Michael Kent, MS, PhD

Professor - Microbiology, Parasitology

Office: 541-737-8652

Nash Hall

Nash Hall 220

2820 SW Campus Way

2820 SW Campus Way
Corvallis, OR 97331

Profile Field Tabs

Affiliated with: 
Veterinary Medicine
OSU Main Campus
Research/Career Interests: 
  • Fish diseases
  • Parasitology
  • Pathogens of zebra fish and salmon

Presently the Kent lab is focusing on two major research areas; diseases of zebrafish in research facilities and impacts of pathogens on wild salmonid fishes. In both areas, we are focusing on the study of chronic infectious diseases. In the past decade there has been a dramatic increase in the use of zebrafish as a model in biomedical research. Underlying chronic diseases are of concern as they relate to non-protocol induced variation in laboratory fish, as they would with any laboratory animal. Microsporidosis (caused byPseudoloma neurophilia) and mycobacteriosis (caused by various species of Mycobacterium) are the diseases under investigation at this time. This work is supported by NIH NCRR.  Dr. Kent is also a co-PI at the Zebrafish International Resource Center, where he assists with health studies and their diagnostic service. We also have an on-line manual on zebrafish diseases.

We recently established the SPF (Specific Pathogen Free) zebrafish research colony here at OSU at the Sinnhuber Aquatic Resource Center in collaboration with Dr. Robyn Tanguay. This was supported by the NIEHS Environmental Health Sciences Center and NIH NCRR. Relating to our zebrafish studies, Drs. Kent and Tanguay oversee a T-32 training grant from NIH NCRR to provide research training to veterinarians with aquatic models.

Regarding salmonid fishes, we recently completed a multi-year study on the impacts of parasites on overwinter survival in coho salmon from the West Fork Smith River in Oregon. These fish are Endangered Species Act (ESA) listed as “threaten”. Work was supported by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. We are now investigating the role of multiple pathogen infections with prespawning Chinook salmon from the Willamette River in collaboration with Dr. Carl Schreck, OSU and Dr. Chris Claudill, University of Idaho, and through support of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Dr. Kent also investigates parasites of terrestrial animals. Recently we described spirurid nematodes in cougars in Oregon and modified a new diagnostic test for Haemonchus contortus, an important trichostongyle nematode of sheep, goats and camilds (See publications below).


Selected Publications: Visit PubMed for a complete list of Dr. Kent's publications.


Peterson, T.S., Spitsbergen, J.M., Feist, S.W., Kent, M.L. 2011. The Luna stain, an improved selective stain for detection of microsporidian spores in histologic sections. Dis. Aquat. Org. (in press).

Kent, M.L., Buchner, C., Watral, V.G., Sanders, J.L. LaDu, J., Peterson, T.S., Tanguay, R.L. 2011. Development and maintenance of a specific pathogen free (SPF) zebrafish research facility for Pseudoloma neurophilia.  Dis. Aquat. Org. (in press).

Sanders JL, Lawrence C, Nichols DK, Brubaker JF, Peterson TS, Murray KN, Kent ML. Pleistophora hyphessobryconis (Microsporidia) infecting zebrafish Danio rerio in research facilities. Dis Aquat Organ. 2010 Jul 26;91(1):47-56. PubMed PMID: 20853741.

Mansfield KG, Riley LK, Kent ML. Workshop summary: detection, impact, and control of specific pathogens in animal resource facilities. ILAR J. 2010;51(2):171-9. PubMed PMID: 20375440.

Cui Z, Samuel-Shaker D, Watral V, Kent ML. Attenuated Mycobacterium marinum protects zebrafish against mycobacteriosis. J Fish Dis. 2010 Apr;33(4):371-5. Epub 2009 Nov 12. PubMed PMID: 19912456.

Ramsay JM, Watral V, Schreck CB, Kent ML. Pseudoloma neurophilia infections in zebrafish Danio rerio: effects of stress on survival, growth, and reproduction. Dis Aquat Organ. 2009 Dec 22;88(1):69-84. PubMed PMID: 20183967.

Ramsay JM, Watral V, Schreck CB, Kent ML. Husbandry stress exacerbates mycobacterial infections in adult zebrafish, Danio rerio (Hamilton). J Fish Dis. 2009 Nov;32(11):931-41. Epub 2009 Jun 13. PubMed PMID: 19531062; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2765522.

Ramsay, J.M., Feist, G.W., Varga, Z.M., Westerfield, M., Kent, M.L., Schreck, C.B. 2009. Rapid cortisol response of zebrafish to acute net handling stress. Aquaculture 297: 157-162. Google Scholar

Kent ML, Feist SW, Harper C, Hoogstraten-Miller S, Law JM, Sánchez-Morgado JM, Tanguay RL, Sanders GE, Spitsbergen JM, Whipps CM. Recommendations for control of pathogens and infectious diseases in fish research facilities. Comp Biochem Physiol C Toxicol Pharmacol. 2009 Mar;149(2):240-8. Epub 2008 Aug 8. PubMed PMID: 18755294.

Whipps CM, Matthews JL, Kent ML. Distribution and genetic characterization of Mycobacterium chelonae in laboratory zebrafish Danio rerio. Dis Aquat Organ. 2008 Oct 16;82(1):45-54. PubMed PMID: 19062752; PubMed Central PMCID:PMC2751615.

Ostland VE, Watral V, Whipps CM, Austin FW, St-Hilaire S, Westerman ME, Kent ML. Biochemical, molecular, and virulence characteristics of select Mycobacterium marinum isolates in hybrid striped bass Morone chrysops x M. saxatilis and zebrafish Danio rerio. Dis Aquat Organ. 2008 Apr 1;79(2):107-18. PubMed PMID: 18500027.

Kent, M.L., J.W. Fournie. 2007. Parasites of Fishes. In: D.G. Baker (eds). Flynn’s parasites of laboratory animals. Blackwell Publ. pp. 69-117.

Ferguson JA, Watral V, Schwindt AR, Kent ML. Spores of two fish microsporidia (Pseudoloma neurophilia and Glugea anomala) are highly resistant to chlorine. Dis Aquat Organ. 2007 Jul 16;76(3):205-14. PubMed PMID: 17803106.

Whipps CM, Dougan ST, Kent ML. Mycobacterium haemophilum infections of zebrafish (Danio rerio) in research facilities.FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2007 May;270(1):21-6. Epub 2007 Feb 26. PubMed PMID: 17326751.

Watral V, Kent ML. Pathogenesis of Mycobacterium spp. in zebrafish (Danio rerio) from research facilities. Comp Biochem Physiol C Toxicol Pharmacol. 2007 Feb;145(1):55-60. Epub 2006 Jun 21. PubMed PMID: 16904945.

Whipps CM, Kent ML. Polymerase chain reaction detection of Pseudoloma neurophilia, a common microsporidian of zebrafish (Danio rerio) reared in research laboratories. J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci. 2006 Jan;45(1):36-9. PubMed PMID:16539333; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1435373.

Kent ML, Watral V, Wu M, Bermudez LE. In vivo and in vitro growth of Mycobacterium marinum at homoeothermic temperatures. FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2006 Apr;257(1):69-75. PubMed PMID: 16553834.

Kent ML, Whipps CM, Matthews JL, Florio D, Watral V, Bishop-Stewart JK, Poort M, Bermudez L. Mycobacteriosis in zebrafish (Danio rerio) research facilities. Comp Biochem Physiol C Toxicol Pharmacol. 2004 Jul;138(3):383-90. PubMed PMID:15533796.

Kent ML, Bishop-Stewart JK. Transmission and tissue distribution of Pseudoloma neurophilia (Microsporidia) of zebrafish, Danio rerio (Hamilton). J Fish Dis. 2003 Jul;26(7):423-6. PubMed PMID: 12946012.

Kent ML, Bishop-Stewart JK, Matthews JL, Spitsbergen JM. Pseudocapillaria tomentosa, a nematode pathogen, and associated neoplasms of zebrafish (Danio rerio) kept in research colonies. Comp Med. 2002 Aug;52(4):354-8. PubMed PMID: 12211280.

Matthews JL, Brown AM, Larison K, Bishop-Stewart JK, Rogers P, Kent ML. Pseudoloma neurophilia n. g., n. sp., a new microsporidium from the central nervous system of the zebrafish (Danio rerio). J Eukaryot Microbiol. 2001 Mar-Apr;48(2):227-33. PubMed PMID: 12095112.


Brown AM, Kent ML, Adamson ML. Description of five new Loma (Microsporidia) species in pacific fishes with redesignation of the type species Loma morhua Morrison & Sprague, 1981, based on morphological and molecular species-boundaries tests. J Eukaryot Microbiol. 2010 Nov-Dec;57(6):529-53. doi:10.1111/j.1550-7408.2010.00508.x. Epub 2010 Oct 7. PubMed PMID: 21040100.

Sanders JL, Lawrence C, Nichols DK, Brubaker JF, Peterson TS, Murray KN, Kent ML. Pleistophora hyphessobryconis (Microsporidia) infecting zebrafish Danio rerio in research facilities. Dis Aquat Organ. 2010 Jul 26;91(1):47-56. PubMed PMID: 20853741. 

Brown AM, Kent ML, Adamson ML. Low genetic variation in the salmon and trout parasite Loma salmonae (Microsporidia) supports marine transmission and clarifies species boundaries. Dis Aquat Organ. 2010 Jul 26;91(1):35-46. PubMed PMID:20853740.

Ferguson JA, Schreck CB, Chitwood R, Kent ML. Persistence of infection by metacercariae of Apophallus sp., Neascus sp., and Nanophyetus salmincola plus two myxozoans (Myxobolus insidiosus and Myxobolus fryeri) in coho salmon Oncorhynchus kisutch. J Parasitol. 2010 Apr;96(2):340-7. PubMed PMID: 19954261.

Ferguson JA, Atkinson SD, Whipps CM, Kent ML. Molecular and morphological analysis of Myxobolus spp. of salmonid fishes with the description of a new Myxobolus species. J Parasitol. 2008 Dec;94(6):1322-34. PubMed PMID: 19127969.

Schwindt AR, Fournie JW, Landers DH, Schreck CB, Kent ML. Mercury concentrations in salmonids from western U.S. National Parks and relationships with age and macrophage aggregates. Environ Sci Technol. 2008 Feb 15;42(4):1365-70. Erratum in: Environ Sci Technol. 2008 Apr 15;42(8):3118. PubMed PMID: 18351118.

Whipps CM, Butler WR, Pourahmad F, Watral VG, Kent ML. Molecular systematics support the revival of Mycobacterium salmoniphilum (ex Ross 1960) sp. nov., nom. rev., a species closely related to Mycobacterium chelonae. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 2007 Nov;57(Pt 11):2525-31. PubMed PMID: 17978213.

Whipps CM, Burton T, Watral VG, St-Hilaire S, Kent ML. Assessing the accuracy of a polymerase chain reaction test for Ichthyophonus hoferi in Yukon River Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha. Dis Aquat Organ. 2006 Jan 30;68(2):141-7. PubMed PMID: 16532605.

Schwindt AR, Truelove N, Schreck CB, Fournie JW, Landers DH, Kent ML. Quantitative evaluation of macrophage aggregates in brook trout Salvelinus fontinalis and rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss. Dis Aquat Organ. 2006 Jan
30;68(2):101-13. PubMed PMID: 16532602.

Kent, M.L., and T.T. Poppe. 1998. Diseases of seawater netpen-reared salmonids.  Pacific Biological Station Press, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada.  138 pp.

Terrestrial Parasites

Ferguson JA, Woodberry K, Gillin CM, Jackson DH, Sanders JL, Madigan W, Bildfell RJ, Kent ML. Cylicospirura species (Nematoda: Spirocercidae) and stomach nodules in cougars (Puma concolor) and bobcats (Lynx rufus) in Oregon. J Wildl Dis. 2011 Jan;47(1):140-53. PubMed PMID: 21270003.

Whipps CM, Boorom K, Bermudez LE, Kent ML. Molecular characterization of Blastocystis species in Oregon identifies multiple subtypes. Parasitol Res. 2010 Mar;106(4):827-32. Epub 2010 Feb 2. PubMed PMID: 20127113.


My Publications


Journal Article