Disease caused by the protozoan parasite Perkinsus marinus (also known as Dermo) has continuously caused severe mortality in the oyster populations in Chesapeake Bay. To help oysters combat this disease, the Oyster Pathophysiology Laboratory focuses on the interactions between the oyster and the parasite by studying the defense system of the oyster and identifying the factors contributing to the parasite's virulence. Laboratory staff and students are also investigating the host-parasite interaction at cellular and molecular levels under different environmental conditions, including pollution. By understanding the basic mechanisms of interaction between the host and the parasite and their expression in different environments, means to promote the host defense and to control the parasite's virulence may be revealed.
Principal investigator: Dr. Fu-Lin Chu