university seal
university seal


Cara L. Field - Post-Doctoral Fellow: DVM, PhD, Comparative Pathology, University of California, Davis

Project Title :Seroprevalence and cytopathic effects of marine- origin Brucella on the human and beluga whale immune system
Mentors & Collaborators: Tracy Romano, Sylvain De Guise

Summary:  Knowledge of the effects of infectious diseases on both animal and human consumer populations is critical in order to assess potential health threats.  Marine origin Brucella species, for example, have been isolated and antibodies to Brucella have been detected in marine mammals worldwide.  Similar to terrestrial Brucella, marine origin Brucella likely poses a significant risk to marine mammal and human health. Disease transmission, pathogenesis and intracellular cytopathic effects of marine origin Brucella species, however, have not yet been investigated, nor has the zoonotic risk to marine mammal consumers.  We are investigating and characterizing the interactions of marine origin Brucella species on the immune system of both beluga whales and humans, using serologic, microbiologic and molecular techniques.  These studies include the infection of beluga and human cultured monocytes with marine strains of Brucella, as well as evaluation of immune cell response to infection with this pathogen. This project addresses basic functional mechanisms of an emerging marine pathogen, marine origin Brucella, and how this pathogen affects the health of both humans and marine mammals.