Tiny troublemakers: viruses


Work in John Parker’s laboratory is focused on viruses that infect animals and the immune responses to infection. They’re making discoveries that will enable better therapies and preventatives for treating common and devastating diseases.

  • Small differences between viruses make big problems. Feline calicivirus can be mild or devastating, depending on the strain of virus involved. This year Parker and his colleagues discovered that tiny differences on the outside of the feline calicivirus can make the difference between life and death for cats. This is crucial information for diagnosing and treating the severe disease in cats during the outbreaks.
  • Harnessing antibodies to fight cancer. Parker and his team have developed a system for harnessing the weapons of the immune system to fight feline cancer. They have created cat-specific antibodies that can attack cancer cells and are now collaborating with colleagues to test the antibodies in cats visiting the Cornell University Hospital for Animals who are suffering from lymphoma.