Congratulations to Maya Schlesinger, Class of 2022, who was recently awarded second place for her student poster at the annual conference of American College of Veterinary Pathologists. She completed a research project with the Students Training in Advanced Research (STAR) program last summer in Professor Patty Pesavento’s lab.
Schlesinger’s research focused on determining the prevalence, genetic relationship and disease association of Amdoparvoviruses in California skunks. Dr. Charles Alex, a graduate student in the Pesavento lab, has looked at this family of viruses in red pandas and other small carnivores over the past several years. For this study, they tested prevalence in spleens from 23 free-ranging skunks, submitted for routine necropsy. They detected skunk amdoparvovirus (SKAV) in 20 of those animals and concluded that this virus infects California skunks at a high prevalence (87%). They also determined that the version of SKAV impacting California skunks is genetically distinct from that impacting Canadian skunks and other carnivores.