Maureen K Purcell, Ph.D.
Maureen leads a team of scientists, technicians, post-doctoral researchers, graduate students and visiting scientists working to improve methods for the detection of fish pathogens, determine factors affecting the epidemiology of fish diseases, and develop novel control strategies for reducing losses among both hatchery-reared and wild fish.
Ph.D. 2005. Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
M.S. 1997. Zoology, University of Maine, Orono, ME
B.S. 1993. Zoology, Washington State University, Pullman, WA
The Fish Health Section studies infectious diseases of fish, molecular taxonomy and epidemiology of fish pathogens, ecology of fish diseases in wild populations and fish host defenses. A portion of our time is spent providing technical assistance to other federal, state and tribal fisheries agencies, including activities such as training, technology transfer and rapid response to emerging fish pathogens.
2017 to Present - Chief, Fish Health Section, U.S. Geological Survey, Western Fisheries Research Center, Seattle, WA
2014 to Present - Affiliate Associate Professor, Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
2008-2016 - Research Microbiologist, U.S. Geological Survey, Western Fisheries Research Center, Seattle, WA
2005 - 2008 - Microbiologist, U.S. Geological Survey, Western Fisheries Research Center, Seattle, WA
1999 - 2000 - Contractor, NOAA Fisheries, Northwest Fishery Science Center, Seattle, WA
1997 - 1999 - Professional Research Assistant, The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME
Honors, Awards, Recognition, Elected Memberships:
2016 - Presidential Early Career Service Award for Scientists and Engineers
2012 - U.S. Geological Survey, Western States Diversity Award group award to Fish Health Section
2012 - American Fisheries Society, Most significant paper in Journal of Aquatic Animal Health
2009 - U.S. Geological Survey, Best Professional Paper in Biology by a New Scientist
2008 - American Fisheries Society, Most significant paper in Journal of Aquatic Animal Health
2004 - Faculty Merit Award, U.W. School of Aquatic and Fisheries Sciences
Academic and Professional Service:
Associate Editor - Journal of Aquatic Animal Health
Editorial Board - Fish and Shellfish Immunology
Editorial Board - Journal of Virological Methods
American Fisheries Society - Fish Health Section
European Association of Fish Pathologists
Science and Products
Using an approach that involves a combination of field- and laboratory-based studies, we are investigating fish health factors that may be contributing to the failed recovery of Pacific herring populations in Prince William Sound, AK. Field studies are providing infection and disease prevalence data to inform the population models, serological data that indicate the prior exposure history and...
Protocols for the Detection of Renibacterium salmoninarum in salmon
Broad-spectrum antiviral JL122 blocks infection and inhibits transmission of aquatic rhabdoviruses
The aquaculture industry is growing rapidly to meet the needs for global protein consumption. Viral diseases in aquaculture are quite challenging due to lack of treatment options as well as limited injection-delivery vaccines, which are costly. Thus, water-immersion antiviral treatments are highly desirable. This study focused on broad-...Balmer, Bethany F.; Getchell, Rodman G.; Powers, Rachel L.; Lee, Jihye; Zhang, Tinghu; Jung, Michael E.; Purcell, Maureen K.; Snekvik, Kevin; Aguilar, Hector C.
A snapshot of women of the U.S. Geological Survey in STEM and related careers
IntroductionThe term “STEM” has been used to group together the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and to describe education and professions related to these fields. The professional fields connected to STEM education are thought of as engineering, medicine, and computer technology. Yet these professional fields are merely...Aragon-Long, Susan C.; Burkett, Virginia R.; Weyers, Holly S.; Haig, Susan M.; Davenport, Marjorie S.; Warner, Kelly L.
Molecular testing of adult Pacific salmon and trout (Oncorhynchus spp.) for several RNA viruses demonstrates widespread distribution of piscine orthoreovirus in Alaska and Washington
This research was initiated in conjunction with a systematic, multiagency surveillance effort in the United States (U.S.) in response to reported findings of infectious salmon anaemia virus (ISAV) RNA in British Columbia, Canada. In the systematic surveillance study reported in a companion paper, tissues from various salmonids taken from...Purcell, Maureen K.; Thompson, Rachel L.; Evered, Joy; Kerwin, John; Meyers, Ted R.; Stewart, Bruce; Winton, James
A systematic surveillance programme for infectious salmon anaemia virus supports its absence in the Pacific Northwest of the United States
In response to reported findings of infectious salmon anaemia virus (ISAV) in British Columbia (BC), Canada, in 2011, U.S. national, state and tribal fisheries managers and fish health specialists developed and implemented a collaborative ISAV surveillance plan for the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. Accordingly, over a 3-1/2-year...Gustafson, Lori L.; Creekmore, Lynn H.; Snekvik, Kevin R.; Ferguson, Jayde A.; Warg, Janet V.; Blair, Marilyn; Meyers, Theodore R.; Stewart, Bruce; Warheit, Kenneth I.; Kerwin, John; Goodwin, Andrew E.; Rhodes, Linda D.; Whaley, Janet E.; Purcell, Maureen K.; Bentz, Collette; Shasa, Desiree; Bader, Joel; Winton, James R.
Observations and first reports of saprolegniosis in Aanaakłiq, broad whitefish (Coregonus nasus), from the Colville River near Nuiqsut, Alaska
We report the first confirmed cases (2013–2016) of saprolegniosis caused by water mold from the genus Saprolegnia in Aanaakłiq, broad whitefish (Coregonus nasus), from the Colville River near Nuiqsut, Alaska. While this mold is known to be worldwide, these instances represent the first cases in Nuiqsut and only the second instance on a...Sformo, Todd L.; Adams, Billy; Seigle, John C.; Ferguson, Jayde A.; Purcell, Maureen K.; Stimmelmayr, Raphaela; Welch, Joseph H.; Ellis, Leah M.; Leppi, Jason C.; George, John C.
Transmission routes maintaining a viral pathogen of steelhead trout within a complex multi-host assemblage
This is the first comprehensive region wide, spatially explicit epidemiologic analysis of surveillance data of the aquatic viral pathogen infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV) infecting native salmonid fish. The pathogen has been documented in the freshwater ecosystem of the Pacific Northwest of North America since the 1950s, and the...Breyta, Rachel; Brito, Ilana L.; Ferguson, Paige; Kurath, Gael; Naish, Kerry A.; Purcell, Maureen K.; Wargo, Andrew R.; LaDeau, Shannon L.
Detection of Nanophyetus salmincola in water, snails, and fish tissues by quantitative polymerase chain reaction
We report the development and validation of two quantitative PCR (qPCR) assays to detect Nanophyetus salmincola DNA in water samples and in fish and snail tissues. Analytical and diagnostic validation demonstrated good sensitivity, specificity, and repeatability of both qPCR assays. The N. salmincola DNA copy number in kidney...Purcell, Maureen K.; Powers, Rachel L.; Besijn, Bonnie; Hershberger, Paul K.
Influence of temperature on the efficacy of homologous and heterologous DNA vaccines against viral hemorrhagic septicemia in Pacific Herring
Homologous and heterologous (genogroup Ia) DNA vaccines against viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (genogroup IVa) conferred partial protection in Pacific Herring Clupea pallasii. Early protection at 2 weeks postvaccination (PV) was low and occurred only at an elevated temperature (12.6°C, 189 degree days), where the relative percent survival...Hart, Lucas; Lorenzen, Niels; Einer-Jensen, Katja; Purcell, Maureen K.; Hershberger, Paul
Analytical validation of a reverse transcriptase droplet digital PCR (RT-ddPCR) for quantitative detection of infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus
Infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV) is an important pathogen of salmonid fishes. A validated universal reverse transcriptase quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) assay that can quantify levels of IHNV in fish tissues has been previously reported. In the present study, we adapted the published set of IHNV primers and probe for use in a reverse-...Jia, Peng; Purcell, Maureen K.; Pan, Guang; Wang, Jinjin; Kan, Shifu; Liu, Yin; Zheng, Xiaocong; SHi, Xiujie; He, Junqiang; Yu, Li; Hua, Qunyi; Lu, Tikang; Lan, Wensheng; Winton, James; Jin, Ningyi; Liu, Hong
Optimization of a Plaque Neutralization Test (PNT) to identify the exposure history of Pacific Herring to viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV)
Methods for a plaque neutralization test (PNT) were optimized for the detection and quantification of viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV) neutralizing activity in the plasma of Pacific Herring Clupea pallasii. The PNT was complement dependent, as neutralizing activity was attenuated by heat inactivation; further, neutralizing activity was...Hart, Lucas; Mackenzie, Ashley; Purcell, Maureen K.; Thompson, Rachel L.; Hershberger, Paul
Molecular characterization of a novel orthomyxovirus from rainbow and steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)
A novel virus, rainbow trout orthomyxovirus (RbtOV), was isolated in 1997 and again in 2000 from commercially-reared rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in Idaho, USA. The virus grew optimally in the CHSE-214 cell line at 15°C producing a diffuse cytopathic effect; however, juvenile rainbow trout exposed to cell culture-grown virus showed no...Batts, William N.; LaPatra, Scott E.; Katona, Ryan; Leis, Eric; Fei Fan Ng, Terry; Bruieuc, Marine S.O.; Breyta, Rachel; Purcell, Maureen K.; Waltzek, Thomas B.; Delwart, Eric; Winton, James
Detecting Renibacterium salmoninarum in wild brown trout by use of multiple organ samples and diagnostic methods
Renibacterium salmoninarum, the causative agent of salmonid bacterial kidney disease (BKD), is endemic in many wild trout species in northerly regions. The aim of the present study was to determine the optimal R. salmoninarum sampling/testing strategy for wild brown trout (Salmo trutta L.) populations in Iceland. Fish were netted in a lake and...Guomundsdottir, S.; Applegate, Lynn M.; Arnason, I.O.; Kristmundsson, A.; Purcell, Maureen K.; Elliott, Diane G.
USGS and Chinese Fish Health Specialists Meet in the People's Republic of China to Discuss Fish Health
Dr. Diane Elliott Retires After Long Distinguished Career
Dr. Jim Winton Retires After Long Distinguished Career
Understanding the Effects of Temperature on Diseases in Fish
WFRC’s Bacterial Kidney Disease Research and Its Relation to the Great Lakes Fisheries
WFRC Hosts Visiting Scientists from Norway