Global Health/Projects

Patricia A. Conrad DVM, PhD

VM: Pathology, Microbiology & Immunology (see also: microbiology)

Dr. Conrad is the Associate Dean for Global Programs, focused on promoting and facilitating international student experience in research and veterinary medicine. She is happy to meet and discuss with students their interest in developing a STAR project outside of the United States and advise on how to connect with researchers/mentors both overseas and at UC Davis. Please contact Dr. Paulina Zielinska pmzielinska@ucdavis.edu, Director for the Global Programs office to arrange an appointment with Dr. Conrad.  Information about the Office and the International Student Externship Program is at http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/global-programs/.

SVM students can apply for funding for global research from both the STAR and Externship Program.

CURRENT RESEARCH FOCUS IN CONRAD LAB

Dr. Conrad is also a veterinary research parasitologist whose research focuses on single-celled protozoal parasites of animals (domestic and free-ranging wildlife) and humans, primarily those that infect the blood and/or neurologic tissues. She and her research collaborators have a major focus on protozoal parasites (Toxoplasma and Sarcocystis neurona) that infect marine mammals including sea otters and these parasites, as well as Giardia and Cryptosporium parasites that are shed in the feces of terrestrial animals, both wild and domestic. These links will help to illustrate Dr. Conrad's research emphases:

Please visit Dr. Conrad's website at: http://faculty.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/faculty/paconrad/

Christine Kreuder Johnson, VMD, PhD

One Health Institute

(See also: Epidemiology, Wildlife/Zoonoses)

Dr. Kreuder Johnson is a Professor of Epidemiology and Ecosystem Health in the School of Veterinary Medicine and Director of the EpiCenter for Disease Dynamics at the One Health Institute at UC Davis. Her research focuses on wildlife population health and the impact of ecological processes on species at risk and patterns of disease transmission in marine and terrestrial wild animal populations. Recent activities investigate zoonotic disease spillover dynamics, viral host shifts, further characterization of the animal-human interface, and epidemiologic patterns facilitating zoonotic disease transmission and spread. She provides epidemiologic support to federal and state agencies during unusual outbreak events and directs global surveillance activities for the Emerging Pandemic Threats PREDICT program.

 Contact info: ckjohnson@ucdavis.edu

Richard Levenson, MD, FCAP

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (see also: Oncology, Pathology/Virology)

BACKGROUND

Richard Levenson, MD, FCAP, is Professor and Vice Chair for Strategic Technologies in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, UC Davis. He trained in medicine at University of Michigan and pathology at Washington University, and is Board-certified in Anatomic Pathology. A faculty position at Duke was followed by an appointment at Carnegie Mellon University to explore multispectral imaging approaches for pathology and biology. In 1999, he joined Cambridge Research & Instrumentation (now part of PerkinElmer) to become VP of Research, and helped develop commercially successful multispectral microscopy systems and software for molecular pathology and diagnostics, multispectral and three-dimensional small-animal imaging systems, optical dynamic contrast techniques, and birefringence microscopy. He serves on NIH, NCI and NSF review panels, is section editor for Archives of Pathology, and is on the editorial boards of Laboratory Investigation. Current research includes mass-tagged enabled multiplexed immunohistochemistry, and novel slide-free microscopy.

MUSE MICROSCOPY

How microscopes work in actual clinical pathology has not changed materially in well over a century. Microscopy with Ultraviolet Surface Excitation. MUSE is a novel approach for obtaining high-resolution, diagnostic-quality histological images from unsectioned thick tissue specimens, avoiding the need to perform extensive tissue processing and thin physical sectioning. MUSE is notable for its optical and mechanical simplicity. Micron-deep images of the specimen surface are generated with 280-nm UV excitation provided by off-axis light-emitting diodes (LEDs).  Excitation with such short-wavelength UV light excites a wide range of exogenous dyes, and the resulting visible-band fluorescence images can be captured using ordinary microscopic optics and standard CMOS or CCD cameras. These multicolor fluorescence images have novel contrast but can also be converted to resemble conventional hematoxylin- and eosin-staining. A sample can be prepared for MUSE in around a minute. Extended fields of view can be captured from whole organs with microscopic detail. This non-destructive process leaves the sample intact for subsequent downstream molecular or genetic analysis. In addition, images can include shading and depth cues that reveal surface profiles important in understanding the three-dimensional organization of complex specimens. This inexpensive, rapid, and slide-free, sample-sparing method has potential to replace frozen sections, and may have other applications in both high- and low-resource settings.

EXAMPLES OF POSSIBLE PROJECTS:

1.            Survey a suite of familiar and unfamiliar fluorescent stains to learn what work best for either recapitulating standard hematoxylin-and-eosin stain appearance, or for staining new tissue components that are not easily detected just with H&E, like collagen, elastin, amyloid, PAS, etc.

2.            One of the things we have not yet been quite successful with is getting immunofluorescence to work with MUSE. The problem may be inadequate excitation light power (so we would need different sources), or alternatively, we need brighter labels. There are ways of approaching both these things, but this may be a more difficult project without guarantee of success. Still, it’s very important, and a lot would be learned along the way.

3.            Application to vet path cases would be very relevant, as MUSE can both provide intra-operative guidance, as well as point-of-care histology in veterinarian offices, which could be very helpful in decreasing the need for return visits and accelerating care.

Contact - levenson@ucdavis.edu

Jonna Mazet, DVM, MPVM, PhD

(See also: Epidemiology, Immunology/Infectious Disease, Non-Human Primate Medicine)

Jonna Mazet, DVM, MPVM, PhD, is a Professor of Epidemiology and Disease Ecology and Executive Director of the One Health Institute in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, where she focuses on global health problem solving, especially for emerging infectious disease and conservation challenges. Dr. Mazet is active in international One Health research programs, most notably in relation to disease transmission among wildlife, domestic animals, and people and the ecological drivers of disease emergence. Currently, she is the Global Director of a $175 million viral emergence early warning project, named PREDICT, that has been developed with the US Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Emerging Pandemic Threats Program. She was elected to the US National Academy of Medicine in 2013 in recognition of her successful and innovative approach to emerging environmental and global health threats.   

Contact info:  jkmazet@ucdavis.edu

Woutrina Smith, DVM, Ph.D.

Infectious disease epidemiology (see also: epidemiology and microbiology)

VM: Medicine & Epidemiology

Dr. Smith is an infectious disease epidemiologist with a special interest in One Health and the molecular epidemiology of zoonotic diseases. She works at local and global study sites where interactions among humans, animals and their environments lead to research questions that can be addressed using laboratory and fieldwork approaches to characterize and manage health at an inidividual, population, and ecosystem level. Her research involves zoonotic protozoa such as Cryptosporidium, Giardia, and Toxoplasma, as well as bacteria that include Mycobacterium, Salmonella, and Campylobacter.

Please visit Dr. Smith at: http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/faculty/results.cfm?fid=18101