Dr. Cheryl Dvorak

VETMD Vet Biomedical Science
College of Veterinary Medicine
Twin Cities
Project Title: 
Functional Genomics of Porcine Immunity to Enteric and Respiratory Disease Agents

The Murtaugh/Dvorak laboratory is investigating molecular mechanisms of disease resistance in swine with particular attention to persistent viral infections and enteric immunity. They are also examining the Oxford Nanopore MinION sequencer for use as a diagnostic pen-side tool to determine the cause of infection and are benchmarking the ability of this sequencer to identify viral presence under different backround samples. Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) causes a prolonged acute, viremic infection of lung macrophages and a persistent infection of macrophages and dendritic cells in lymphoid tissues. Porcine Cirocovirus 2 (PCV2) is the cause of PCV associated disease, a problem of growing pigs. Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) and Porcine deltacoronavirus (PdCoV) are emerging viruses in the U.S., which need better diagnostic tools and a basic understanding of infection, treatment, and prevention. A better understanding of viral structure, viral growth, and the host response to these viruses at different time points during infection will allow identification of genes and proteins involved in the response to virus and help to identify measures to allow for disease control. Senecavirus A (SVA) is an emerging problem in growing pigs and presents similar to Foot and Mouth disease virus (FMDV), a foreign animal disease, which can cause great economic loss while the farm is quarantined until foreign animal disease can be ruled out. Better and quicker diagnostics for SVA to rule out foreign animal disease is needed and the MinION sequencer is being examined for this use.

These researchers are planning to elucidate viral structure, growth, and the host response using whole genome viral analysis, host transcriptome analysis, and biochemical and mass spectrometry approaches. Identification of genes altered in expression under conditions of viral infection is expected to reveal mechanisms of cellular immunity, insights into viral evasion of immunity, and establishment of persistent infection. Identification of altered protein profiles in serum of infected animals will further illuminate host responses to infection without a requirement for pre‐existing knowledge. These approaches are valuable for understanding host‐pathogen interactions relevant to agricultural and wildlife species.

In Memoriam: The former PI of this group, Professor Michael Murtaugh, passed away in September 2018. Professor Murtaugh was a long-time Principal Investigator at MSI. MSI's staff extend their deepest condolences to Professor Murtaugh's family, friends, and colleagues.

Project Investigators

Dr. Juan Abrahante - Llorens
Dr. Cheryl Dvorak
Frances Shepherd
Suzanne Stone
Shaoyuan Tan
Jordan Young
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