Investigator-Initiated Research Translation: Project 1

Project 1: Biochemical Mechanisms of Olfactory Injury in Salmon


zebrafish in a lab tank

The Gallagher Lab (Project 1) has worked to reach broad audiences with messages about the effects of cadmium exposure on salmon by creating press releases that have led to stories on King 5 NewsKomo NewsNPRDailyMail.comThe Seattle PI, KUOW, and more.

Trainees Chase Williams and Margaret Mills have also led many lab tours, presenting their research to groups like the Duwamish Valley Youth Corps and interns from Zero Waste WashingtonBRANCH, a program run by the Urban Indian Health Institute and funded by the Center for Disease Control; and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences-funded SURE-EH program. All of these programs are aimed at serving underrepresented groups and first-generation college students/ graduates. More details about an example visit can be found here

In 2018, Governor Inslee convened a Southern Resident Killer Whale Recovery Task Force to address the issue of declining resident orca populations in Puget Sound. Salmon are a key prey species for orcas. The Gallagher lab has documented a loss of smell in salmon related to cadmium exposure. Because salmon depend heavily on their sense of smell to locate prey, avoid predators, and return to their natal streams to spawn, a decreased sense of smell could severely impact their ability to survive and reproduce. In order to convey this relevant science to members of the orca recovery task force, Mills worked with RTC manager, Lisa Hayward to create a fact sheet summarizing the lab's results.

Mills also helped Hayward create a two-page fact sheet describing the overall project which is available here.

Lead investigator on the project and UW SRP Center Director, Evan Gallagher, defines research translation goals for the project in this plan. Project 1's research translation map uses a framework developed by NIEHS to visualize translation work accomplishments to date and guide future translation efforts.