José A. Fernández Robledo, PhD

Senior Research Scientist
Molecular Biologist
Phone: +1 (207) 315-2567, ext. 315

For media inquiries, please contact


Ph.D. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, CSIC, Spain

MS, Fish Pathology and Aquaculture

Licentiate, Molecular Biology

University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Research Interests

I am interested in a lot of things; I have experience in protozoan parasites of mollusks. My research aims to understanding the interaction between parasites and host. The system I have been using to study this interaction is Perkinsus marinus (‘Dermo’ disease) and Crassostrea virginica, the eastern oyster. Most of my scientific contribution has been on the side of the parasite where we have contributed to develop the genetic tools needed to make P. marinus a genetically traceable system. A spin off these projects is to use P. marinus to deliver antigens against pathogens of veterinarian and medical relevance (e.g., Malaria, SARS-CoV-2, VHSV). Prompted by limited intervention strategies to fight the spread of the Dermo, I am now exploring areas on the oyster side. With the genome of the oyster available and our recent achievement on transfection of the oyster hemocytes, I am interested in creating cell lines of oysters as a way to complete the circle for the study host-parasite interactions but also for exploring cellular aquaculture. I am also interested on using genetically engineering microalgae for ameliorating environmental problems and for producing food products. I am also looking for collaborations for bringing together AI to cell biology.



  • Tracy AN, Yadavalli R, Reed KS, Parnaik R, Poulton NJ, Bishop-Bailey D, Fernández Robledo JA: Genome to phenome tools: In vivo and in vitro transfection of Crassostrea virginica hemocytes. 2020. Fish Shellfish Immunol, 103: 438-441.
  • Yadavalli, R, Umeda, K, Fernández Robledo JA. Perkinsus marinus. 2020. Trends in Parasitology. 9 (4): 256
  • Marquis ND, Bishop* TJ, Record NR, Countway PD, Fernández Robledo JA. A qPCR-Based Survey of Haplosporidium nelsoni and Perkinsus spp. in the Eastern Oyster, Crassostrea virginica in Maine, USA. 2020. Pathogens. 9 (4): 256; doi: 10.3390/pathogens9040256
  • Genetic tool development in marine protists: Emerging model organisms for evolutionary cell biology. Drahomíra Faktorová, R. Ellen R. Nisbet., José A. Fernández Robledo., Elena Casacuberta., Andrew E. Allen, Manuel Ares Jr., Cristina Aresté, Cecilia Balestreri, Adrian C. Barbrook, Sara Bender, David S. Booth, François-Yves Bouget, Susana Breglia, Anita Broellochs, Colin Brownlee, Gertraud Burger, Heriberto Cerutti, Rachele Cesaroni, Miguel A. Chiurillo, Thomas Clemente, Duncan B. Coles, Jackie Collier, Liz Cooney, Kathryn Coyne, Roberto Docampo, Christopher L. Dupont, Virginia Edgcomb, Pía Elustondo, Fernan Federici, Veronica Freire-Beneitez,, Nastasia J. Freyria, Kodai Fukuda, Paulo A. García, Peter R. Girguis, Fatma Gomaa, Sebastian Gornik, Vladimír Hampl, Yutaka Hanawa, Ronie Haro, Elisabeth Hehenberger, Andrea Highfield, Yoshihisa Hirakawa, Amanda Hopes, Christopher J. Howe, Ian Hu, Jorge Ibañez, Nicholas A.T. Irwin, Yuu Ishii, Natalia Ewa Janowitz, Adam Jones, Ambar Kachale, Konomi Fujimura-Kamada, Binnypreet Kaur, Jonathan Z. Kaye, Eleanna Kazana,, Patrick J. Keeling, Nicole King, Lawrence A. Klobutcher, Noelia Lander, Imen Lassadi, Zhuhong Li, Senjie Lin, Jean-Claude Lozano, Shinichiro Maruyama, Tamara Matute, Cristina Miceli, Jun Minagawa,, Thomas Mock, Sebastián Najle, Deepak Nanjappa, Isabel C. Nimmo, Luke Noble,**, Anna M.G. Novák Vanclová, Mariusz Nowacki, Isaac Nuñez, Arnab Pain, Angela Piersanti, Sandra Pucciarelli, Jan Pyrih,,, Joshua Rest, Mariana Rius, Deborah Robertson, Aldane Ruaud, Iñaki Ruiz-Trillo,, Monika A. Sigg, Pamela A. Silver,, Claudio Slamovits, Estienne Swart,&, G. Jason Smith, Brittany Sprecher, Rowena Stern, Lisa Sudek, Lenny Teytelman, Anastasios Tsaousis,, Lev Tsypin,, Aaron Turkewitz, Jernej Turnšek,,,, Matúš Valach, Valérie Vergé, Peter von Dassow, Tobias von der Haar, Ross Waller, Lu Wang, Xiaoxue Wen, Glen Wheeler, April Woods, Huan Zhang, Alexandra Z. Worden & Julius Lukeš. Nature Methods. 2020. 17(5):551.


  • Marquis ND, Bishop* TJ, Record NR, Countway PD, Fernández Robledo JA. Molecular epizootiology of Toxoplasma gondii and Cryptosporidium parvum in the eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) from Maine (USA). 2019. Pathogens. 8, 125; doi:10.3390/pathogens8030125


  • José A. Fernández Robledo, Raghavendra Yadavalli, Bassem Allam, Emmanuelle Pales-Espinosa, Marco Gerdol, Samuele Greco, Rebecca J. Stevick, Marta Gómez-Chiarri, Ying Zhang, Cynthia A. Heil, Adrienne N. Tracy, David Bishop-Bailey, Michael J. Metzger. 2018. From the raw bar to the bench: Bivalves as models for human health. Developmental & Comparative Immunology. 92: 260-282.
  • Fernández Robledo José A., Nicholas D. Marquis, Peter D. Countway, Nicholas R. Record, Ellie L. Irish, Madeline M. Schuldt, Sarah E. Kingston, Theodore J. Bishop, Nicole A. Messerman, Timothy J. Bowden. 2018. Pathogens of bivalve mollusks in Maine (USA): A historical perspective. Aquaculture. 493: 9-17.


  • Cold, ER, Vasta GR, Fernández-Robledo JA. 2017. Transient expression of Plasmodium berghei MSP8 and HAP2 in the marine protozoan parasite Perkinsus marinus. Journal of Parasitology. 103(1): 118-122.


  • Van Voorhis, W, … Alemán Resto, Y, Fernández Robledo JA et al. Open-source drug discovery with the Malaria Box compound collection for neglected diseases and beyond. 2016. PLoS Pathogens. 12(7): e1005763
  • Cold, ER, Freyria, NJ, Martínez Martínez, J, Fernández Robledo JA An agar- based method for plating marine protozoan parasites of the genus Perkinsus. 2016 PLoS One.


  • Cunningham, C., Fernández-Robledo, JA. 2015. Molluscan Immunology. Fish and Shellfish Immunology. 05/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.fsi.2015.05.015
  • Marquis, ND, Record, NR, Fernández-Robledo, JA. 2015. Survey for protozoan parasites in eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica) from the Gulf of Maine using PCR-based assays. Parasitology International. 64(5): 299-302


  • Alemán Resto, Y, Fernández Robledo JA 2014. Identification of MMV Malaria Box inhibitors of Perkinsus marinus using an ATP-based bioluminescence assay. PLoS One 9(10): e111051
  • Fernández-Robledo, JA, Vasta, GR, Record, NN. 2014. Protozoan parasites of bivalve molluscs: literature follows culture. PLoS One. 9(6): e100872
  • Wathsala Wijayalath, Sai Majji, Yuliya Kleschenko, Teodor D. Brumeanu, Eileen Franke Villasante, Gerardo R. Vasta, José-Antonio Fernández-Robledo, and Sofia Casares 2014. Humanized HLA-DR4 mice fed with the protozoan pathogen of oysters Perkinsus marinus (Dermo) do not develop noticeable pathology but elicit systemic immunity. PLoS One. 9 (1): e87435


  • Shridhar, S, Hassan, K, Sullivan, DJ, Vasta, GR, Fernández Robledo, JA. In press. Quantitative assessment of the proliferation of the protozoan parasite Perkinsus marinus using a bioluminescence assay for ATP content. Int J Parasitol: Drug Drug Resistance.


  • Vasta, GR. Ahmed, H, Bianchet, MA, Fernández-Robledo, JA, Amzel, LM. 2012. Diversity in recognition of glycans by F-type lectins and galectins: Molecular, structural, and biophysical aspects. Annuals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1253, E14-26
  • Vasta, GR. Ahmed, H, Lazar, MN, Banerjee, A, Pasek, M, Shridhar, S, Guha, P, Fernández-Robledo, JA. 2012. Galectins as self/non-self recognition receptors in innate and adaptive immunity: An unresolved paradox. Frontiers in Immunology, 3: 199


  • Fernández-Robledo, JA, Matsuzaki, M, Caler, Keeling, PJ, Roos, DS, Vasta, GR. 2011. The search for the missing link: a relic plastid in Perkinsus? International Journal for Parasitology. 41(12): 1217-1229
  • Lin, Z, Fernández-Robledo, JA, Cellier, MFM, Vasta, GR. 2011. The natural resistance-associated macrophage protein from the protozoan parasite Perkinsus marinus mediates iron uptake. Biochemistry,120(2): 257-268


  • Fernández-Robledo JA, Vasta GR. 2010. Production of recombinant proteins from protozoan parasites. Trends in Parasitology, 26(5): 244-254
  • Joseph SJ*, Fernández-Robledo JA*, Gardner MJ, El-Sayed NM, Kuo C-H, Schott EJ, Wang, H, Kissinger JC, Vasta, G.R. 2010. The Alveolate Perkinsus marinus: Biological insights from EST gene discovery. BMC Genomics. 11: 228 * Contributed equally


  • Lin, Z, Fernández-Robledo, JA, Cellier, MFM, Vasta, GR. 2009. Metals and membrane metal transporters in biological systems: The role(s) of Nramp in host-parasite interactions. Journal of the Argentinean Society of Chemistry. 97: 210-25
  • Alavi, MR, Fernández-Robledo, JA, Vasta, GR. 2009. In vitro Intracellular survival of Perkinsus marinus trophozoites upon phagocytosis by oyster (Crassostrea virginica and Crassostrea ariakensis) hemocytes. Journal of Parasitology. 95: 900-7


  • Fernández-Robledo JA, Lin Z, Vasta GR. 2008. Transfection of the protozoan parasite Perkinsus marinus. Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology 157: 44-53
  • Fernández-Robledo JA, Schott EJ, Vasta GR. 2008. Perkinsus marinus superoxide dismutase 2 (PmSOD2) localizes to single-membrane subcellular compartments. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 375: 215-9.
  • Pecher W, Alavi M, Schott E, Fernández-Robledo JA, Roth L, Berg S, et al. 2008. Assessment of the northern distribution range of selected Perkinsus species in eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica) and hard clams (Mercenaria mercenaria) using PCR-based detection assays. Journal of Parasitology 94: 410–22
  • Schott EJ, Fernández-Robledo JA, Alavi MR, Vasta GR. 2008. Susceptibility of Crassostrea ariakensis (Fujita 1913) to Bonamia and Perkinsus spp. infections: potential for disease transmission between oyster species. Journal of Shellfish Research: 541–9

Prior to 2007

  • Pecher WT, Robledo JAF, Vasta GR. 2004. Identification of a second rRNA gene unit in the Perkinsus andrewsi genome. Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology 51: 234-45
  • Robledo JAF, Courville P, Cellier MF, Vasta GR. 2004. Gene organization and expression of the divalent cation transporter Nramp in the protistan parasite Perkinsus marinus. Journal of Parasitology 90: 1004-14
  • Schott EJ, Robledo JAF, Wright AC, Silva AM, Vasta GR. 2003. Gene organization and homology modeling of two iron superoxide dismutases of the early branching protist Perkinsus marinus. Gene 309: 1-9
  • Quesenberry M, Saito K, Krupatkina D, Robledo JAF, Drgon T, Pecher W, et al. 2002. Bioassay for ichthyocidal activity of Pfiesteria piscicida: Characterization of a culture flask assay format. Journal of Applied Phycology 14: 241-54
  • Robledo JAF, Nunes PA, Cancela ML, Vasta GR. 2002. Development of an in vitro clonal culture and characterization of the rRNA gene cluster of Perkinsus atlanticus, a protistan parasite of the clam Tapes decussatus. Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology 49: 414-22
  • Saito K, Drgon T, Robledo JAF, Krupatkina DN, Vasta GR. 2002. Characterization of the rRNA Locus of Pfiesteria piscicida and Development of Standard and Quantitative PCR-Based Detection Assays Targeted to the Nontranscribed Spacer. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 68: 5394-407
  • Coss CA, Robledo JAF, Ruiz GM, Vasta GR. 2001a. Description of Perkinsus andrewsi n. sp. Isolated from the Baltic clam (Macoma balthica) by Characterization of the Ribosomal RNA Locus, and Development of a Species-Specific PCR-Based Diagnostic Assay. Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology 48: 52-61
  • Coss CA, Robledo JAF, Vasta GR. 2001b. Fine structure of clonally propagated in vitro life stages of a Perkinsus sp. isolated from the Baltic clam Macoma balthica. Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology 48: 38-51
  • Robledo JAF, Coss CA, Vasta GR. 2000a. Characterization of the ribosomal RNA locus of Perkinsus atlanticus and development of a polymerase chain reaction-based diagnostic assay. Journal of Parasitology 86: 972-8.
  • Robledo JAF, Wright AC, Marsh AG, Vasta GR. 1999. Nucleotide sequence variability in the nontranscribed spacer of the rRNA locus in the oyster parasite Perkinsus marinus. Journal of Parasitology 85: 650-6
  • Robledo JAF, Gauthier JD, Coss CA, Wright AC, Vasta GR. 1998. Species-specificity and sensitivity of a PCR-based assay for Perkinsus marinus in the eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica: a comparison with the fluid thioglycollate assay. Journal of Parasitology 84: 1237-44

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