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Photo of Dr. Nicola Mason interviewed by Anderson Cooper

Penn Vet’s Dr. Nicola “Nicky” Mason Appears on 60 Minutes

The interview highlighted Dr. Mason’s role in leading clinical trials that evaluated a novel Listeria-based vaccine to treat pet dogs with osteosarcoma, a common canine bone cancer.

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NIH-funded canine immunotherapy data center charts a path toward transformative therapies

With support recently for five more years, Nicola Mason of the School of Veterinary Medicine and Qi Long of the Perelman School of Medicine hope their work leads to new insights in cancer care for people as well as pets.

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Igor Brodsky, PhD, Named Inaugural Robert R. Marshak Professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine

Dean Andrew M. Hoffman has named Dr. Igor Brodsky, an internationally recognized microbiologist, the inaugural Robert R. Marshak Professor.

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The University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine Announces Infectious and Zoonotic Disease Pilot Awards

Awards represent the Institute for Infectious and Zoonotic Diseases’ long-term vision of supporting research that advances understanding of infectious diseases.

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The Institute for Infectious and Zoonotic Diseases at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine to Fund Postdoctoral Fellowship

The postdoctoral fellowship will support scientists conducting research related to the biology of infectious disease.

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In the Galápagos, training community scientists to monitor water quality

Both dense human populations and a plethora of wildlife can pose a challenge to marine and public health in the Galápagos Islands. With portable, user-friendly PCR technology, Penn faculty and students are training local scientists and school children to perform water quality research.

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Regulating the regulators of the immune system

Research led by Penn Vet scientists reveals a new layer of complexity with which the immune system finds a balance between controlling pathogens and protecting healthy tissue.

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Revising the lifecycle of an important human parasite

Researchers from Dr. Boris Striepen’s lab tracked Cryptosporidium in real time, creating a new paradigm for how the widespread parasite reproduces in a host.

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Stopping Disease Transmission at the Source

Dr. Michael Povelones considers how the chain of disease transmission could be halted before a pathogen ever leaves the mosquito vector.

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Igor Brodsky, PhD, Named Chair of the Department of Pathobiology at Penn Vet

Igor Brodsky, AB, PhD, has been appointed Chair of the Department of Pathobiology at Penn Vet effective October 1, 2021.

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Tracking the earliest steps in parasite infection

The parasite Cryptosporidium, a leading global cause of diarrheal diseases in children, injects host cells with a cocktail of proteins. Using powerful video microscopy, Penn Vet researchers tracked the process in real time.

De'Broski Herbert Named Penn Presidential Professor

Penn Vet Parasitologist Named Penn Presidential Professor

University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann appointed De’Broski R. Herbert, PhD, in the Department of Pathobiology at the School of Veterinary Medicine, as Presidential Associate Professor.

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With remarkable similarities to MS, a disease in dogs opens new avenues for study

The canine disease granulomatous meningoencephalomyelitis (GME), the most common neuroinflammatory disease that affects dogs, shares key features of its pathology and immunology with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a new study.

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Boris Striepen, PhD, Named the Mark Whittier and Lila Griswold Allam Professor of Microbiology and Immunology

Boris Striepen, PhD, Professor of Pathobiology, an internationally recognized parasitologist, has been named the Mark Whittier and Lila Griswold Allam Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet).

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Blocking viruses’ exit strategy

The Marburg virus, a relative of the Ebola virus, causes a serious, often-fatal hemorrhagic fever. Transmitted by the African fruit bat and by direct human-to-human contact, Marburg virus disease currently has no approved vaccine or antivirals to prevent or treat it.

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Leaky blood-brain barrier and schizophrenia

The blood-brain barrier keeps out anything that could lead to disease and dangerous inflammation—at least when all is functioning normally.

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Penn Vet Scientists Receive Two of Six Penn Center for Innovation Annual Commercialization Awards

[December 9, 2019; PHILADELPHIA, PA – Three researchers from the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn Vet) are among the recipients of the annual Innovation awards from the Penn Center for Innovation (PCI), which recognizes the six most significant scientific discoveries or partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania during the preceding twelve months.

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The diet-microbiome connection in inflammatory bowel disease

Much remains mysterious about the factors influencing human inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), but one aspect that has emerged as a key contributor is the gut microbiome, the collection of microorganisms dwelling in the intestines.

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Keeping parasites from sticking to mosquito guts could block disease transmission

A group of microorganisms known as kinetoplastids includes the parasites that cause devastating diseases such as African sleeping sickness, Chagas disease, and leishmaniasis. They share an ability to adhere to the insides of their insect hosts, using a specialized protein structure. But what if scientists could prevent the parasite from adhering? Would the parasites pass right through the vectors, unable to be passed on to a human?

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Meaningful science, with students at the helm

Shoulder to shoulder at a lab bench in the basement of Penn’s Levin Building, Sonia Luthra, Johanna Fowler, and Tracy Tran compare small microscope slides they’re preparing.

Fowler, a rising junior at Haverford College, and Tran, a rising sophomore at Penn, observed Luthra’s technique, drawing a sample of canine blood carefully across the slide to make a thin smear. The high school senior at Friends Central School had a leg up on the undergrads: whereas their 10-week project was only just beginning, Luthra had already logged a month in the lab.

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Novel model for studying intestinal parasite could advance vaccine development

The intestinal parasite Cryptosporidium, which causes a diarrheal disease, is very good at infecting humans. It’s the leading cause of waterborne disease from recreational waters in the United States. Globally, it’s a serious illness that can stunt the growth of, or even kill, infants and young children. And people with compromised immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS, are also highly susceptible. There is no vaccine and no effective treatment.

Dr. Boris Striepen, Penn Vet Faculty

Penn Vet’s Boris Striepen Receives $1.8M Grant to Find Drugs against Deadly Diarrheal Disease in Infants

Boris Striepen, PhD, Professor of Pathobiology at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, has received a $1.8-million, three-year grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to enable the development of drugs for cryptosporidiosis, a diarrheal disease caused by microscopic parasites.

Dr. James Lok, A Lethal Parasite's Vulnerabilities

Finding a lethal parasite’s vulnerabilities

An estimated 100 million people around the world are infected with Strongyloides stercoralis, a parasitic nematode, yet it’s likely that many don’t know it. The infection can persist for years, usually only causing mild symptoms. But if the immune system is compromised by the use of immunosuppressing drugs such as steroids or chemotherapeutics, for example, the parasite can reproduce uncontrollably, leading to a potentially life-threatening infection.

Dr. Boris Striepen, Penn Vet Faculty

Penn Vet’s Boris Striepen, PhD, Earns William Trager Award

Penn Vet’s Boris Striepen, Professor of Pathobiology, has earned the American Committee of Molecular, Cellular and Immunoparasitology’s prestigious William Trager Award for Basic Parasitology. Striepen received his award on November 5th at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene’s Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland. Named in honor of malaria research pioneer Dr. William Trager, the annual award recognizes scientists who have made a fundamental breakthrough in basic parasitology that allows for new areas of investigation.

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Penn Team Shows How Seemingly Acute Viral Infections Can Persist

Infections caused by viruses, such as respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, measles, parainfluenza and Ebola, are typically considered acute. These viruses cause disease quickly and live within a host for a limited time.

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Developing a drug to fight a deadly childhood parasite

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 10 people around the world do not have a safe water supply close to home. Around the world, diarrheal diseases are responsible for one in 10 deaths of children under the age of 5. One of the leading causes is Cryptosporidium, a microscopic parasite that is typically transmitted through contaminated water and usually lives in the small intestine. Yet it doesn’t lend itself to easy laboratory investigation and, until recently, scientists have been flummoxed in their attempts to make progress toward finding a treatment.

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Confronted With Bacteria, Infected Cells Die So Others Can Live, Penn Study Finds

The immune system is constantly performing surveillance to detect foreign organisms that might do harm. But pathogens, for their part, have evolved a number of strategies to evade this detection, such as secreting proteins that hinder a host’s ability to mount an immune response.

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Penn Vet launches new platform to accelerate microbiome research

Studies of the microbiome—the array of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other microorganisms living in or on a given individual or environment—generate a lot of data. An investigation of the skin microbiome of people with eczema, for example, would include not only the identities of the microbes present, but also a vast amount of metadata, or data about the data, such as the sex, age, weight, and disease status of the individuals under study. Analysis tools that integrate metadata have the potential to reveal connections between the microbiome and clinical outcomes.

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Penn Vet Team Identifies New Therapeutic Targets for the Tropical Disease Leishmaniasis

Each year, about 2 million people contract leishmaniasis, a parasitic disease transmitted by the bite of a sand fly. The cutaneous form of the disease results in disfiguring skin ulcers that may take months or years to heal and in rare cases can become metastatic, causing major tissue damage.

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T Cells Support Long-lived Antibody-producing Cells, Penn-led Team Finds

If you’ve ever wondered how a vaccine given decades ago can still protect against infection, you have your plasma cells to thank. Plasma cells are long-lived B cells that reside in the bone marrow and churn out antibodies against previously encountered vaccines or pathogens.

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Penn Vet Research Identifies New Target for Taming Ebola

Viruses and their hosts are in a eternal game of one-upmanship. If a host cell evolves a way to stop a virus from spreading, the virus will look for a new path. And so on and so forth.

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Penn Vet Study Identifies New Mechanism for Antibacterial Immunity

The innate immune system serves as a first-line defense, responding to infections almost immediately after a pathogen makes its way into the body. This response is carried out in two major ways: the cell can amplify the message that the body has been invaded, triggering an inflammatory response to recruit other cells to help fight off the pathogen, or the cell can undergo programmed cell death in order to stop the spread of infection and perhaps even release signaling molecules that alert neighboring cells to the presence of an invader.

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Mindy and Andrew Heyer Endow President’s Distinguished Professorship to Dr. Christopher Hunter

Dr. Christopher Hunter, BSc, PhD, of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, has been named the inaugural Mindy Halikman Heyer President’s Distinguished Professor. Established by Penn alumni Mindy and Andrew Heyer, the $3 million endowment will advance Hunter’s research on how the immune system protects animals and humans from infectious disease.

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Penn Study Identifies Viral Product That Promotes Immune Defense Against RSV

Almost all human beings are exposed to the respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, before their second birthdays. For most, the symptoms mimic those of the common cold: runny nose, coughing, sneezing, fever. But in some very young infants — and some older adults — the disease can be serious, causing respiratory problems that require hospitalization and increase the risk of developing asthma later in life.


A new drug target for chemically induced Parkinson’s disease

Penn Vet Study Shows Immune Cells in the Skin Remember and Defend Against Parasites

Just as the brain forms memories of familiar faces, the immune system remembers pathogens it has encountered in the past. T cells with these memories circulate in the blood stream looking for sites of new infection.

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Penn Vet, Montreal and McGill Researchers Show How Blood-Brain Barrier Is Maintained

The brain is a privileged organ in the body. So vital to life, the brain is protected from alterations elsewhere in the body by a highly regulated gateway known as the blood-brain barrier, which allows only selected molecules to pass through.

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Mosquitoes Ramp Up Immune Defenses After Sucking Blood

If you were about to enter a crowded subway during flu season, packed with people sneezing and coughing, wouldn’t it be helpful if your immune system recognized the potentially risky situation and bolstered its defenses upon stepping into the train?

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Gut cells sound the alarm when parasites invade

To effectively combat an infection, the body first has to sense it’s been invaded, and then the affected tissue must send signals to corral resources to fight the intruder.

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Parasitic worms offer ‘the missing link’ on the dual nature of a key immune regulator

De’Broski Herbert has a philosophy that’s guided his career researching helminths, or parasitic worms, and their interaction with their hosts’ immune systems: “Follow the worm.”

 

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Coming together to solve the many scientific mysteries of COVID-19

As the rumblings of a pandemic began to be felt at the beginning of the year, scientists at Penn started work to develop a vaccine and assess possible treatments. But the scope of COVID-19 studies at the University goes much broader. Scientists whose typical work finds them investigating autoimmune disease, influenza, HIV/AIDS, Ebola, cancer, hemophilia, and more, are now applying their deep understanding of biology to confront a novel threat.

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Answers to microbiome mysteries in the gills of rainbow trout

While many immunologists use mouse models to conduct their research, J. Oriol Sunyer of Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine has made transformational scientific insights using a very different creature: rainbow trout.

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A roadblock for disease-causing parasites

The threadlike parasite Dirofilaria immitis causes the debilitating canine heartworm disease. A related parasite, Brugia malayi, infects humans and is one of the parasites responsible for lymphatic filariasis, a neglected disease that affects 120 million and can give rise to elephantiasis, characterized by disfiguring and painful swollen limbs.

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What we do and don’t know about the novel coronavirus

Until a month ago, it’s possible to never have heard of coronavirus, despite the fact that science has known about this family of seven viruses since the 1960s. Four are common, causing mild or moderate respiratory symptoms like a runny nose and sore throat, all of which dissipate quickly. 

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With a protein ‘delivery,’ parasite can suppress its host’s immune response

Toxoplasma gondii is best known as the parasite that may lurk in a cat’s litter box. Nearly a third of the world’s population is believed to live with a chronic Toxoplasma infection. It’s of greatest concern, however, to people with suppressed immune systems and to pregnant women, who can pass the infection to their fetuses.

Penn Vet, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists will lead a team in developing a stem cell-based approach to treat blindness in dogs.

Multidisciplinary team to develop stem cell-based approaches to restore vision

A team from the University of Pennsylvania, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison are launching a project to develop new strategies for treating vision disorders using cells implanted in the retina. 

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Drs. Charles Bradley and Elizabeth Grice Receive 2017 One Health Award

Charles W. Bradley, V'09 was named one of the 2017 recipients of Penn’s One Health Award.