Mentors for 2015 SNPRC Summer Intern Program

Mentors for 2015 SNPRC Summer Intern Program
Kathleen Brasky, V.M.D., M.S., DACLAM
Dr. Brasky is a board-certified laboratory animal veterinarian and has worked with many different species of laboratory animals
but has specialized to work with a variety of species of nonhuman primates. She has a particular interest in animal model
development and infectious diseases. She has mentored many undergraduate and veterinary students and has been active in
recruiting veterinarians to laboratory animal medicine. She is available to mentor students with an interest in laboratory animal
medicine, particularly nonhuman primates and their use in research. There will also be opportunities to participate in clinical
case management and pathology.
Edward J. Dick, Jr., D.V.M., Dipl. ACVP
Michael Owston, D.V.M., M.S., Dipl. ACVP
Drs. Dick and Owston are ACVP board certified veterinary pathologists. Trainees will be fully involved in the pathology
service, conducting gross and microscopic pathologic evaluations of clinical and experimental cases in nonhuman primates.
The trainees will also have access to the clinical pathology laboratory, which conducts hematology, blood chemistries,
cytology, and fecal parasite exams. Trainees will be expected to prepare a manuscript for publication.
Patrice A. Frost, D.V.M.
Dr. Frost is one of four veterinarians participating in clinical and research support at the SNPRC. She believes that education is
the gate to one’s future. As a team of veterinarians, we are committed to providing candidates with an opportunity to get firsthand knowledge in the field of primate medicine. Dr. Frost has had the privilege throughout her career in guiding over 25
students with a variety of educational backgrounds through their introduction to nonhuman primates. Based on the applicant’s
individual goals and knowledge, we try to build a rewarding experience to include both clinical and research aspects of our
Luis Giavedoni, Ph.D.
A summer student working with Dr. Giavedoni will participate in the molecular characterization of novel vaccines against
Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) and in the characterization of in vitro SIV infection of nonhuman primate (NHP)
lymphocytes. SIVs are found in a large number of African NHP species, where infection does not have apparent detrimental
effects for the host; on the contrary, infection of Asian macaques, which do not have natural SIV infection, results in an AIDSlike disease. The student will perform several virological and immunological techniques.
Anthony Griffiths, Ph.D.
We are interested in the pathogenesis and molecular biology of neurotropic herpes viruses. Summer projects will focus on
herpes B virus (BV). Although BV naturally infects macaque monkeys, it can zoonotically infect humans and typically results in
encephalitis. If untreated, approximately 80% of infected individuals die. Even with timely antiviral intervention, the fatality rate is
20%. Thus, BV-infection is a serious concern to those working around macaque monkeys. Because of its extreme
pathogenicity, BV is classified as a Risk Group 4 agent and may only be propagated in a BSL-4 laboratory – such as we have at
Texas Biomedical Research Institute.
BV is endemic in most macaque colonies. Given that macaque monkeys are the most commonly used nonhuman primate
in biomedical research, it is of great importance that we learn how to better manage BV in macaque colonies. Projects in
the laboratory aim to understand the molecular basis of BV pathogenicity in humans, improve diagnostic assays to detect
BV infection, and develop vaccines to prevent monkey and human BV infections.
Lorena M. Havill, Ph.D.
A summer student working with Dr. Havill would participate in research into bone traits related to risk of osteoporosis ("fragile
bone disease") or osteoarthritis. Both of these are age-related diseases that are high public health priorities in the U.S. and
worldwide. Dr. Havill's research program involves a variety of projects designed to identify the primary contributors to variation
in bone health, with a focus on genetic factors and their mediation of disease risk.
Ruth M. Ruprecht, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Ruprecht is a physician-scientist with expertise in virology, molecular biology, immunology, and especially vaccine research.
Her group has developed the technology to generate recombinant monoclonal antibodies from rhesus monkeys that were
protected by novel AIDS vaccines against repeated challenges with different viruses. Summer students have an opportunity to
participate in antibody engineering, protein biochemistry and/or virology, depending on prior experience.