006. Toxicity of glyphosate as Glypro® and LI-700 to red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) embryos and early hatchlings. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry , 25: 2768-2774.

Baker, A.R., T.R. Loughlin, V. Burkanov, C.W. Matson, R.G. Trujillo, D.G. Calkins, J.W. Wickliffe, and J.W. Bickham. 2005. Variation of mitochondrial control region sequences of Steller sea lions: The three-stock hypothesis. Journal of Mammalogy, 86: 1075-1084.

Custer, C.M., T.W. Custer, C.J. Rosiu, M.J. Melancon, J.W. Bickham, and C.W. Matson. 2005. Exposure and effects of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin in tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) nesting along the Woonasquatucket River, Rhode Island, USA. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 24: 93-109.

Matson, C.W., G. Palatnikov, A. Islamzadeh, T.J. McDonald, R.L. Autenrieth, K.C. Donnelly, and J.W. Bickham. 2005. Chromosomal damage in two species of aquatic turtles (Emys orbicularis and Mauremys caspica) inhabiting contaminated sites in Azerbaijan. Ecotoxicology, 14: 513-525.

Matson, C.W., G.M. Palatnikov, T.J. McDonald, R.L. Autenrieth, K.C. Donnelly, T.A. Anderson, J.E. Canas, A. Islamzadeh, and J.W. Bickham. 2005. Patterns of genotoxicity and contaminant exposure: Evidence of genomic instability in the marsh frogs (Rana ridibunda) of Sumgayit, Azerbaijan. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 24: 2055-2064.

Toschik, P.C., B.A. Rattner, P.C. McGowan, M.C. Christman, D.B. Carter, R.C. Hale, C.W. Matson, D.E. Tillitt, and M.A. Ottinger. 2005. Environmental contaminant exposure and reproduction of ospreys nesting in Delaware River and Bay. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 24: 617-628.

Matson, C.W., J.C. Franson, T. Hollmén, P.L. Flint, M. Kilpi, M. Hario and J.W. Bickham. 2004. Evidence of chromosomal damage in common eiders (Somateria mollissima) from the Baltic Sea. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 49: 1066-1071.

Bickham, J.W., C.W. Matson, A. Islamzadeh, G.T. Rowe, K.C. Donnelly, C.D. Swartz, W.J. Rogers, J.K. Wickliffe, R.L. Autenrieth, T.J. McDonald, D. Politov, G. Palatnikov, A.A. Mekhtiev, and R. Kasimov. 2003. Editorial: The unknown environmental tragedy in Sumgayit, Azerbaijan. Ecotoxicology, 12: 505-508.

Matson, C.W., J.E. Williamson, R.M. Huebinger & E.E. Louis, Jr. 2001. Characterization of polymorphic microsatellite loci from the two endemic genera of Madagascan Boids, Acrantophis and Sanzinia. Molecular Ecology Notes, 1: 41-43.

Baker, R.J., A.M. Bickham, M. Bondarkov, S.P. Gaschak, C.W. Matson, B.E. Rodgers, J.K. Wickliffe, and R.K. Chesser. 2001. Consequences of polluted environments on population structure: The bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus) at Chornobyl. Ecotoxicology, 10: 211-216.

Matson, C.W., and R.J. Baker. 2001. DNA sequence variation in the mitochondrial control region of red-backed voles (Clethrionomys). Molecular Biology and Evolution, 18: 1494-1501.

Matson, C.W., B.E. Rodgers, R.K. Chesser, and R.J. Baker. 2000. Genetic diversity of Clethrionomys glareolus populations from highly contaminated sites in the Chornobyl Region, Ukraine. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 19: 2130-2135.

Peppers, L.L., D.M. Bell, J.C. Cathey, T.W. Jolley, R. Martinez, C.W. Matson, A.Y. Nekrutenko, and R.D. Bradley. 1998. Distributional records of mammals in Texas. Occasional Papers, Museum of Texas Tech University, 183: 1-5.