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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 group at the WFRC focuses on mediators of inflammation, the development of immune-related tools (mAbs) for salmonids and the impact(s) of environmental stressors (e.g. contaminants, pathogens, temperature) on immune response potential. We are particularly interested in how early life exposure to environmental contaminants affects disease resistance. To better appreciate these interactions, we have developed specific research projects that utilize zebrafish. Zebrafish represent an attractive model for studies involving fish and vertebrate health owing to the availability and utility of genomic and genetic resources for this model vertebrate as well as established pathogen challenge protocols.  

Current zebrafish-related projects include assessing virulence factors for Francisella noatunensis (a fish specific pathogen) and projects designed to address the effect(s) of specific environmental contaminants such as EE2, mercury, PFAS and algal toxins on disease resistance and the microbiome of fish. These research efforts have translational value for fish, wildlife and human health. Ultimately, our goal is to better understand how pathogens, stressors and the host immune response contribute to pathogenesis and/or immunity and how this information can be applied to vertebrate health.

Current Laboratory Members:

  • Ellie Davis, Biological Science Technician
  • Matthew Hendricks, Ph.D. Co-mentored with Ram Savan, UW Immunology
  • John Bellah, M.S. Biological Science Technician
  • Justin Greer, Ph.D. Computational Biologist

Professional Experience

  • 2004 to Present – Research Immunologist/Project Leader: USGS Western Fisheries Research Center, Seattle, WA

  • 2004 to Present - Affiliate Associate Professor: Global Health and Pathobiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

  • 2002-2006 - Adjunct Assistant Professor: Molecular Medicine, University of Maryland Baltimore, Baltimore, MD

  • 2002-2004 - Assistant Professor, Center of Marine Biotechnology. University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD

  • 1995-2001 - Member: Basel Institute for Immunology, Basel, Switzerland

  • 1991-1995 - Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Microbiology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR

Education and Certifications

  • Postdoc. Basel Institute for Immunology, Basel, Switzerland

  • Ph.D. Genetics/Immunology, Department of Microbiology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR

  • B.S. Zoology and Chemistry, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Eau Claire, WI

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