John Incardona, Ph.D.
John Incardona is a developmental biologist/toxicologist who has worked on environmental teratogens and gene-environment interactions since 1997. He joined the NWFSC in 2002 as a National Research Council Senior Associate to study the effects of pollution on fish development using the recently established zebrafish (Danio rerio) system. He received a B.S. with Honors in Biology from Indiana University (1988), and a Ph.D. in Genetics (1995) and M.D. degree (1996) from Case Western Reserve University.
The tropical zebrafish is now a major model for molecular and genetic analysis of vertebrate development, and one of few fish species with a nearly sequenced genome. Due to the ease of obtaining large numbers of optically clear embryos year-round, the zebrafish provides an ideal system for identifying embryotoxic or developmental defects induced by any of the vast array of contaminants detected in fish habitats of the Pacific Northwest. To understand how these urban or agricultural contaminants might impact the development of endangered or at-risk fish species that are difficult to study in the lab (e.g. salmonids), we are using zebrafish and its associated molecular tools to study mechanisms of pollutant toxicity. Our initial studies are focused on the effects of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, a ubiquitous family of compounds that are the main toxic components of fossil fuels and their combustion products.