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Prarthana Shankar, Ph.D.


Prarthana (pronounced: Praa-th-na) is a Biologist at the Western Fisheries Research Center interested in the toxicological effects of chemical exposure to fish health. Her current research examines stormwater toxicity in salmonids at various life stages, with a particular focus on 6PPD and its transformation products such as 6PPD-quinone.

Prior to coming to the USGS, Prarthana utilized zebrafish as a model organism to investigate the developmental toxicity of different environmental chemicals such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzodioxin (TCDD), and uranium. Her research leveraged techniques such as whole-animal transcriptomics and proteomics, behavioral assays at different zebrafish life stages, and CRISPR Cas9 and Cas12a to generate various gene knockout animals. She also has experience building Adverse Outcome Pathways (AOPs) specifically related to the Aryl hydrocarbon receptor.

Prarthana began working at the USGS in February 2023. Along with John Hansen’s group, she plans to investigate 6PPD-quinone toxicity in different salmonids native to the Pacific Northwest including, coho salmon and cutthroat trout. Her research questions focus on identifying the mechanisms of 6PPD-quinone toxicity and understanding the sublethal immune system effects from exposure to this emerging contaminant of concern.

*Disclaimer: Listing outside positions with professional scientific organizations on this Staff Profile are for informational purposes only and do not constitute an endorsement of those professional scientific organizations or their activities by the USGS, Department of the Interior, or U.S. Government