Assistant Professor Sunil Mor

VETMD Vet Population Med
College of Veterinary Medicine
Twin Cities
Project Title: 
Emerging, Re-emerging, and Zoonotic Pathogens

These researchers are using MSI to study several pathogens, mainly viruses, in the following projects:

  • Reoviruses continue to be involved in arthritis of chickens and turkeys. The cases of turkey lameness caused by turkey arthritis reovirus (TARV) have increased even with the use of autogenous vaccines because of virus variation. Newer vaccines are needed that can protect against virus variants, and are cost effective and easy to administer. The objective of this project is to study the genetic evolution of newly re-emerging TARVs to develop highly sensitive and specific diagnostic assays and effective vaccines. It is important, therefore, to sequence the complete genomes of a representative number of TARVs, to develop diagnostic assays, to determine space-time distribution of variant viruses, determine genetic changes associated with tissue tropism of these viruses, and identify specific virus strains that are necessary for the development of safe and effective vaccines with a wide spectrum immunity. The selected TARVs will be used to generate recombinant Pichinde virus-based vaccines that express sigma C and both sigma B and sigma C proteins of TARV. The information generated from this study will be delivered to the field veterinarians, the scientific community, and poultry producers (commercial and non-commercial). This study will help determine variants of TARVs circulating in Minnesota turkeys. Based on this information, researchers will develop diagnostic assays, and prepare and validate cost-effective and easy to use vaccines against TARVs.
  • The researchers have consistently isolated a reovirus from livers and have named it tentatively as “turkey hepatitis reovirus” (THRV). This is a novel condition that has not been previously described in commercial turkeys. The origin of this viral infection is unknown. Turkey industry veterinarians have asked the group to characterize and compare this virus with other reoviruses, such as TARV (described above), turkey enteric reovirus (TERV), and chicken arthritis reovirus (CARV). The specific study objectives are to be addressed are: to compare THRV genome sequences to those of TARV, TERV, and CARV; to demonstrate pathogenesis of THRV and confirm oral transmission of the reovirus; to fulfill Koch’s postulates that the reovirus is the sole cause of hepatic and splenic necrosis; and to determine if there are different genetic strains of THRVs and whether these THRVs differ in pathogenicity. The researchers have established a complete genome database of approximately 200 TARVs and TERVs. This project will characterize the genotypes (whole genome sequencing) of a selected number of THRVs and compare them with sequences of the other three reoviruses (TARV, TERV, and CARV). 
  • Whole genome sequencing of turkey and chicken reoviruses

  • Detection of high consequences pathogens circulating in food animals in Cameroon

  • Developing a virome standard apnel for validation and use of NGS as a diagnostic tool

  • Point-of-care genomics system for early detection of emerging and foreign animal disease viruses

  • Developing bioinformatics pipelines for virome and microbiome analysis

Project Investigators

Thomas Kono
Assistant Professor Sunil Mor
Vikash Singh
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