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Photo: Patricia Pesavento

Patricia Pesavento- DVM, PhD
Associate Professor
Pathology, Microbiology & Immunology

5323 Vet Med 3A
Davis, CA 95616

+1 530 752 1166


Research Focus

The Pesavento laboratory is interested in diseases affecting intensively housed animals, and in particular we study shelter associated feline and canine diseases. The compounded vulnerability of shelter animals to disease includes host compromise (eg stress, nutrition), but also dense populations of animals provide a unique environment with a high prevalence of pathogens and intense variability in pathogen virulence. Our laboratory studies feline calicivirus as a model for pathogenesis of viral disease, virulence, and viral persistence. Caliciviruses infect most mammalian species, however feline calicivirus only causes disease in cats. Infection can result in acute disease, or cats can, either from initial infection or by chronic progression of the acute phase of disease, be asymptomatic and shed virus. We are focusing on the variability in viral virulence using a foundation of multiple natural isolates of FCV. Feline calicivirus has joined an ever growing cadre of pathogens that use cell-cell attachment proteins as receptors for cell attachment and entry. Junctional adhesion molecule-A is a receptor for feline calicivirus. We have postulated that viral-host interaction could disrupt cell-cell attachment, and that this could be the mechanism for causing disease.

A second laboratory focus, in collaboration with multiple pathologists and clinicians, is on viral discovery. Pathologists in particularly are poised to recognize whether tissue reaction to disease is unique, and this has led to date, via either metagenomics (in collaboration with Dr. Eric Delwart, UCSF) or traditional PCR methods to the characterization of 2 novel viruses (Kobu, Sappo) that were found in samples from an outbreak of canine diarrhea, an amdovirus (parvo-like) in a fox with systemic inflammation, and most recently a novel polyomavirus in the raccoon.

Specialty Focus

Anatomic Pathology


1994 PhD Cell and Molecular Biology, Harvard University, Department of Cellular and Developmental Biology,
2000 DVM , School of Veterinary Medicine, Davis, California


Diplomate American College of Veterinary Pathologists

Active Research Grants

Principal Investigator, Center for Companion Animal Health Faculty Grant, (Principal Investigator), Center for Companion Animal Health, UC Davis

Principal Investigator, ACVP/STP Coalition for Vet path Fellows, (Principal Investigator), American College of Vet Pathologist / Society of Toxicologic Pathology

Principal Investigator, Faculty Research Grant, (Principal Investigator), Center for Companion Animal Medicine

Most Recent 10 Publications

  • Link Icon 2011 Burns RE, Wagner DC, Leutenegger CM, Pesavento PA Histologic and molecular correlation in shelter cats with acute upper respiratory infection J Clin Microbiol,
  • Link Icon 2011 Pesavento PA, Stokol T, Liu H, van der List DA, Gaffney PM, Parker JS Distribution of the feline calicivirus receptor junctional adhesion molecule A in feline tissues Vet Pathol,
  • Link Icon 2011 Burns RE, Pesavento PA, McElliott VR, Ortega J, Affolter VK Glomus tumours in the skin and subcutis of three horses Vet Dermatol,
  • Link Icon 2010 Sykes JE, Marks SL, Mapes S, Schultz RM, Pollard RE, Tokarz D, Pesavento PP, Lindsay LA, Foley JE Salmon poisoning disease in dogs: 29 cases J Vet Intern Med,
  • Link Icon 2010 Kruger EF, Byrne BA, Pesavento P, Hurley KF, Lindsay LL, Sykes JE Relationship between clinical manifestations and pulsed-field gel profiles of Streptococcus canis isolates from dogs and cats Vet Microbiol,
  • Link Icon 2010 Chen CI, Clark DC, Pesavento P, Lerche NW, Luciw PA, Reisen WK, Brault AC Comparative pathogenesis of epidemic and enzootic Chikungunya viruses in a pregnant Rhesus macaque model Am J Trop Med Hyg,
  • Link Icon 2010 Gericota B, Aleman M, Kozikowski TA, Pesavento P, Bollen AW, Madigan JE, Higgins RJ A grade IV glioblastoma with an oligodendroglial component (GBM-O) in a horse J Comp Pathol,
  • Link Icon 2009 Pesavento P, Liu H, Ossiboff RJ, Stucker KM, Heymer A, Millon L, Wood J, van der List D, Parker JS Characterization of a continuous feline mammary epithelial cell line susceptible to feline epitheliotropic viruses J Virol Methods,
  • Link Icon 2008 Pesavento PA, Barr B, Riggs SM, Eigenheer AL, Pamma R, Walker RL Cutaneous pythiosis in a nestling white-faced ibis Vet Pathol,
  • Link Icon 2008 Berryessa NA, Marks SL, Pesavento PA, Krasnansky T, Yoshimoto SK, Johnson EG, Grooters AM Gastrointestinal pythiosis in 10 dogs from California J Vet Intern Med,

Most Recent 5 Book Chapters

2009 Pesavento P: Necropsy At The Animal Shelter; Necropsy Techniques, Lila Miller, Kate F. Hurley, (ed), Infectious Disease Management in Animal Shelters, Ames, Iowa. 107-121.

External Links

Pesavento Research Group