Virologist and partners awarded two patents for genetically engineered viruses to protect against African swine fever

Guillmero Risatti
Guillmero Risatti

African swine fever (ASF) virus is a deadly hemorrhagic disease affecting domestic and wild pigs. While historically found in Africa, ASF is currently considered an epidemic in Europe and Asia. In 2007 it was detected in the Republic of Georgia, and from there it spread through the Caucasus to Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. By 2014, it appeared in the European Union, and it was recently found in a wild boar in Belgium. In September 2018, China reported outbreaks of ASF across several pig-producing regions in the country.

“This disease expansion is of great concern to pork producers,” says Guillermo Risatti, associate professor in the Department of Pathobiology and Veterinary Science. “There is a high concern here because we don’t know if it will be an issue down the road for the United States. We hope not, but we have a lot of commercial partners, and products are moved from different countries into the United States, so certainly it could be a potential risk.”

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Awards and achievements for CAHNR

DataHaven-Cary and Laura
Cary Chadwick (left) and Laura Cisneros accept the DataHaven Innovation Award on behalf of the entire Natural Resources Conservation Academy Conservation Training Partnerships team. (Harold Shapiro photo)

The Conservation Training Partnerships Program was selected as the recipient of a 2018 DataHaven Innovation Award (Data in Education Award – University and Graduate Level). The awards, presented by Liberty Bank Foundation, were designed to highlight the creativity and ingenuity of individuals and groups who employ data to make Connecticut a better place.

Team members with a CAHNR Center for Land Use Education and Research or Department of Natural Resources and the Environment affiliation include: Extension Educator Chet Arnold, Associate Cooperative Extension Educator, Cary Chadwick, Visiting Assistant Professor Laura Cisneros, Associate Cooperative Extension Educator Dave Dickson, Visiting Assistant Extension Educator Jesse Rubenstein and Vice Provost and Professor John Volin.

By Patsy Evans

CAHNR in the news

newsprintUConn Today quoted Department of Animal Science Professor Emeritus Michael Darre on why he thinks heritage or heirloom varieties of turkeys are popular for Thanksgiving meals. The article also mentioned the Ekonk Hill Turkey Farm, which is run by the Hermonot family including several CAHNR alumni, Katherine, Rick, Ashley and Jonathan.

The Daily Campus reported that Professor Mark Brand has 75 seedlings growing from seeds he collected from the “swing tree,” which is an ailing Dahurian birch formerly used to hold a swing near Mirror Lake. Brand said that he doesn’t want this type of birch to be lost from the UConn Campus Arboretum collection. Brand is on the faculty of the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture.

By Patsy Evans