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It Takes a (Multi-disciplinary) Village


Investigating and developing approaches for controlling complex zoonotic diseases often requires researchers to look beyond their own laboratories and develop collaborative relationships with others having complementary interests and expertise. The Allen School faculty is involved in multiple, productive collaborations with one another as well as with colleagues in other departments in the College of Veterinary Medicine, with researchers in other colleges at WSU, and with researchers at other institutions in the US and abroad.

Dr. Hector Aguilar-Carreño, based in the Allen School, and Dr. Anthony Nicola, based in CVM’s Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology, for example, have collaborated on NIH-funded projects “Mechanisms of Nipah virus fusion and entry” (Aguilar-Carreño, PI) and “Conformational change in HSV glycoprotein B” (Nicola, PI). Both virologists, Drs. Aguilar-Carreño and Nicola have found a synergy in their research that has led to multiple co-authored papers in Journal of Virology and PLoS Pathogens. Dr. Aguilar-Carreño, who is also an affiliate faculty member in the School of Molecular Biosciences at WSU, believes that a combination of multidisciplinary approaches will lead to antiviral and vaccine strategies that may be applicable beyond the zoonotic viruses he studies.


Dr. Hector Aguilar-Carreno studies the steps involved in Nipah virus entry into cells. This work holds promise for identifying new targets for development of antiviral therapeutics.


Dairy farms are among the settings for research being conducted by SGAH and other CVM faculty members to improve understanding of the emergence and dissemination of antibiotic resistance in E. coli and other bacterial pathogens.

Other collaborations within CVM include the work of Allen School faculty members Dr. Margaret Davis and Dr. Doug Call with Drs. Bill Sischo of Veterinary Clinical Sciences and Tom Besser of VMP, including the project “Integrating biology, psychology, and ecology to mitigate antibiotic resistance in food animal production systems” recently funded by the USDA (Sischo, PI) and pending USDA and NSF proposals led by Dr. Davis on the epidemiology of antibiotic resistance. 

Some research questions being addressed necessitate approaches and techniques outside of the biological sciences. Both Dr. Call and Dr. Davis have established partnerships with colleagues in WSU’s Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, including Drs. Shira Broschat and Sandip Roy of the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Dr. Haluk Beyenal of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering. Collaborations between Dr. Call and Dr. Broschat have included development of novel bioinformatics tools for analysis and design of plasmid microarrays and a current project to develop a technique for predicting the function of uncharacterized proteins. The joint work of Dr. Call and Dr. Beyenal has focused on understanding biofilm interaction with wounds in the presence of hyperosmotic agents. Drs. Davis and Roy have proposed work together to model antibiotic resistant trait dissemination at multiple scales, from local hospitals and farms to regional sub-populations, in an effort to allow prediction and control of future emergence and dissemination events. 


Other multi-disciplinary projects of the Allen School involve researchers in the social and economic sciences. Dr. Call’s NSF-funded project “Ecological and socio-economic factors impacting maintenance and dissemination of antibiotic resistance in the greater Serengeti ecosystem,” includes WSU Department of Anthropology professors Drs. Marsha Quinlan and Rob Quinlan, as well as investigators from the University of Glasgow’s School of Geographical and Earth Sciences and Department of Epidemiology and Population Ecology, among others.

Allen School faculty member Dr. Felix Lankester and affiliated member Dr. Jon Yoder of WSU’s School of Economic Sciences, are involved on the  international, multidisciplinary project “Social, economic and environmental drivers of zoonoses in Tanzania,” led by Sarah Cleaveland of the University of Glasgow. The project will examine and assess the drivers, risks and impacts of zoonotic diseases affecting cattle, sheep and goats, and impacting people’s health, livelihoods and poverty, in northern Tanzania.

The Allen School also has active cross-institutional collaborations closer to home. Dr. Anders Omsland is working with Dr. Scott Grieshaber of the University of Idaho’s Department of Biological Sciences on “The role of chromatic structure and energy metabolism in early C. trachomatis gene expression,” funded by the NIH.  Drs.Jennifer Zambriski, Terry McElwain and Doug Call are engaged in several collaborative efforts with University of Washington School of Medicine and School of Public Health faculty members Dr. Wes Van Voorhis, Dr. Judd Walson, and Dr. Peter Rabinowitz, including projects funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.



Dr. Rob Quinlan, Associate Professor of Anthropology, interviews Il Simanjiro Maasai tribesmen about livestock management and environmental risk in northern Tanzania.


Research News


New Research and Training Grants:


Dr. Jennifer Zambriski has been awarded $291,000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to investigate the "Pharmacokinetics, Efficacy, and Synergism of Nitazoxanide and Azithromycin in the Treatment of Cryptosporidiosis". Information garnered from this research aims to inform dosing protocols for future clinical trials to be conducted by the foundation in human pediatric populations in resource-poor countries.



Congratulations to faculty, staff and students on recent publications:


Bode L, McGuire M, Rodriguez JM, Geddes DT, Hassioutou F, Hartmann PE, McGuire MK. (2014) It’s alive: Microbes and cells in human milk and their potential benefits to mother and infant.Adv Nutr, 5:571-573. doi: 10.3945/​an.114.006643

Celli J, Tsolis RM. (2015) Bacteria, the endoplasmic reticulum and the unfolded protein response: friends or foes?Nat Rev Microbiol., 13(2):71-82. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro3393. Epub 2014 Dec 15.

Domer MC, Beerman, KA, McGuire, MA, Dasgupta N, Reeves J, Ahmadzadeh A, McGuire MK. (2015) Loss of body fat and higher milk fat in early lactation are associated with shorter duration of postpartum anovulation in women. J Hum Lact Jan 16. pii: 0890334414565794. [Epub ahead of print]

Lankester F, Lugelo A, Kazwala R, Keyyu J, Cleaveland S, Yoder J. (2015) The economic impact of malignant catarrhal fever on pastoralist livelihoods. PLoS One, 10(1): e0116059. doi:10.1371/journal. pone.0116059

McGuire MK, McGuire MA. (2015) Human milk: Mother Nature’s prototypical probiotic food?Adv Nutr, 6:112-123. doi: 10.3945/​an.114.007435

McGuire S. (2014) Reports from the Agencies: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. State indicator report on physical activity, 2014. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, 2014.Adv Nutr, 5(6):762-763.

McGuire S. (2014) Reports from the Agencies: Institute of Medicine. 2014. Caffeine in food and dietary supplements: examining safety: workshop summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. Adv Nutr, 5(5):585-586.

Mikota K, Gairhe K, Giri K, Hamilton K, Miller M, Paudel S, Lyashchenko K, Larsen R, Payeur J, Waters WR,  Greenwald R,  Dumonceaux G, Vincent B, and Kaufman GE. (2015) Tuberculosis Surveillance of Elephants (Elephas maximus) in Nepal at the captive-wild interface. European Journal of Wildlife Research, January 2015, doi: 10.1007/s10344-014-0890-4.

Viana M, Cleaveland S, Matthiopoulos J, Halliday J, Packer C, Craft ME, . . . Lankester F, . . . Lembo T. (2015) Dynamics of a morbillivirus at the domestic – wildlife interface: Canine distemper virus in domestic dogs and lions. PNAS, 112(5):1464-1469. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1411623112. See related piece under Faculty News.    



Student and Fellow News

Jake Elder and Kim Chiok, graduate students in the lab of Dr. Devendra Shah, attended the Conference of Research Workers in Animal Diseases (CRWAD) held in Chicago December 7-9, 2014. Jake received the 2014 Lynn Joens Memorial Award (first place for oral presentation) in the Pathobiology of Enteric and Food-borne pathogens section for his paper “Identification and characterization of immune-modulatory CpG motifs of Salmonella,“ co-authored by Dr. Shah. This award is given by the NC1202 Enteric Diseases Research Committee.

Kim Chiok alsogave an oral presentation in the Pathobiology of Enteric and Food-borne pathogens section, titled “Transcriptional profiling of Salmonella Enteritidis strains identifies genes consistently highly expressed in biologically relevant microenvironments,” co-authored by Dr. Shah.

Dr. Devendra Shah





Faculty and Staff News

Dr. Felix Lankester
and colleagues have received media attention for their research on the spread of canine distemper in Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. See, for example, this report, Carnivores Spread Distemper to Lions, published by the Voice of America. 

Shira Broschat has received a Women of Color Empowered Award for Women in Male-Dominated Careers, presented on Feb. 6th in Seattle. The award, also presented to 13 other women from the area, “is sponsored and supported by the Asian Weekly and Chinese Post newspapers.  Women of Color Empowered enhances quality of life for women of all races and backgrounds.  Its positive programs help women develop their self-improvement skills, enhance their networking skills, learn the value of diversity, build cross-cultural bridges, support each other, learn from one another, and give back to the community.  It celebrates the achievements of the women in both non-traditional and traditional jobs.”

Drs. Guy Palmer and Doug Call met with colleagues from NMAIST, Penn State University, the University of Glasgow and the University of Edinburgh/Scottish Rural College to plan implementation of a new PhD training program.  The program, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as part of the Program to Enhance the Health and Productivity of Livestock, brings together students from the five universities to conduct laboratory and field research in Tanzania.   

Jennifer Cundiff has been hired as a scientific assistant/lab manager working for Drs. Leigh Knodler and Jean Celli. Jennifer started her new position on February 2nd.

Dr. Devendra Shah attended the Conference of Research Workers in Animal Diseases (CRWAD) in Chicago, December 7-9,2014. Dr. Shah was invited to moderate a session on bacterial pathogenesis and also to serve as a judge for student poster presentation competition in Pathobiology of Enteric and Food-borne pathogens section. Dr. Shah’s presentations at the meeting included a paper titled “Most Prevalent Poultry-associated Salmonella sero Types (MPPSTs) differ in their susceptibility to widely used carcass sanitizer, chlorine” (co-authored with NC Paul) and two posters:  

Paul NC, Al-Adwani S, Shah DH. Evaluation of passive immunotherapeutic efficacy of hyperimmunized egg-yolk powder against intestinal colonization of Campylobacter jejuni in chickens.

Paul NC, Crespo R, Guard J, Shah DH. Biofilm formation and antibiotic resistance among Most Prevalent Poultry-associated Salmonella sero Types (MPPSTs) isolated from US poultry. 

Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health

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