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Catherine Walsh

Senior Scientist & Program Manager

Marine Immunology Program

Today's Research for Tomorrow's Oceans


Dr. Walsh has studied the immune systems of marine vertebrate species, including the cartilaginous fishes (sharks, skates, and rays), marine mammals, and sea turtles, for more than 20 years. Current projects include research on cytotoxic factors produced by cultured shark immune cells, antimicrobial properties of epidermal mucus from stingrays, effects of harmful algal blooms on human health as well as on the health of wildlife species including the Florida manatee and sea turtles. Dr. Walsh has also served as Quality Assurance Officer for Mote Marine Laboratory since 2000. Mote is certified through the Florida Department of Health Environmental Laboratory Certification Program for certain environmental testing parameters. Dr. Walsh is also a registered patent agent through the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and initiated Mote’s patent program in 2002.


B.S. in Biology, Hope College

M.S. in Nutrition, Clemson University

Ph.D. in Nutrition, Clemson University

Additional Publications

Levin, M., Jasperse, L., Gebhard, E., Rousselet, E., Walsh, C. (2018). Lack of cross-reactivity of human and porcine reagents to quantify manatee (Trichechus manatus) cytokines. Vet. Immunol. Immunopathol., 203, 57-59. doi:10.1016/j.vetimm.2018.07.012

Luer, C., Walsh, C. (2018). Potential Human Health Applications from Marine Biomedical Research with Elasmobranch Fishes. Fishes, 3(4), 47. doi:10.3390/fishes3040047

Tarnecki, A.M., Rhody, N.R., Walsh, C.J. (2018). Health Characteristics and Blood Bacterial Assemblages of Healthy Captive Red Drum: Implications for Aquaculture and Fish Health Management. Journal of Aquatic Animal Health, 30(4), 339-353. doi:10.1002/aah.10047

Perrault JR, JR Schmid, CJ Walsh, JE Yordy, AD Tucker. 2014. Brevetoxin exposure, oxidative stress and plasma protein electrophoretic profiles in Kemp s ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys kempii) in southwest Flroida. Harmful Algae. In review.

Walsh CJ, CA Luer, JE Yordy, T Cantu, J Miedema, SR Leggett, B Leigh, P Adams, M Ciesla, C Bennett, AB Bodine. 2013. Epigonal conditioned media from bonnethead shark, Sphyrna tiburo, induces apoptosis in a T-cell leukemia cell line, Jurkat E6-1. Marine Drugs. 11(9):3224-3257; doi:10:3390/md11093224. Impact Factor: 3.978

Dorsey M, CJ Walsh, B Kirkpatrick, J Romeo, R Sanko, LE Fleming, JW Sleasman. Brevetoxin inhibits IL-8 production in the airways of asthmatics. Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. In review.

Fleming LE, B Kirkpatrick, LC Backer, CJ Walsh, K Nierenberg, J Clark, A Reich, J Hollenbeck, J Benson, YS Cheng, J Naar, R Pierce, AJ Bourdelais, WM Abraham, G Kirkpatrick, J Zaias, A Wanner, E Mendes, S Shalat, P Hoagland, W Stephan, S Watkins, T Clarke, DG Baden. 2011. Review of Florida Red Tide and Human Health Effects. Harmful Algae. 10(2):224-233.

Walsh CJ, SR Leggett, BJ Carter, C Colle. 2010. Effects of brevetoxin exposure on the immune system of loggerhead sea turtles. Aquatic Toxicol. 97:293-303. Walsh CJ, SR Leggett, MS Henry, PC Blum S Osborn, RH Pierce. 2009. Cellular metabolism of brevetoxin (PbTx-2) by a monocyte cell line (U-937). Toxicon 53(1):135-145.

Walsh CJ, SR Leggett, K Strohbehn, RH Pierce, JW Sleasman. 2008. Effects of in vitro brevetoxin exposure on apoptosis and cellular metabolism in a leukemic T cell line (Jurkat). Marine Drugs 6: 291-307.

Walsh CJ, JE Stuckey, H Cox, B Smith, C Funke, J Stott, C Colle, J Gaspard, CA Manire. 2007. Production of nitric oxide by peripheral blood mononuclear cells from the Florida manatee, Trichechus manatus latirostris. Vet Immunol Immunopathol 118(3-4):199-209.

Wyffels, JT, CA Luer, CJ Walsh, AB Bodine. 2007. In vivo exposure of clearnose skates, Raja eglanteria, to ionizing X-radiation: Acute effects on the peripheral blood, spleen, and epigonal and Leydig organs. Fish Shellfish Immunol 23(2):401-418.

Luer CA, CJ Walsh, AB Bodine, JT Wyffels. 2007. Normal embryonic development in the clearnose skate, Raja eglanteria, with experimental observations on artificial insemination. Environ Biol Fishes 80:239-255.

Walsh CJ, CA Luer, AB Bodine, CA Smith, HL Cox, DR Noyes, M Gasparetto. 2006. Elasmobranch immune cells as a source of novel tumor cell inhibitors: Implications for public health. Integrative Comp Biol 46(6):1072-1081.

Gelsleichter J, CJ Walsh, NJ Szabo, LEL Rasmussen. 2006. Organochlorine concentrations, reproductive physiology, and immune function in unique populations of freshwater Atlantic stingrays (Dasyatis sabina) From Florida s St. Johns River. Chemosphere 63:1506-1522.

Walsh CJ, JD Toranto, CT Gilliland, DR Noyes, AB Bodine, CA Luer. 2006. Nitric oxide production by nurse shark (Ginglymostoma cirratum) and clearnose skate (Raja eglanteria) peripheral blood leucocytes. Fish Shellfish Immunol 20:40-46. Walsh CJ, CA Luer, DR Noyes. 2005. Effects of environmental stressors on lymphocyte proliferation in the Florida manatee, Trichechus manatus latirostris. Vet Immunol Immunopathol 103(3-4):255-264.

Wyffels JT, CJ Walsh, C.A Luer, AB Bodine. 2005. In vivo exposure of clearnose skates, Raja eglanteria, to ionizing X-radiation: Acute effects on the thymus. Dev Comp Immunol 29(4):315-331. Anderson MK, AL Miracle, X Sun, CA Luer, CJ Walsh, EV Rothenberg, GW Litman. 2004. Evolutionary origins of lymphocytes: Ensembles of T-cell and B-cell transcriptional regulators in a cartilaginous fish. J Immunol 172:5851-5860.

Manire CA, CJ Walsh, HL Rhinehart, DE Colbert, DR Noyes, C.A Luer. 2003. Alterations in blood and urine parameters in Florida manatees, Trichechus manatus latirostris, from simulated conditions of release following rehabilitation. Zoo Biol 22(2):103-120.

Walsh CJ, CA Luer, JT Wyffels, AB Bodine. 2002. Dexamethasone-induced apoptosis in immune cells from peripheral circulation and lymphomyeloid tissues of juvenile clearnose skates, Raja eglanteria. Dev Comp Immunol 26(7):629-639. Bossart GD, RY Ewing, M Lowe, M Sweat, SJ Decker, CJ Walsh, SJ Ghim, AB Jenson. 2002. Viral papillomatosis in Florida manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris). Exptl Mol Pathol 72(1):37-48.

Miracle AL, MK Anderson, RT Litman, CJ Walsh, CA Luer, EV Rothenberg, GW Litman. 2001. Complex expression patterns of lymphocyte-specific genes during the development of cartilaginous fish implicate unique lymphoid tissues in generating an immune repertoire. Internat Immunol 13:567-580.

Walsh CJ, CA Luer. 1998. Comparative phagocytic and pinocytic activities of leucocytes from peripheral blood and lymphomyeloid tissues of the nurse shark (Ginglymostoma cirratum Bonaterre) and the clearnose skate (Raja eglanteria Bosc). Fish & Shellfish Immunol 8:197-215.

Luer CA, CJ Walsh, AB Bodine, JT Wyffels, TR Scott. 1995. The elasmobranch thymus: anatomical, histological, and preliminary functional characterization. J Exp Zool 273(4):342-354. Walsh CJ, AB Bodine, TR Scott. 1991. A co-mitogenic assay for assessing the effects of aflatoxin B1 on interleukin 1 production in bovine macrophages. Drug Dev Res 24(2):157 166.

Walsh CJ, RL Thomas, ME Kunkel. 1989. The use of metallic ultrafiltration membranes to assess calcium availability in vitro. Food Chem 32:307-317. Bodine AB, CA Luer, S Gangjee, CJ Walsh. 1989. In vitro metabolism of the pro-carcinogen aflatoxin B1 by liver preparations of the calf, nurse shark and clearnose skate. Comp Biochem Physiol 94C(2):447-453. Book Chapters

Walsh CJ, CA Luer. 2014. Leukocyte function in elasmobranch species: Phagocytosis, chemotaxis, and cytotoxicty. In: Immunobiology of Sharks. (S. Smith, R Sim eds.). In press.

Walsh CJ, CA Luer. 2014. In vitro culture of elasmobranch cells. In: Immunobiology of Sharks. (S. Smith, R Sim eds.). In press. Luer CA, CJ Walsh, AB Bodine. 2014. Sites of immune cell production in elasmobranch fishes: lymphomyeloid tissues and organs. In: Immunobiology of Sharks , (S Smith, R Sim, eds.). In press.

Luer CA, CJ Walsh, AB Bodine. 2012. Recent Advances in Elasmobranch Immunology. In: The Biology of Sharks and Their Relatives (J Carrier, M Heithaus, J Musick, eds) CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. 403-420.

Luer CA, CJ Walsh, AB Bodine. 2012. Sites of Immune Cell Production in Elasmobranch Fishes: Lymphomyeloid Tissues and Organs. In: Immunobiology of Sharks. (S. Smith, ed.). In review.

Luer CA, CJ Walsh, AB Bodine. 2004. The Immune System of Sharks, Skates, and Rays. In: The Biology of Sharks and Their Relatives. (J Carrier, J Musick, M Heithaus, eds.) CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. pp.369-395. 

Walsh CJ, CA Luer. 2004. Elasmobranch Hematology: Identification of Cell Types and Practical Applications. In: Elasmobranch Husbandry Manual: Proceedings of the First International Elasmobranch Husbandry Symposium, 2001. (M Smith, D Warmolts, D Thoney, R Hueter, eds.) Ohio Biological Survey, Columbus, OH, pp. 309-326.