Department of Population Medicine & Diagnostic Sciences

Bettina Wagner


BettinaAssociate Professor
Dept. of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences
College of Veterinary Medicine
Cornell University
Ithaca, New York 14853


Research Interests:
My laboratory focuses on research in equine immunology. We are particularly interested in immune responses and protective mechanisms in neonates and young foals. The disease models include intracellular pathogens, such as Equine herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1), and allergic diseases especially Culicoides induced skin hypersensitivity. Major pathways that are investigated by my group are adaptive T-cell immunity, antibody isotype responses and cytokine regulation pathways. Another major goal is the development of new immune reagents for horses and advanced technologies in veterinary diagnostics, such as multiplex assays for infectious diseases, cytokines and immunoglobulin isotypes.

For more information, please view the Wagner Lab web site.


  • DVM - 1990 Veterinary Medicine - School of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover, Germany
  • - 1993 Veterinary Immunology - School of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover, Germany
  • Post-doctoral fellow - 1994 Genetics: Isolation and characterization of IGHC genes of the horse - Institute for Genetics, University of Cologne, Germany
  • Habilitation - 2006 Immunology - School of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover, Germany

Patent Submissions

  • 2001    Patents No. PCT/DE01/04810 (Ger), No. 01 984 722.7-2402 (Eur. Union), No. 2,439,509 (Can):  “Method to generate recombinant immunoglobulins, respective DNA and expression systems and their use to generate monoclonal antibodies recognizing native immunoglobulin isotypes.” inventors: B. Wagner, A. Radbruch and W. Leibold / applicants: School of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover, Germany, DE   (2001)
  • 2009    Invention disclosure, application No.PCT/US09/65669, submitted 11/24/09: “Methods for monoclonal antibody production” Inventor: B. Wagner; Applicant: College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY (2009)
  • 2010    US provisional patent application number 61/386,694; submitted 9/27/2011; entitled “Assay to Distinguish between Vaccination and/or Early and Chronic Lyme Disease.” Inventor: B. Wagner; Applicant: College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY (2010).

Honors and Awards:

  • 2002-2003 Research exchange grant from the Max Kade Foundation, Inc., New York, NY, USA
  • 2009-2011 Harry M. Zweig Assistant Professorship in Equine Health

Research and Professional Experience:

  • 1994-2002 Assistant Professor of Immunology, School of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover, Germany
  • 2002-2004 Visiting Professor, Baker Institute for Animal Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
  • 2004-2006 Senior Research Associate, Baker Institute for Animal Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
  • 2006-2010 Assistant Professor of Immunology, Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
  • 2006-present Director of Automated Serology, Animal Health Diagnostic Center, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
  • 2010-present Associate Professor of Immunology, Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA

Professional Society Memberships

  • 2001-present Member of the DGfI (German Society of Immunology)
  • June 2003 Co-organizer, Havemeyer Foundation Workshop, “Genomic Applications to Equine Immunity,” Cornell University, June 19-22, 2003
  • 2004-present Member of the American Association of Immunologists (AAI)
  • 2005-2008 Member of the AAI Veterinary Immunology Committee
  • 2008-present Member of the American Association of Veterinary Immunologists (AAVI)
  • 2010-present Editorial Advisory Board, Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology
  • 2013-2016 Equine Veterinary Journal's Editorial Consultants Board

Selected Publications: (Peer-reviewed articles out of 82 total)

  1. Wagner B, Overesch G, Sheoran AS, Holmes MA, Richards C, Leibold W and Radbruch A. 1998. Organization of the equine immunoglobulin heavy chain constant region genes. III. Alignment of cµ, cg, ce and ca genes. Immunobiol., 199: 105-119.
  2. Wagner B, Greiser-Wilke I, Wege A, Radbruch A and Leibold W. 2002. Evolution of the six equine IGHG genes and corresponding immunoglobulin gamma heavy chains. Immunogenetics, 54: 353-364.
  3. Wagner B, Radbruch A, Rohwer J and Leibold W. 2003. Monoclonal anti-equine IgE antibodies with specificity for different epitopes on the immunoglobulin heavy chain of native IgE. Vet. Immunol. Immunopathol., 92: 45-60.
  4. Wagner B, Miller DC, Lear TL and Antczak DF. 2004. The complete map of the Ig heavy chain constant gene region reveals evidence for seven IgG isotypes and for IgD in the horse. J. Immunol., 173: 3230-3242.
  5. Wagner B, Robeson J, McCracken M, Wattrang E and Antczak DF. 2005. Horse cytokine/IgG1 fusion proteins – mammalian expression of biologically active cytokines and a system to verify antibody specificity to equine cytokines. Vet. Immunol. Immunopathol., 105: 1-14.
  6. Wagner B. 2006. Immunoglobulins and immunoglobulin genes of the horse. Dev. Comp. Immunol., 30: 155-164.
  7. Wagner B, Flaminio JBF, Hillegas J, Leibold W, Erb HN and Antczak DF. 2006. Occurrence of IgE in foals: evidence for transfer of maternal IgE by the colostrum and late onset of endogenous IgE production in the horse. Vet. Immunol. Immunopathol., 110: 269-278.
  8. Goodman LB, Wagner B, Flaminio MJ, Sussman KH, Metzger SM, Holland R and Osterrieder N. 2006. Comparison of the efficacy of inactivated combination and modified-live virus vaccines against challenge infection with neuropathogenic equine herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1). Vaccine, 24: 3636-3645.
  9. Wagner B, Miller WH, Morgan EE, Hillegas JM, Erb HN, Leibold W and Antczak DF. 2006. IgE and IgG antibodies in skin allergy of the horse. Vet. Res., 37: 813-825.
  10. Lewis MJ, Wagner B and Woof JM. 2008. Different effector function capabilities of seven equine IgG subclasses have implications for vaccine strategies. Mol. Immunol., 45: 818-827.
  11. Wagner B, Hillegas JM, Brinker DR, Horohov DW and Antczak DF. 2008. Characterization of monoclonal antibodies to equine interleukin-10 and detection of T regulatory 1 cells in horses. Vet. Immunol Immunopathol., 122: 57-64.
  12. Wagner B, Childs BA and Erb HN. 2008. A histamine release assay to identify sensitization to Culicoides allergens in horses with skin hypersensitivity. Vet. Immunol. Immunopathol., 126: 302-308.
  13. Wagner B and Freer H. 2009. Development of a bead-based multiplex assay for simultaneous quantification of cytokines in horses. Vet. Immunol. Immunopathol., 127: 242-248.
  14. Wagner B. 2009. IgE in horses: Occurrence in health and disease. Vet. Immunol. Immunopathol., 132: 21-30.
  15. Wagner B, Miller WH, Erb HN, Lunn DP, Antczak DF. 2009. Sensitization of skin mast cells with IgE antibodies to Culicoides allergens occurs frequently in clinically healthy horses. Vet. Immunol. Immunopathol., 132: 53-61.
  16. Burton AB, Wagner B, Erb HN and Ainsworth DM. 2009. Serum interleukin-6 (IL-6) and IL-10 concentrations in normal and septic neonatal foals. Vet. Immunol. Immunopathol., 132: 122-128.
  17. Wagner B, Stokol T and Ainsworth DM. 2010. Induction of interleukin-4 production in neonatal IgE+ cells after crosslinking of maternal IgE. Dev. Comp. Immunol., 34: 436-444.
  18. Wagner B, Burton A and Ainsworth DM. 2010. Interferon-gamma, interleukin-4 and interleukin-10 production by T helper cells reveals intact Th1 and regulatory TR1 cell activation and a delay of the Th2 cell response in equine neonates and foals. Vet. Res., 41(4): 47.
  19. Kabithe E, Hillegas J, Stokol T, Moore J, Wagner B. 2010. Monoclonal antibodies to equine CD14. Vet. Immunol. Immunopathol., 138: 149-153.
  20. Wagner B, Freer H, Rollins A, Erb HN. 2011. A fluorescent bead-based multiplex assay for the simultaneous detection of antibodies to B. burgdorferi outer surface proteins in canine serum. Vet. Immunol. Immunopathol., 140: 190-198.
  21. Wimer CL, Damiani A, Osterrieder N, Wagner B. 2011. Equine herpesvirus type-1 modulates CCL2, CCL3, CCL5, CXCL9, and CXCL10 chemokine expression. Vet. Immunol. Immunopathol., 140: 266-274.
  22. Wagner B, Wimer C, Freer H, Osterrieder N, Erb HN. 2011. Infection of peripheral blood mononuclear cells with neuropathogenic equine herpesvirus type-1 strain Ab4 reveals intact interferon- induction and induces suppression of anti-inflammatory interleukin-10 responses in comparison to other viral strains. Vet. Immunol. Immunopathol., 143: 116-124.
  23. Wagner B, Freer H, Rollins A, Erb HN, Lu Z, Gröhn Y. 2011. Development of a multiplex assay for detection of antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi in horses and its validation using Bayesian and conventional statistical methods. Vet. Immunol. Immunopathol., 144: 374-381.
  24. Goodman LB, Wimer C, Dubovi E.J, Gold C, Wagner B. 2012. Immunological correlates of vaccination and infection for equine herpesvirus type 1. Clin. Vacc. Immunol., 19: 235-241.
  25. Wagner B, Freer H, Rollins A, Garcia-Tapia D, Erb HN, Earnhart C, Marconi R, Meeus P. 2012. Antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi OspA, OspC, OspF and C6 antigens as markers for early and late infection in dogs. Clin. Vacc. Immunol., 19: 527-535.
  26. Wagner B, Hillegas J, Babasyan S. 2012. Monoclonal antibodies to equine CD23 identify the low-affinity receptor for IgE on subpopulations of IgM+ and IgG1+ B-cells in horses. Vet. Immunol. Immunopathol., 146: 125-134.
  27. Wagner B, Erb HN. 2012. Dogs and horses with antibodies to outer-surface protein C as on-time sentinels for ticks infected with Borrelia burgdorferi in New York State in 2011. J. Prevent. Vet. Med., 107: 275.
  28. Wagner B, Goodman LB, Rollins A, Freer HS. Antibodies to OspC, OspF and C6 antigens as indicators for infection with Borrelia burgdorferi in horses. Equine Vet. J., in press.
  29. Keggan A, Freer H, Rollins A, Wagner B. 2013. Production of seven monoclonal equine immunoglobulins isotyped by multiplex analysis. Vet. Immunol. Immunopathol., 153: 187-193.