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Department of
Fish & Wildlife

College of Natural Resources

phone: (208) 885-6434

875 Perimeter Drive MS 1136
Moscow, ID 83844-1136
Kenneth Cain smiling for the camera

Kenneth Cain

Office: CNR 105D
Phone: (208) 885-7608
Email: kcain@uidaho.edu
Mailing Address: Department of Fish & Wildlife, University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 1136
Moscow, Idaho 83844-1136

College of Natural Resources
Department of Fish & Wildlife Sciences
Associate Director of the Aquaculture Research Institute

Campus Locations: Moscow
With UI Since 1999

  • Research/Focus Areas
    • Aquaculture Vaccine Development
    • Fish Health/Diseases
    • Fish Immunology/Pathology
    • Molecular Diagnostics
    • Proteomics
    • Aquaculture Development (new species)
  • Biography
    Ken Cain is a professor of Fisheries Science in the College of Natural Resources and associate director of the Aquaculture Research Institute on campus. He has an undergraduate degree and master’s degree in fish and wildlife (focusing on aquaculture) from Michigan State University. He has worked in both public and private sector fish hatcheries focused on producing trout and salmon as well as yellow perch for commercial (food fish) and/or conservation purposes.

    While working for the world’s largest rainbow trout hatchery (Clear Springs Foods, Inc.) in southern Idaho, he became interested in fish diseases and fish vaccine development. From there he began a doctorate program in 1994 in the Department of Animal Sciences at Washington State University where he completed his degree in Fish Immunology with a focus on vaccine development. He took a postdoctoral position at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, where he continued working in the area of fish vaccine research and development along with characterization of the immune system in fish. After approximately two years in Australia, he joined the University of Idaho as a faculty member in 1999.

    He has developed a strong research program that centers on key issues dealing with disease prevention though vaccine development, disease control through various methods, and diagnostics improvements related to the fisheries resource field (aquaculture and fish management). In addition, his work addresses important basic research questions on primitive immune system development in fish. During his tenure at the University of Idaho, Ken has authored or co-authored more than 40 scientific publications and has been a principal or co-principal investigator on more than $7 million of externally funded research grants to the University. He teaches a number of courses in the department of fish and wildlife, and his primary research projects focus on vaccination and/or disease control strategies for Flavobacterium psychrophilum, the causative agent of coldwater disease in trout and salmon. This has direct implications to commercial aquaculture and recovery of certain salmonid stocks. In addition, Ken has worked on key disease issues associated with recovery of white sturgeon in the Kootenai River system in Idaho and is currently developing conservation aquaculture techniques for burbot (a freshwater cod) in this system.
  • Selected Publications


    • Cain, K.D and Swan, C.M. 2010. Barrier Function and Immunology. “The Multifunctional Gut of Fish” Elsevier Inc., (Invited book chapter ), Fish physiology vol: 30, 112-134
    • Lindstrom, N.M., Call, D.R., House, M.L., Moffitt, C.M., and Cain, K.D. 2009. A quantitative enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and filtration-based fluorescent antibody test (FAT) as potential tools to screen broodstock for Flavobacterium psychrophilum infection. Journal of Aquatic Animal Health 21(1): 43-56
    • Plant, K.P., LaPatra, S.E., and Cain, K.D. Vaccination of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) with recombinant and DNA vaccines produced to Flavobacterium psychrophilum heat shock proteins 60 and 70. Journal of Fish Diseases 32(6): 521-534
    • Lloyd, S.J., Snekvik, K.R., St-Hilaire, S., LaPatra, S.E., Cain, K.D., and Call, D.R. 2008. Strawberry Disease lesions in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) are closely associated with a Rickettsia-like organism. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 82: 111-118
    • LaFrentz, B.R., LaPatra, S.E., Call, D.R., and Cain, K.D. 2008. Development and characterization of rifampicin resistant Flavobacterium psychrophilum strains and their potential as live attenuated vaccine candidates. Vaccine 26 (2008) 5582–5589
  • Outreach Projects
    • Article for Waterlines (published by the Western Regional Aquaculture Center), 2008, 2010
    • Presented research overview at Idaho Aquaculture Association annual meeting, 2008, 2010
  • Awards and Honors
    • Best Professional Poster presentation (Idaho Chapter AFS meeting), 2009
    • Outstanding Alumni Award, Swartz Creek High School, 2008
    • Certificate of Appreciation: As faculty mentor for UI McNair Scholarship program, 2008
    • Certificate of Appreciation: for Burbot conservation efforts, Kootenai Valley Resource Initiative, 2005
    • UI Award for Excellence in Teaching (Nominated, 2004)
    • UI alumni award for excellence in mentoring, 2001

     *For a complete list of publications, awards and outreach projects, please see Ken Cain's CV.

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