Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Blake Ushijima

Postdoctoral Fellow

I began my research career studying coral diseases that affect reef-building corals in the Pacific and the pathogenic bacteria responsible for them. After graduate school, I worked on developing probiotics that could help the shellfish industry reduce economic losses from disease outbreaks or poor larval growth. Currently, I am investigating the stony coral tissue loss disease (SCTLD) outbreak that is devastating the Florida coral reef tract. Specifically, I am working on identifying the etiological agent(s) responsible for SCTLD as well as trying to develop probiotic treatments that can treat diseased corals or protect healthy corals held in captivity. Additionally, I help to care for the healthy coral colonies being housed at the Smithsonian Marine Station. Eventually, I would like to pursue a career in research and develop a research program focused on bacterial pathogens that infect marine invertebrates.

  • Ph.D. in Microbiology (University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa)
  • Bachelor of Science in Biology (University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa)
Research Interests

The molecular pathogenesis of bacteria that infect marine organisms and probiotics capable of treating or preventing disease.