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SVM Grad Joins Faculty, Investigates Pathogen Pollution

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Karen Shapiro, left, shown with faculty mentor Pat Conrad, completed her doctoral work related to the transmission of Toxoplasma gondii from freshwater ecosystems to the ocean. Heather Fritz, right, another PhD student in Conrad's lab, is also a faculty member.

Karen Shapiro, DVM 2002, PhD 2009, has joined the Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology as an Assistant Researcher in Waterborne Pathogens, effective April 1, 2012.

Originally from Israel, Shapiro obtained her DVM from UC Davis in 2002. She practiced small animal medicine for two years before returning to campus as a doctoral fellow in the Veterinary Graduate Assistance Program to pursue a doctorate in comparative pathology.

For her dissertation, Shapiro investigated the waterborne transmission of Toxoplasma gondii, completing her PhD in 2009. She also earned Master of Preventive Veterinary Medicine degree in 2011. Since 2009, Shapiro continued her research on the ecology of zoonotic pathogens in coastal ecosystems, as an "Oceans and Human Health" postdoctoral fellow at the Wildlife Health Center. 

Click here for information about Toxoplasma gondii transmission.

Her current research interests include transport and fate of zoonotic pathogens in watersheds and coastal ecosystems; the effects of landscape change on disease transmission; the impacts of water scarcity and impaired quality on human and animal population health; and food safety.

As co-PI on an NSF-Ecology of Infectious Disease grant, Karen promotes collaborative research between faculty in the School of Veterinary Medicine and those in oceanography, engineering, and hydrology. Shapiro is based at UC Davis, but is collaborating with oceanographers at the Bodega Marine Laboratory and UC Santa Cruz. She is also a co-PI on a USAID BARD grant, leading an international collaboration with the Ben Gurion University in Israel to investigate pathogen pollution in recycled wastewater used for crop irrigation.