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WSUV reels in grant funds

VANCOUVER - Two scientists at Washington State University Vancouver have pulled in almost $900,000 in research grants, the university announced last week.

Washington State University Vancouver scientists, clockwise from left, Amir Jokar, John Bishop and Ruth Phillips have received almost $900,000 in research grants. Phillips and Bishop are biologists; Jokar is a mechanical engineer.

Researchers will use the money to identify the genetic makeup of disease-resistant fish and to better understand the progression of new plant life in the pumice plain of Mount St. Helens.

Ruth Phillips, an adjunct research professor of biology, learned last month that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will provide $450,000 over the next three years to continue research into mapping the genetic code of Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout.

Disease is a problem for aquaculture, where fish are grown in close quarters as a food source.

Phillips said the research, in conjunction with scientists in Canada and Norway, will benefit sport fish raised in hatcheries up and down the West Coast and in the Columbia River basin. Phillips, who came to WSU eight years ago from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, said she intends to better understand the molecular basis of fish disease -- not to design a superfish.

"Often if you select a strain for resistance to one disease, it may be susceptible to something else," she said. "We're defeating the purpose if we put all our strains in one basket."

Another WSU researcher is already working on a $428,000 five-year award from the National Science Foundation to continue studying the colonization of plants in the pumice plain of Mount St. Helens.

Source: The Columbian

the Fish Site Editor

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