US - An influenza researcher whose work focuses on the interspecies transmission of the virus has joined the University of Georgia, to contribute to disease research programmes.
Daniel Pérez has joined the College of Veterinary Medicine as its new Georgia Research Alliance Distinguished Investigator and Caswell Eidson Chair in Poultry Medicine, and is based at the college's Poultry Diagnostic and Research Centre.
"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 centre.
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.
Dr Pérez's work on influenza A viruses dates back to the early 1990s when he was pursuing his PhD 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 US research network, which was funded by the US Department of Agriculture to coordinate research, education and outreach at 17 institutions.
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-recognised infectious disease research programs," said Sheila Allen, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. "The calibre of his work is a fitting tribute to Dr Eidson's legacy."ThePoultrySite News Desk