Laboratory Mission Statement:
To discover and disseminate knowledge that enhances animal health; to prepare young scientists for careers in agriculture, biology and medicine; and to provide training in genomics and biotechnology.
From left to right: Frances Shepherd, Shaoynan Tan, Sizanne Stone, Kyra Martins, Dr. Michael Murtaugh, Cheryl Dvorak, Rachel Ceballos, Michael Rahe, Diem Gray
Our research program on molecular mechanisms of disease resistance focuses on the interaction of pigs with bacterial and, especially, viral pathogens. The approach emphasizes discovery science using molecular and cellular approaches; reagent development is essential in porcine immunology, and subsequent studies often yield novel insights.
The core technologies we use, including quantitative gene expression, proteomics, high throughput sequencing, mass spectrometry, recombinant protein expression, and immuno-cellular methods, are readily transported to other research models and questions, resulting in a history of collaboration with colleagues in veterinary medicine, human medicine, and biological sciences.
Areas in which we have made notable scientific contributions include:
(1) fundamental porcine immunobiology related to immune protection and immunomodulation,
(2) porcine anti-viral immunity, including lymphocyte memory and mechanisms of protection,
(3) molecular virology, evolution, and discovery science to elucidate viral origins and evolution as a means to understand genetic diversity and immunological challenges, and
(4) collaborative research with partners who value our experimental toolkit, purified antigen production, single gene and transcriptome quantitative analysis, mass spectrometry, immune cell functional assays, and a large animal immunology model, including a cholera toxin model of mucosal immunity, that have enabled collaborators in xenotransplantation, pharmacotoxicology, physiology, epidemiology and other disciplines unrelated to our primary interest in porcine immunity to infectious disease.