Dr. Stephen Atkinson, Bartholomew Lab, Research Associate
I am fascinated by myxozoans - a common and diverse group of microscopic organisms related to corals and jellyfish. Unlike their free-living cousins, all myxozoans are parasites. They infect aquatic vertebrates (fish, frogs, waterfowl, turtles) and invertebrates (worms, bryozoans). My research includes description of new myxozoan species, especially those that better refine the myxozoan 'tree of life' and evolutionary relationships. I use genomic and transcriptomic analyses to identify genetic targets to develop pathogen-specific assays and investigate the relationships between free-living and parasitic Cnidaria. I am particularly interested in developing new methods for parasite diversity estimation and risk assessment using a combination of environmental DNA sampling and next generation DNA sequencing (i.e. metabarcoding). I believe that the synthesis of traditional taxonomy with the sampling power of deep sequencing technologies is a key to enabling a deeper understanding of parasite biodiversity.
>Genomic and transcriptomic analyses of Ceratonova shasta genetic types in salmon and trout in the Klamath River basin. Development of a high-throughput genotyping assay. Collaborators at OSU include Eli Meyer, Department of Integrative Biology, Shawn O'Neil, Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing, and Sascha Hallett, Department of Microbiology.
>Investigation of structure and function of myxozoan polar capsules and their relationship with nematocysts in non-parasitic Cnidaria. Development of anti-myxozoan compunds. Collaborators include Tamar Lotan (University of Haifa, Israel).
>Diversity of myxozoan parasites in marine annelid worms. Determination of the life cycle of Kudoa inornata and its use as a model system for risk management of human pathogenic Kudoa species. Collaborators include Isaure de Buron (College of Charleston, South Carolina, USA).
I maintain two websites to educate non-scientists and to facilitate research collaboration: www.fishpathogens.net an online database of pathogens from Oregon fish, in collaboration with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and www.myxozoa.org a networking resource for myxozoan researchers: contacts, meetings, jobs.
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Atkinson SD, Foott JS, Bartholomew JL. (2014). Erection of Ceratonova n. gen. (Myxosporea: Ceratomyxidae) to encompass freshwater species C. gasterostea n. sp. from threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) and C. shasta n. comb. from salmonid fishes. Journal of Parasitology 100(5) 640-645. DOI: 10.1645/13-434.1
Edson A Adriano, Marcia R M Silva, Stephen D Atkinson, Jerri L Bartholomew, Antônio A M Maia (2014) Myxidium ceccarellii n. sp. (Myxosporea) from the gallbladder of Leporinus elongatus (Anastomidae) from the São Francisco River, Brazil. Parasitology Research 113:2665-2670. DOI 10.1007/s00436-014-3921-x
Bartošová P, Fiala I, Jirku M, Cinková M, Caffara M, Fioravanti ML, Atkinson SD, Bartholomew JL, Holzer AS (2013) Sphaerospora sensu stricto: Taxonomy,diversity and evolution of a unique lineage of myxosporeans (Myxozoa). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 68:93–105
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