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Archive for the ‘Pathobiology’ Category

College faculty plan international collaborations at networking event in Cuba

While the future of US foreign policy remains unclear, the warming of relations with Cuba under the Obama administration produced an opportunity for US scientists and researchers to connect with their Cuban neighbors. Associate Professor Tania Huedo-Medina of the Department of Allied Health Sciences recognized the benefit of shared knowledge and the advancements that could be achieved through the formation of partnerships with Cuba. She created the Cuba Research Initiative to pair the University of Connecticut with several Cuban institutions to facilitate an exchange of ideas and establish joint research ventures. Multiple trips by UConn representatives have forged memoranda of understanding and these formalized relationships are now shaping into potential projects.

The UConn faculty at ICA

Ana Legrand, Guillermo Risatti, Steven Zinn and Hedley Freake (left to right) at the Institute of Animal Science.

College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR) faculty members spent a week in Cuba in January 2017 for a networking event to outline possible partnerships. Guillermo Risatti, an associate professor in the Department of Pathobiology and Veterinary Science, led the group. He was accompanied by Professor Ana Legrand of the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture and UConn Extension, Professor Hedley Freake of the Department of Nutritional Sciences and Professor Steven Zinn, head of the Department of Animal Science. Aviana Rosen, former project coordinator for the Cuba Research Initiative, also traveled with the group. With a focus on agriculture and animal science, they met with representatives from the Institute of Animal Science (ICA) National Center for Agricultural Health (CENSA), National Institute for Agricultural Sciences (INCA) and the Agrarian University of Havana (UNAH). The group discussed specific areas in their respective disciplines that would benefit from collaboration as well as broad initiatives, including forming study abroad opportunities and assisting with the publication of journals to share US and Cuban research. The individual CAHNR departments and UConn Global Affairs provided funding for the trip. (more…)

CAHNR in the news

Students with mobile devicesSome of CAHNR’s people, places and programs made the news recently. The bolded topics are linked to initial media coverage. The roman text links go to additional information.

UConn Today. 5-19-17. Posted a video, as part of UConn Science in Seconds series, about in Cuba. Department of Allied Health Sciences

UConn Today. 5-22-17. Reported on a start-up company that creates a new veterinary cancer treatment, which works with animal immune systems. CEO of the company is Ashley Kalinauskas, a Class of 2012 pathobiology alumna. See also Health News Digest.

Hartford Courant. 5-22-17. Announced  that four UConn baseball pitchers were honored by the American Athletic Conference. William Montgomerie, a right-handed pitcher and a applied resource economics major, was named to the second team.  (more…)

Virologist developing vaccines and therapeutics to combat Zika virus, Lyme disease and cancer

The Northeast experienced an unusually warm and dry winter this year. This irregularly tepid season, quickly becoming the new norm due to climate change, is now giving way to spring rains. While the reprieve from bundling up and shoveling snow may have felt like a welcome relief, and the recent precipitation seems fortunate given the drought conditions had been plaguing the region, the past months have been especially good for insects and arachnids. Mosquitoes and ticks in particular are likely to thrive this coming summer due to these mild and wet conditions and their increased presence raises the prospect of health risks from the diseases they carry.

Paulo Verardi and Brittany Jasperse

Paulo Verardi (right) with PhD student Brittany Jasperse (left).

Zika virus and Lyme disease, transmitted by mosquitoes and ticks respectively, are two contagions that continue to cause great concern across the country. Zika virus is expected to appear once again in the southern United States this summer and continued anxiety remains about its ability to spread further north. In Connecticut, tick populations have already soared this year and testing has shown increased levels of Lyme disease bacteria. Developing vaccines to combat the rise and persistence of these diseases is the focus of Paulo Verardi’s current research. Verardi, an associate professor in the Department of Pathobiology and Veterinary Science, recently designed a quicker and safer method of producing vaccines, which has been speeding up the fight against Zika virus and Lyme disease. He is also lending his expertise to battle cancer by exploring the use of vaccines to create innovative therapies in partnership with UConn Health. While Verardi’s lab is busy with many projects, Zika virus continues to be the primary focus.

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Awards and accolades for CAHNR

4-H Leaders Conference Awards(1)

4-H Leaders Conference Awards. By Jerauld A. Manter, 1956. From the UConn Libraries Archives and Special Collections.

Recently, some of CAHNR’s faculty, staff and students were selected for awards that recognize their accomplishments. Bold text is linked to the award news. Roman text links go to additional information.

Office of Undergraduate Research Education website. 4-26-17. Spring 2017 IDEA Grant recipients included two CAHNR students. Animal science student, Maya Schlesinger, will study the effects of probiotic supplements on chicken embryo muscle development.

As part of an IDEA group project, Kristin Burnham will develop a model that helps high school students make mental and sexual health decisions. Burham is a pathobiology major. She will work with a marketing student on the project.

UConn Today. 4-28-17. President Susan Herbst presented the UConn Spirit Awards. The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) was a Team Finalist. According to the criteria for the award, the group’s “collaboration has positively impacted the entire University.” EFNEP team members are part of the Department of Nutritional Sciences or the Department of Extension.

By Patsy Evans

CAHNR in the news

newspaper readersSome of CAHNR’s people, places and programs made the news recently. The bolded topics are linked to initial media coverage. The roman text links go to additional information.

UConn Today (video). 3-29-17. Featured the work of Paulo Verardi, who is working on a vaccine for the Zika virus. Associate Professor Verardi was one of the first people to get a Zika vaccine grant from National Institutes of Health. He is on the faculty of pathobiology.

Daily Campus. 3-30-17. Discussed the results of using of T cells and stem cells to treat diseases. Department of Allied Health Sciences Associate Research Professor Laijun Lai is conducting this research at UConn.

By Patsy Evans