David Hala

Assistant Professor
Department of Marine Biology

E-mail: halad@tamug.edu
Phone: +1 (409) 740.4535
Fax: +1 (409) 740.5001

Ocean & Coastal Studies Bldg., Office 266

Google Scholars Page

Learn more about David Hala

Get To Know David Hala

What in your life drew you to your current field of study?

I am interested in how diverse environmental and man-made stressors impact organism fitness (survival, growth and reproduction). Questions that profoundly motivate me include:

1) What are the structural underpinnings of biological systems that allow an organism to adapt or 'innovate' when under stress?

2) How best to integrate multiple levels of biological complexity, from the molecular to physiological and ecological levels?

To answer these questions my research efforts are mainly focused on studying metabolic and endocrine systems in fish, reptiles and mammals.  I actively use mass spectrometry, quantitative PCR and computational biology methods to study such systems.

What do you hope your students gain from studying or working with you?

My main aims as a teacher and mentor are to: 1) make accessible the broader conceptual framework of materials being taught, 2) encourage further investigation and critical thinking by students, and 3) provide research opportunities and experiences for those interested in pursuing a career in the environmental or life sciences.

What are you passionate about in your personal life?

Spending time with my wife, daughter and two standard poodles.


Ph.D. Aquatic Ecotoxicology, Brunel University (U.K.), 2007
M.S. Aquatic Ecotoxicology, University of Plymouth (U.K.), 2002
Marine Biology and Oceanography, Bangor University (U.K.), 2001

Courses Taught

MARB 406: Life in Extreme Environments
MARB 414: Toxicology
MARB 310: Introduction to Cell Biology


Hernout B., Leleux J., Lynch J., Ramaswamy K., Faulkner P., Matich P., Hala D., (2020) The integration of fatty acid biomarkers of trophic ecology with pollutant body-burdens of PAHs and PCBs in four species of fish from Sabine Lake, Texas. Environmental Advances, 100001.

Steichen J. L., Labonté J. M., Windham R., Hala D., Kaiser K., Setta S., Faulkner P., Bacosa H., Yan Ge., Kamalanathan M. and Quigg A., (2020) Microbial, Physical, and Chemical Changes in Galveston Bay Following an Extreme Flooding Event, Hurricane Harvey. Frontiers in Marine Science, 7, 1-21

Bacosa H., Steichen J., Kamalanathan M., Windham R., Lubguban A., Labonté J., Kaiser K., Hala D., Santschi P. and Quigg A., 2020, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and putative PAH-degrading bacteria in Galveston Bay, TX (USA), following Hurricane Harvey (2017), Environmental Science and Pollution Research, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-020-09754-5

Faulkner P. C., Hala D., Rahman M. S. and Petersen L. H., (2019) Short-term exposure to 12o/oo brackish water has significant effects on the endocrine physiology of juvenile American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology, Vol. 236, 110531. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2019.110531

Cullen J. A., Marshall C. and Hala D., (2019) Integration of multi-tissue PAH and PCB burdens with biomarker activity in three coastal shark species from the northwestern Gulf of Mexico, Science of the Total Environment, Vol. 650, 1158-1172.

Hala D., Cullen J. A., Hernout B. and Ivanov I., (2018) In silico Predicted Transcriptional Regulatory Control of Steroidogenesis in Spawning Female Fathead Minnows (Pimephales promelas), Journal of Theoretical Biology, Vol. 455, 179-190.

Faulkner P. C., Burleson M. L., Simonitis L., Marshall C. D., Hala D. and Petersen L. H., (2018) Effects of Chronic Exposure to 12 o/oo Saltwater on the Endocrine Physiology of Juvenile American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), Journal of Experimental Biology, jeb181172.doi:10.1242/jeb.181172

Hala D., (2017) In silico Predicted Reproductive Endocrine Transcriptional Regulatory Networks during Zebrafish (Danio rerio) Development, Journal of Theoretical Biology, Vol. 417, 51-60.

Hala D., Petersen L. H., Martinović D. and Huggett D. B., (2015) Constraints-Based Flux Balance Analysis of Perturbed Steroidogenesis and Gonad Growth in Fathead Minnows (Pimephales promelas) Exposed to 17α-Ethynylestradiol, Systems Biology in Reproductive Medicine, Vol. 61, No. 3, 122-138.

Petersen L. H., Hala D., Carty D., Cantu M., Martinović D. and Huggett D. B., (2015) Effects of Progesterone and Norethindrone on Female Fathead Minnow (Pimephales promelas) Steroidogenesis, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Vol. 34, No. 2, 379-390.

Hala D. and Huggett D. B., (2014) In Silico Predicted Structural and Functional Robustness of Piscine Steroidogenesis, Journal of Theoretical Biology, Vol. 345, 99-108.

Hala D., Huggett D. B. and Burggren W. W., (2012) Environmental Stressors and the Epigenome. Drug Discovery Today: Technologies. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ddtec.2012.05.004

Hala D., Petersen L. H., Martinović D. and Huggett D. B., (2012) Constraints-based Stoichiometric Analysis of Hypoxic Stress on Steroidogenesis in Fathead Minnows (Pimephales promelas). Journal of Experimental Biology, Vol. 215, 1753-1765.

Hala D., Overturf M. D., Petersen L. H. and Huggett D. B., (2011) Quantification of 2-Hydrazinopyridine Derivatized Steroid Hormones in Fathead Minnow (Pimephales promelas) Blood Plasma using LC-ESI+/MS/MS, Journal of Chromatography B, Vol. 879, 591-598.

Hala D., Amin A., Mikler A. and Huggett D.B., (2010) A Constraint-Based Stoichiometric Model of the Steroidogenic Network of Zebrafish (Danio rerio), Journal of Biological Systems, Vol. 18, 669-685.

Hala D., Bristeau S., Dagnac T. and Jobling S., (2010) The Unexpected Sources of Organotin Contamination in Aquatic Toxicological Laboratory Studies, Aquatic Toxicology, Vol. 96, 314-318.

Hala D., Van Look K., Holt W. and Jobling S., (2009) Validation of a Method for Measuring Sperm Quality and Quantity in Reproductive Toxicity with Pair-Breeding Male Fathead Minnows (Pimephales promelas), Institute of Laboratory Animal Research, Vol. 50, No. 4,E1-10.


November 2017: Integrated Transcriptional-Regulatory and Flux Analysis Models of Piscine Steroidogenesis, SETAC North America, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

September 2016: Pharmaceuticals in the Environment: Sources, Fate and Impacts, Clean Water Fund, Dallas, September 2016.

October 2015: Stoichiometric Pathway Analysis of Steroidogenesis in Fathead Minnows (Pimephales promelas), Hala D., Petersen L. H., Martinović D. and Huggett D. B., Canadian Ecotoxicity Workshop, Saskatoon, Canada, October 2015.

February 2014: Stoichiometry of Steroidogenesis: Towards Understanding Optimal Design and Function, Hala D. and Huggett D. B., SIAM Conference on Parallel Processing for Scientific Computing, Portland, Oregon, February 2014.

November 2010: Systems Biology of the Steroidogenic Network in Zebrafish (Danio rerio), Hala D. and Huggett D. B., SETAC North America, Portland, Oregon.

Current Graduate Students

2016 - present: Patricia Faulkner, PhD Candidate, Chair

2019 - present: Yu Umeki, Ph.D. Student, Chair

2019 - present: Rayna Nolen, PhD Student, Chair

2020 - present: Olivia Thibault, PhD Student, Chair