Ph.D. 1998, European Institute of Marine Sciences,
University of Western Brittany, Brest, France
Pathobiology and Immunobiology of Marine Shellfish
Dr Allam's web page
My research focuses on the interactions between marine shellfish and pathogenic microorganisms, including the mechanisms of resistance to pathogens and diseases, and the effect of environmental factors on these interactions. My current research projects cover host pathogen interactions at different scales and my approach to addressing these issues involves field studies and laboratory experiments.
I am particularly interested in the early interactions between waterborne pathogens and their bivalve hosts. With funding form the National Science Foundation (NSF, co-funded by the National Institute of Health), we have been investigating the implication of marine aggregates (flocs, marine snow) as reservoirs and vectors for infectious microorganisms. My students and I are particularly looking into the mechanism and factors influencing the colonization of host tissues, including factors controlling the adhesion/attachment of parasites at their portal of entry. Because the limit between feeding, symbiosis and parasitism is very thin, particularly with regard to common principles of particle processing at first encounter with the bivalve, our investigations are currently complemented by another NSF-funded project that specifically targets the interactions between suspension-feeding bivalves and suspended particles in the framework of predator-prey associations.
Another important research activity currently underway in my lab is the investigations of Quahog Parasite Unknown (QPX), a fatal protistan parasite affecting the hard clam, Mercenaria mercenaria. In addition to a large field surveillance program that uses both traditional (histopathology) and modern (quantitative Real-Time PCR) techniques to unravel disease dynamics in situ, we investigate host-pathogen interactions at cellular and molecular scales. With funding from NOAA’s New York Sea Grant Institute, we are currently investigating the effect of major environmental factors on clam defense system, disease development and resulting clam mortality. With additional financial support from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, we are developing gene expression studies and DNA microarrays (DNA chips) to unravel clam's immune response to the infection.
Funding agencies sponsoring current research include the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Atmospheric and Oceanographic Administration (NOAA, through the New York Sea Grant and the Rhode Island Sea Grant Programs), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. For more information about these projects and other activities, please visit: http://somas.stonybrook.edu/~MADL/allam.html
Publications (since 2009)
Allam B , Carden WE, Ward JE, Ralph G, Winnicki S, Pales Espinosa E. (2013). Early host-pathogen interactions in marine bivalves: Evidence that the alveolate parasite Perkinsus marinus infects through the oyster mantle during rejection of pseudofeces. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 113: 26-34.
Pales Espinosa E., Allam B. (2013). Food quality and season affect the expression of the mucosal lectin MeML and food sorting abilities in the blue mussel Mytilus edulis. Marine Biology . In Press. DOI: 10.1007/s00227-013-2196-6.
Perrigault M., Dahl S.F., Pales-Espinosa E., Allam B. (2012). Effects of salinity on hard clam (Mercenaria mercenaria) defense parameters and QPX disease dynamics. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 110(1): 73-82.
Perrigault M, Allam B. (2012). Differential immune response in the hard clam (Mercenaria mercenaria) against bacteria and the protistan QPX (Quahog Parasite Unknown). Fish and Shellfish Immunology 32(6): 1124-1134.
Homerding M, McElroy A, Taylor G, Dove A, Allam B. (2012). Investigation of epizootic shell disease in American lobsters ( Homarus americanus ) from Long Island Sound: II. Immune parameters in lobsters and relationships to the disease. Journal of Shellfish Research 31(2):495-504.
Bell SL, Allam B. , McElroy A, Dove A, Taylor GT. (2012). Investigation of epizootic shell disease in American lobsters (Homarus americanus) from Long Island Sound: I. Characterization of associated microbial communities. Journal of Shellfish Research 31(2):473-484.
Sokolowski M, Allam B, Dunton K, Clark M, Kurtz E, Fast M. (2012). Spatio-temporal differences in immunophysiology of Atlantic sturgeon, Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus (Mitchill), and the relationship to parasitic copepod, Dichelesthium oblongum, (Abilgaard) infection. Journal of Fish Diseases 35(9): 649-660.
Levinton J, Doall M, Ralston D, Starke A, Allam B. (2011). Climate change, precipitation and the loss of an estuarine refuge. PLoS One 6(4): e18849.
Dahl S, Perrigault M, Liu Q, Collier JL, Barnes DA, Allam B. (2011). Effects of temperature on hard clam ( Mercenaria mercenaria ) immunity and QPX (Quahog parasite unknown) disease development: I. Dynamics of QPX disease. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 106: 314-321.
Perrigault M., Dahl S.F., Pales Espinosa E., Gambino L., Allam B. (2011). Effects of temperature on hard clam ( Mercenaria mercenaria ) immunity and QPX (Quahog parasite unknown) disease development: II. Defense parameters. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 106: 322-332.
Jing X, Pales Espinosa E, Perrigault M, Allam B. (2011). Identification, molecular characterization and expression analysis of a mucosal C-type lectin in the eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica . Fish and Shellfish Immunology 30: 851-858.
Pales Espinosa E, Perrigault M, Ward JE, Shumway S, Allam B. (2010). Lectin binding patterns of microalgae: role in particle selection in suspension feeding bivalves. Biological Bulletin 218: 75-86.
Dahl S, Thiel J., Allam B. (2010). QPX disease progress in cultured and wild type hard clams in New York waters. Journal of Shellfish Research 29(1): 83-90.
Perrigault M, Buggé DM., Allam B. (2010). Effect of environmental factors on survival and growth of quahog parasite unknown (QPX) in vitro. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 104: 83-89.
Pales Espinosa E, Perrigault M, Allam B. (2010). Identification and molecular characterization of a mucosal lectin (MeML) from Mytilus edulis and its potential role in particle capture. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 156: 495-501.
Pales Espinosa E, Hassan D, Ward JE, Shumway SE, Allam B. (2010). The blue mussel Mytilus edulis uses recognition molecules to select food particles. Biological Bulletin 219: 50-60.
Perrigault M, Buggé DM, Hao CC, Allam B. (2009). Modulatory effects of hard clam (Mercenaria mercenaria ) tissue extracts on the in vitro growth of its pathogen QPX. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 100: 1-8.
Bettencourt R, Dando P, Collins P, Costa V, Allam B, Serrão Santos R. (2009). Innate immunity in the deep sea hydrothermal vent mussel Bathymodiolus azoricus . Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A 152: 278-289.
Ford SE, Allam B, Xu Z. (2009). Using PCR and bivalve "particle collectors" to investigate the environmental distribution of Haplosporidium nelsoni, the agent of MSX disease in eastern oysters. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 83: 159-168.
Liu Q, Allam B. , Collier JL. (2009). A quantitative real-time PCR assay for QPX (Thraustochytridae), a parasite of the hard clam ( Mercenaria mercenaria ). Applied and Environmental Microbiology 75: 4913-4918.
Perrigault M, Allam B. (2009). Cytotoxicity of Quahog Parasite Unknown (QPX) toward hard clam ( Mercenaria mercenaria ) haemocytes and interactions between different pathogen isolates and host strains. Parasitology 136: 1281-1289.
Pales Espinosa, E., Perrigault, M., Ward, J.E., Shumway, S.E., Allam, B. (2009). Lectins associated with the feeding organs of the oyster Crassostrea virginica can mediate particle selection. Biological Bulletin 217: 130-141.
Perrigault M, Tanguy A, Allam B. (2009). Indentification and quantification of differentially expressed genes in the hard clam, Mercenaria mercenaria , in response to quahog parasite unknown (QPX). BMC Genomics 10: 377. doi:10.1186/1471-2164-10-377