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John Hansen, Ph.D.


Dr. Hansen is a Research Immunologist at the Western Fisheries Research Center. His laboratory utilizes a basic research, comparative approach to understand host-pathogen interactions in fish and the impact of environmental stressors on fish and wildlife health.

Research Interests:

Our research team at the WFRC focuses on mediators of inflammation, host-pathogen interactions, and the impact of environmental stressors on fish health. We are particularly interested in how early life and sub-lethal exposure to environmental contaminants affect disease resistance. We focus on Pacific salmon and employ current molecular and biochemical approaches. In addition, we have developed specific research projects that utilize zebrafish. Zebrafish represent an attractive model organism for studies involving fish and vertebrate health owing to the availability and utility of their genomic and genetic resources as well as an abundance of established pathogen challenge protocols for zebrafish.  

Current projects include assessing virulence factors for Francisella noatunensis (a fish-specific pathogen) and projects designed to address the effect of specific environmental contaminants including mercury, PFAS, PCBs, and algal toxins on metabolism, disease resistance, and the host microbiome. We are committed to addressing the effects of stormwater runoff (e.g., 6PPDQ) on salmon health. These research efforts have translational value for fish, wildlife, and human health around the world. Our goal is to better understand how the compound effects of pathogens, stressors, and the host immune response contribute to fish health and how this information can be applied to protect vertebrate health everywhere.

Current Laboratory Members:

  • Ellie Dalsky, Biological Science Technician
  • Justin Greer, Ph.D. Computational Biologist
  • Kincer Crovetti, UW Student Contractor
  • Prarthana Shakar, Ph.D. Biologist
  • Yo Okumura, Ph.D. Postdoctoral fellow co-mentored with Ram Savan, UW Immunology