Athens, Ga. – An influenza researcher whose work focuses on the interspecies transmission and pathogenesis of the virus has joined the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine as its new Georgia Research Alliance Distinguished Investigator and Caswell Eidson Chair in Poultry Medicine.
Daniel R. Pérez is based at the college’s Poultry Diagnostic and Research Center.
“Dr. Pérez’s work on avian influenza virus interspecies transmission and control will complement a robust research effort on poultry respiratory disease viruses in the department of population health, and build on an active and successful program within the college that is focused on influenza virus surveillance, diagnosis and control. We are excited about Dr. Pérez joining our faculty,” said Mark W. Jackwood, who heads both the department and the center.
Pérez’s work on influenza A viruses dates back to the early 1990s when he was pursuing his Ph.D. in the department of veterinary and biomedical sciences at the University of Nebraska. He later worked as a research associate in the department of infectious diseases at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and was involved in developing the first influenza H5N1 vaccine by reverse genetics.
In 2003, he joined the faculty at the University of Maryland, where he built and directed the Prevention and Control of Avian Influenza in the U.S. research network, which was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to coordinate research, education and outreach at 17 institutions. His lab is an integral part of the Center for Research on Influenza Pathogenesis, one of six NIH-funded Centers for Influenza Research and Surveillance.
In addition to studying the transmission and pathogenesis of influenza A viruses, Pérez also studies virus-to-virus and virus-to-host protein interactions in the influenza A virus life cycle, as well as the role of land-based birds in the emergence of influenza A viruses with pandemic potential. He also works on the development of alternative influenza vaccination platforms and the development of influenza virus as a vector for vaccinating against other diseases.
The Caswell Eidson Chair in Poultry Medicine is named for Caswell Eidson, who served on the college’s faculty for more than 20 years. The chair was funded through generous donations from individuals and corporations throughout the poultry industry.
“Dr. Pérez and his team will add substantially to our well-recognized infectious disease research programs,” said Sheila W. Allen, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. “The caliber of his work is a fitting tribute to Dr. Eidson’s legacy.”
The Georgia Research Alliance has partnered with Georgia’s research universities to recruit world-class scientists who foster science- and technology-based economic development since 1990. The GRA also invests in technology for research labs, helps commercialize university-based inventions and facilitates collaboration among universities, businesses and government.
UGA College of Veterinary Medicine
The College of Veterinary Medicine, founded in 1946 at UGA, is dedicated to training future veterinarians, conducting research related to animal and human diseases and providing veterinary services for animals and their owners. Research efforts are aimed at enhancing the quality of life for animals and people, improving the productivity of poultry and livestock and preserving a healthy interface between wildlife and people in the environment they share. The college enrolls 114 students each fall out of more than 900 who apply. For more information, see www.vet.uga.edu.