Project 1: Mechanisms and Biomarkers of Metal Olfactory Injury in Salmon

Project 1 investigators are exploring the mechanisms of chemical-mediated neurobehavioral injury to salmon. These physiological impacts can occur at low chemical concentrations that occur in Superfund sites, and can negatively impact salmon behaviors that are critical to survival, including homing, feeding, and predator-prey avoidance. We integrate molecular, biochemical, physiological and behavioral approaches to understand the susceptibility of Pacific salmon to neurotoxic metals and pesticides. We are also using zebrafish, including olfactory transgenics, to address mechanisms of olfactory injury that are relevant to wild salmon, including understanding the cellular processes that underlie recovery from olfactory injury following metal exposures. Genomics and microRNA technologies are identifying gene-environment interactions that occur during the process of salmon olfactory injury. Ultimately, our project aims to develop mechanism-based biomarkers of neuropathic injury that can be used in monitoring the health of salmon and other fish species at Superfund sites, and to effectively evaluate site remediation outcomes.

Click here to see a two-page fact sheet about the project.


Dr. Gallagher headshotPrincipal Investigator: Evan P. Gallagher, Ph.D.

University of Washington SRP Program Director
Professor, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences


Phone:  (206) 616-4739 
Fax: (206) 685-4696 
Laboratory phone: (206) 543-1005

Research Interests:

Dr. Gallagher maintains an active research program focused in the area of the molecular and biochemical basis for susceptibility of environmental chemical toxicity. Specifically, our work is directed toward an understanding of the role of genetics and biochemistry of oxidative defense and biotransformation enzyme expression in individual, developmental, and species’ differences in susceptibility to environmental chemicals. Our work encompasses studies in Pacific salmon and zebrafish, as well as in fish and human cell models. Accordingly, we address toxicological issues that often involve ecological and human health.