Research at the Baker Institute
Scientists at the Baker Institute focus on many aspects of animal health, oftentimes working across traditional scientific disciplines to break new ground. Our studies fall within three general areas: infectious disease and immunology, cancer and genetics, and reproductive biology.
Infectious Disease and Immunology
Despite the development of vaccines and powerful antimicrobials in the past century, infectious diseases continue to cause suffering and death among animals, with new diseases emerging every year. Many of our faculty members seek to understand the ways in which viruses, bacteria, and parasites enter the body and cause illness or death. Their investigations into antiviral drugs, new vaccine targets, and the source of unexplained infections, yield insights into ways these infections could be prevented, controlled, or eventually eradicated.
Some of our faculty focus on immunology, the body’s response to attack by microorganisms. A full appreciation of the ways in which the body defends itself from viruses like parvovirus and calicivirus, or parasitic worms, for instance, can help scientists find targeted methods to boost those defenses with vaccines, interrupt infection with drugs, or even to prevent allergies when the immune system overreacts.
Baker Institute faculty members with projects in infectious diseases and immunology include:
Douglas F. Antczak, VMD, Ph.D.
Joel D. Baines, VMD, Ph.D.
Sarah Caddy, MA VetMB Ph.D. DACVM FRCVS
Charles Danko, Ph.D.
Laura Goodman, Ph.D.
John S. L. Parker, BVMS, Ph.D.
Colin R. Parrish, Ph.D.
Luis M. Schang MV, Ph.D.
Gerlinde Van de Walle, DVM, Ph.D.
Cancer and Genetics
Cancer is another type of disease in animals that has eluded the control of modern veterinary medicine. Baker Institute scientists are at the forefront of cancer biology research, studying stem cells that start cancerous growth, drugs that might inhibit the development of cancer, and genetic traits that can predispose an animal or human to developing cancer.
Genetics play an important role not only in cancer, but also in many, other conditions, including inherited disorders, vulnerability to infectious diseases, and fertility problems. Our scientists tease apart complex networks of genetic interactions to identify the causes of these conditions, such as deadly lavender foal syndrome.
Baker Institute faculty members with projects in cancer and genetics include:
Reproductive biology studies at the Baker Institute encompass many different projects, all united by the goal of improving the ability of domestic animals and wildlife to give life to healthy new generations. Baker Institute scientists have expertise in this area, and their diverse projects include investigations into the process by which sperm fertilize an egg, methods for measuring male fertility, and the biological interplay between mother and fetus during pregnancy.
Baker Institute faculty members with projects in reproductive biology include: