Washington State University
United States of America
BS (Microbiology): University of Saskatchewan (2000) DVM: University of Saskatchewan (2004) MS (Immunogenetics): Washington State University (2009) PhD (Immunology and Infectious Disease): Washington State University (2013) Diplomate (Anatomic Pathology): American College of Veterinary Pathologists (2014)
My research interests are pathogen discovery, equine pathology, and infectious disease pathogenesis, with emphasis on understanding the host and pathogen factors that determine disease outcome. In my dual appointment as a diagnostic pathologist (Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory) and infectious disease researcher (Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology) I am well positioned to pursue these areas of applied and basic biomedical research. Most recently I have worked with the other members of the Equine Infectious Disease Research Program (EQUID) to investigate the cause of equine serum hepatitis and other forms of idiopathic hepatitis in the horse. Equine serum hepatitis (also known as Theiler’s disease) has been recognized for over 100 years as a leading cause of acute and often fatal liver disease in horses, but until recently the cause(s) were unknown. In our investigation horses that developed serum hepatitis were infected with two novel equine viruses, equine hepacivirus (EHCV) and equine pegivirus (EPgV). In subsequent pathogenesis studies we have defined the infection kinetics, tissue tropism and disease caused by these viruses. The association between equine serum hepatitis and infection with EHCV and/or pegivirus (EPgV and Theiler’s disease-associated virus) has provided the first clue to understanding and preventing this disease. The work of our group and others has also demonstrated interesting similarities between EHCV and the closely related human virus, hepatitis C virus (HCV). In addition, our research group is actively investigating the prevalence of EHCV/EPgV, natural disease association, host/pathogen factors that determine EHCV infection outcome (self-limiting vs. persistent infection), and EPgV virulence. The knowledge gained from this work will guide future studies focused on the prevention and/or treatment of serum hepatitis, and may help inform similar studies aimed at preventing HCV infection.