My research focuses on fish parasites, specifically myxozoans. These are microscopic animals related to corals and jellyfish, but which are parasites that require two hosts to complete their life cycles. I investigate the structure, function, development and genetics of problematic myxozoans of salmon and trout, and discover and describe new parasite species.
Current research projects
- Klamath River fish health studies (Bureau of Reclamation grant to Dr. Bartholomew and Dr. Hallett)
- Parasite detection and quantification in river water samples
- Genomics and transcriptomics of Ceratonova shasta
- Hunting for cryptic sources of parasites
- Characterization and detection of the invertebrate host
- USDA Capacity Building Grant to Robert Durburow (KSU) and Stephen Atkinson (OSU)
- We are developing computer learning games to promote awareness and education of fish diseases: Fish Detective and SimFish; with Dr. Sascha Hallett, u/g Paris Myers, Professor Yue Zhang and MS student Kevin Hung (OSU College of Electrical and Computer Engineering). We are also expanding fishpathogens.net, a database of fish diseases and pathogens, and a portal for connecting public inquiries with fish health experts; in collaboration with ODFW, undergraduate students and Dr. Sascha Hallett.
- “A novel approach for preventing Myxozoan infection in fish: Control of polar capsule activation”
- Together with Jerri Bartholomew and Tamar Lotan (U. Haifa, Israel), and grad student Ben Americus, we are working to understand the fundamental structural and functional workings of myxozoan parasite spores: how they are built, if they can envenomate their hosts, and what types of chemical compounds can block their activation.
Other ongoing research collaborations include
- Microscopy and genetics of myxozoan mitochondria with Dorothee Huchon (Tel Aviv University, Israel). Dual stained developing parasite cells. Blue=DNA stained with DAPI. Red=mitochondria stained with MitoTracker. The blue nuclei are about 5 µm across.
- Phylogenetics of Ceratonova shasta across the Pacific Northwest, with Rachel Breyta (OSU / USGS).
- Discovering cryptic life cycles of marine myxozoan parasites, with Isaure DeBuron, College of Charleston, SC.
- Novel and introduced myxozoan parasites, with Tiago Milanin, U. Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Science and art
I use my scientific research to inspire artistic interpretations and representations for my own enjoyment, and to promote outreach and engagement with the wider community. I use paint, paper collage, digital illustration and 3D printing. I am one of 3 faculty advisors (with Jerri Bartholomew and Andrew Myers), of the interdisciplinary student club Seminarium. The club engages students with cross-disciplinary approaches to create exhibitions on campus and for the general public.
I teach 2 courses in the OSU Honors College: (1) HC407: Life: The Biosphere through Space and Time. (2) HC407: Have Rocket Will Travel. And I co-teach the biannual summer salmon disease workshop.
- Americus, B., Hams, N., Klompen, A.M.L., Alama-Bermejo, G., Lotan, T., Bartholomew, J.L., and Atkinson, S.D. Accepted September 2021. The cnidarian parasite Ceratonova shasta utilizes inherited and recruited venom-like compounds during infection. PeerJ.
- Alama-Bermejo, G., Hernandez-Orts, J.S., Huchon, D., and Atkinson, S.D. 2021. Two novel myxosporean parasite species of Ceratomyxa Thélohan, 1892 from the banded cusk-eel Raneya brasiliensis (Kaup) (Ophidiiformes: Ophidiidae) off Patagonia, Argentina. Parasitol. Intl. 85:102433.
- Pekmezi, G.Z., Atkinson, S.D., Yardimci, B., Bolukbas, C.S., Ozppicak, M., and Yilmaz, S. 2021. Novel and known myxobolids (Cnidaria: Myxozoa) infecting Chondrostoma angorense (Cypriniformes: Leuciscidae) in Turkey. Parsitol. Intl. 83:102339.
- Brekhman, V., Ofek-Lalzar, M., Atkinson, S.D., Alama-Bermejo, G., Maor-Landaw, K., Malik, A., Bartholomew, J.L., and Lotan, T. 2021. Proteomic analysis of the parasitic Cnidarian Ceratonova shasta (Cnidaria: Myxozoa) reveals diverse roles of actin in motility and spore formation. Front. in Mar. Sci. 8:632700.
- Americus, B., Schisler, G.J., Bartholomew, J.L., and Atkinson, S.D. 2021. Myxobolus cerebralis Causes Presporogonic Mortality in Juvenile Mountain Whitefish J. of Aquatic Animal Hlth. 33(2):116-122.
- Bartošová-Sojková, P., Kyslík, J., Alama-Bermejo, G., Hartigan, A., Atkinson, S.D., Bartholomew, J.L., Picard-Sánchez, A., Palenzuela, O., Faber, M.N., Holland, J.W., and Holzer, A.S. 2021. Evolutionary Analysis of Cystatins of Early-Emerging Metazoans Reveals a Novel Subtype in Parasitic Cnidarians Biology 10(2):110.
- Americus, B., Bartholomew, J.L., Lotan, T., Atkinson, S.D. 2020. A comparison of the structure and function of nematocysts in free-living and parasitic cnidarians (Myxozoa). Inter. J. for Parasitol., 50: 763-769. DOI:10.1016/j.ijpara.2020.04.012.
- Americus, B., Austin, B., Lotan, T., Bartholomew, J., and Atkinson, S. 2020. In vitro and in vivo assays reveal that cations affect nematocyst discharge in Myxobolus cerebralis (Cnidaria: Myxozoa). Parasitol., 147(12):1352-1358. DOI:10.1017/S0031182020001158.
- Kyger, R., Luzuriaga, A., Peri, S., Layman, T., Sandberg, T.O.M., Singh, D., Atkinson, S.D., Bartholomew, J.L., Huchon, D., Soojin, V., and Alvarez-Ponce, D. 2020. Myxosporea (Myxozoa, Cnidaria) lack DNA cytosine methylation. Molec. Biol. and Evol.. msaa214. DOI:10.1093/molbev/msaa214.
- Tilic, E., Atkinson, S.D., and Rouse, G. 2020. Mitochondrial genome of the freshwater annelid Manayunkia occidentalis Mitochondrial DNA Part B: Resources, 5(3): 3313-3315. DOI:10.1080/23802359.2020.1815604.
- Alama-Bermejo, G., Meyer, E., Atkinson, S.D., Holzer, A.S., Wiśniewska, M.W., Kolísko, M., and Bartholomew, J.L. 2020. Transcriptome-wide comparisons and virulence gene polymorphisms of host-associated genotypes of the cnidarian parasite Ceratonova shasta in salmonids. Genome Biol. and Evol., 12(8), 1258-1276. DOI:10.1093/gbe/evaa109.
- Borkhanuddin, M.H., Goswami, U., Cech, G., Molnár, K., Atkinson, S.D., and Székely, C. 2020. Description of myxosporeans (Cnidaria: Myxozoa) infecting the popular food fish Notopterus notopterus (Pisces: Notopteridae) in Malaysia and India. Food and Waterborne Parasitol. DOI:10.1016/j.fawpar.2020.e00092.
- Yahalomi, D., Atkinson, S.D., Neuhof, M., Chang, E.S., Philippe, H., Cartwright, P., Bartholomew, J.L., and Huchon, D. 2020. A cnidarian parasite of salmon (Myxozoa: Henneguya) lacks a mitochondrial genome. PNAS, 117(10):5358-5363.
- Atkinson, S.D., Bartholomew, J.L., and Rouse, G.W. 2020. The invertebrate host of salmonid fish parasites Ceratonova shasta and Parvicapsula minibicornis (Cnidaria) is a novel fabriciid annelid. Manayunkia occidentalis sp. nov. (Sabellida: Fabriciidae). Zootaxa, 4751(2):310-320.
- Milanin, T., Bartholomew, J.L., and Atkinson, S.D. 2020. An introduced host with novel and introduced parasites: Myxobolus spp. (Cnidaria:Myxozoa) in yellow perch Perca flavescens. Parasitol. Res. DOI:10.007/S00436-019-06585-3.
- Breyta, R., Atkinson, S.D., and Bartholomew, J.L. 2019. Evolutionary dynamics of Ceratonova species in the Klamath River basin reveals different host adaptation strategies. Infection, Genetics and Evolution, 78:104081.
- Richey, C.A., Kenelty, K.V., Van Stone Hopkins, K., Stevens, B.N., Martínez-López, B., Barnum, S.M., Stevens, B.N., Hallett, S.L., Atkinson, S.D., Bartholomew, J.L., and Soto, E. 2020. Validation of environmental DNA sampling for determination of Ceratonova shasta (Cnidaria: Myxozoa) distribution in Plumas National Forest, CA. Parasitol. Res. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00436-019-06509-1.
- Alama-Bermejo, G., Viozzi, G.P., Waicheim, M.A., Flores, V.R., and Atkinson, S.D. 2019. Host-parasite relationship of Ortholinea lauquen n. sp. (Cnidaria:Myxozoa) and the fish Galaxias maculatus (Jenyns, 1842) in Northwest Patagonia, Argentina. Dis. Aquat. Organisms 136(2):163-174.
- Borkhanuddin, M.H., Cech, G., Molnár, K., Shaharom-Harrison, F., Duy Khoa, T.N., Samshuri, M.A. Mazeland, S., Atkinson, S.D., and Székely, C. 2019. Henneguya (Cnidaria:Myxosporea:myxobolidae) infections of cultured barramundi, Lates calcarifer (Perciformes:Latidae) in an estuarine wetlands system of Malaysia: Description of Henneguya setiuensis n. sp., Henneguya voronini n. sp. and Henneguya calcarifer n. sp. Parasitol. Res. 119(1):85-96.
- Atkinson, S.D., Hallett, S.L., Díaz Morales D., Bartholomew, J.L., and de Buron, I. 2019. First myxozoan infection (Cnidaria: Myxosporea) in a marine polychaete from North America, and erection of actinospore collective group Saccimyxon. J. Parasitol. 105(2):252-262. DOI:10.1645/18-183.
- Fromm, A., Atkinson, S.D., Alama-Bermejo, G., Cartwright, P., Bartholomew, J., and Huchon, D. 2019. A new mitochondrial gene order in the banded cusk-eel Raneya brasiliensis (Actinopterygii, Ophidiiformes). Mitochondrial DNA Part B, 4:1, 1-4.
- Howell, C.K., Atkinson, S.D., Bartholomew, J.L., and Hallett, S.L. 2019. Development and application of a qPCR assay targeting Ichthyophthirius multifiliis in environmental water samples. Dis. Aquatic Org. 134; 43-55.