This semester MSRC welcomes the newest faculty member of the Marine Disease Pathology and Research Consortium Lab (MDPRC), Dr. Mark Fast. The MDPRC was established in 2000 to provide diagnostic service to the State of NY in the area of marine diseases, and serve as a center for research programs in marine diseases, Dr. Fast’s research interests include aquatic animal diseases and immunology and how these interact with the environment to affect fish populations.
Dr. Fast received his Ph.D. from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia where he studied host and parasite interactions using immunological methods. Specifically, he examined the relationship between parasitic copepods and salmon species. This research led to the development of an early stage vaccine that could eventually be used in salmon agriculture. Some of Dr. Fast’s other work includes examining the resistance of migrating juvenile Pacific salmon to parasites, which ma emanate from aquaculture farms.
“Mark brings an outstanding expertise in fin-fish diseases as well as remarkable knowledge in the field of gene expression in marine organisms in response to pathological stress. These skills will allow him to rapidly integrate investigations currently underway at the Marine Animal Disease Lab and to quickly develop cutting-edge research in a continuously growing field of science,” said Bassem Allam, MSRC faculty member.
Dr. Fast has been very involved with public education and outreach, and exemplifies MSRC’s goal of making scientific research count and turning data into information. With his involvement in the Pacific Salmon Forum, he presented workshops to community groups, environmental groups and government agencies. Dr. Fast also works on the continuing education committee for the Eastern Fish Health Workshop.
Since relocating to Long Island two weeks ago, Dr. Fast is settling into the center quickly. He is very enthusiastic about being part of MSRC and eager to identify collaborative research opportunities and start working with students. He explained, “I am very excited to be here and get the opportunity to work in such a unique marine environment as Long Island Sound. MSRC is a place that encourages multidisciplinary research, and allows you to work on different systems and projects, which can help give you a different point of view on your own work. Also, the people are great!”
Having grown up just north of Niagra Falls in Canada, Dr. Fast is very familiar with the New York area. He is a big sports fan, scuba diver, and is interested in learning to surf. He is also looking forward to catching a live Yankees game, since he grew up cheering them on.
For more information on Dr. Mark Fast visit http://www.msrc.sunysb.edu/people/fast.html