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Photo: Karen Shapiro

Karen Shapiro- BS, DVM, MPVM, PhD
Assistant Research Scientist
Pathology, Microbiology & Immunology

5303 VM3A
Davis, CA 95616


Research Focus

Areas of research interest include transport and fate of zoonotic pathogens in watersheds and coastal ecosystems; effects of landscape change and climate variability on disease transmission; impacts of water scarcity and impaired quality on human and animal population health, and food safety.

Topics of research projects include:

Zoonotic infectious diseases

Waterborne infectious diseases

Food safety

Wildlife population health

Human public health

Specialty Focus

Waterborne zoonoses


2011 MPVM Epidemiology, University of California, Davis, California
2009 PhD Comparative Pathology, University of California, Davis, California
2002 DVM Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, California
1997 BS Wildlife Conservation, University of California, Davis, California

Honors and Awards

2010 Oceans and Human Health Postdoctoral Fellowship
2008-2009 Floyd and Mary Schwall Dissertation Year Fellowship in Medical Research in Comparative Pathology
2008 International EcoHealth Forum Full Travel Scholarship
2008 Traum Microbiology Scholarship
2008 Walter Carr Award, Outstanding Student Paper, Northern California Parasitologists Annual Meeting
2008 Consortium for Women and Research Travel Award
2006-2009 School of Veterinary Medicine Graduate Student Support Scholarship
2005-2009 Graduate Group of Comparative Pathology Student Block Fund Scholarship


California Veterinary Medical Association, Boarded

Active Research Grants

Co-Principal Investigator, Roles of a marine host cycle and particle aggregation in transmission of zoonotic pathogens in coastal ecosystems, Patricia Conrad (Principal Investigator), National Science Foundation, Ecology of Infectious Disease

Co-Principal Investigator, Noroviruses in coastal waters: Implications for seafood cultivation and human health, Stefan Wuertz (Principal Investigator), California Sea Grant

Most Recent 10 Publications

  • Link Icon 2014 Shapiro K, VanWormer E, Aguilar B, Conrad PA. Surveillance for Toxoplasma gondii in California mussels (Mytilus californianus) reveals transmission of atypical genotypes from land to sea Environ Microbiol.,
  • Link Icon 2014 Karen Shapiro, Colin Krusor, Fernanda F. M. Mazzillo, Patricia A. Conrad, John L. Largier, Jonna A. K. Mazet, Mary W. Silver Aquatic polymers can drive pathogen transmission in coastal ecosystems Proceedings of the Royal Society B,
  • Link Icon 2014 Miles E. Daniels, Hogan J., Smith W. A., Los Huertos M., Oates S. C., Miller M. A., Hardin D., Shapiro K., Conrad P. A., Dominik C., and F. G. R. Watson. Estimating environmental conditions affecting protozoa pathogen removal in surface water wetland systems using a multi-scale model-based approach Science of the Total Environment,
  • Link Icon 2014 Verant, ML, d'Ozouville, N, Parker, PG, Shapiro, K, VanWormer, E, Deem, SL Attempted Detection of Toxoplasma gondii Oocysts in Environmental Waters Using a Simple Approach to Evaluate the Potential for Waterborne Transmission in the Gal├ípagos Islands, Ecuador. EcoHealth,
  • Link Icon 2013 Orlofsky, E, Gillor, O, Melli, A, Miller, W, Wuertz, S, Bernstein, N, Shapiro, K Simultaneous detection of Giardia lamblia and Cryptosporidium parvum (oo)cysts in soil using immunomagnetic separation and direct fluorescent antibody staining. Journal of microbiological methods,
  • Link Icon 2013 VanWormer, E, Fritz, H, Shapiro, K, Mazet, JA, Conrad, PA Molecules to modeling: Toxoplasma gondii oocysts at the human-animal-environment interface. Comparative immunology, microbiology and infectious diseases,
  • Link Icon 2013 Mazzillo, FF, Shapiro, K, Silver, MW A new pathogen transmission mechanism in the ocean: the case of sea otter exposure to the land-parasite Toxoplasma gondii. PloS one,
  • Link Icon 2013 Orlofsky E, Gillor O, Melli A, Miller WA, Wuertz S, Bernstein N, Shapiro K Simultaneous detection of Giardia lamblia and Cryptosporidium parvum (oo)cysts in soil using immunomagnetic separation and direct fluorescent antibody staining J Microbiol Meth,
  • Link Icon 2013 Hogan JN, Daniels ME, Watson FG, Oates SC, Miller MA, Conrad PA, Shapiro K, Hardin D, Dominik C, Melli A, Jessup DA, Miller WA Hydrologic and vegetative removal of Cryptosporidium parvum, Giardia lamblia, and Toxoplasma gondii surrogate microspheres in coastal wetlands Appl Environ Microbiol,
  • Link Icon 2013 Shapiro K, Miller WA, Silver MW, Odagiri M, Largier JL, Conrad PA, Mazet JAK Research commentary: Association of zoonotic pathogens with fresh, estuarine, and marine macroaggregates Microb Ecol,