Baker Institute researcher designated as outstanding veterinary medical researcher of the year
John M. Olin Professor of Virology Dr. Colin Parrish was chosen by a committee of peers to be the recipient of the 2018 AAVMC Excellence in Research Award.
The Excellence in Research Award was established by the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) in 2010 to recognize an individual who, over the course of his or her career, has demonstrated excellence in original research, leadership in the scientific community, and mentoring of trainees and colleagues in any discipline of veterinary medicine.
Dr. Parrish is an internationally renowned virologist and a leading expert in the details of virus-host interaction. Beginning his tenure at the Baker Institute for Animal Health as a graduate student during the parvovirus crisis, he returned to the Institute in 1984 as a faculty member and served as Director from 2010 to 2016. His work has been focused on understanding viruses that have emerged as new viruses in dogs after transferring from a different species host, including canine parvovirus and two different canine influenza viruses. The Parrish laboratory has thus become known for examining the properties that allow viruses to cross species and produce new outbreaks. Their work also demonstrates the importance of understanding animal viruses and their role in disease emergence.
Dr. Parrish’s work has resulted in several notable discoveries and advances, including elucidating how parvovirus capsids interact with host cells and tissues and how naturally occurring variant viruses gain the ability to infect new hosts to cause epidemics – or pandemics. His recent work on influenza virus has identified how mutations have arisen during new outbreaks in dogs and cats. Early identification and quarantine of infected animals have stopped some of the outbreaks from spreading widely among dogs and cats.
“I am especially honored by this award from my peers in the veterinary community in recognition of the efforts of my laboratory and of the Baker Institute seeking to improve the health and well-being of animals – including humans - through basic and applied research” Parrish said.
The award will be officially presented during the AAVMC's 2018 Annual Conference and Assembly in March. The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) is a nonprofit membership organization working to protect and improve the health and welfare of animals, people and the environment around the world by advancing academic veterinary medicine.