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Our Science

Scientists at the Baker Institute focus on many different 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.
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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, and new animal diseases emerge every year. Many of our faculty members study these diseases, seeking to understand the ways in which viruses, bacteria, and parasites enter the body and cause illness or death to gain insights into the ways in which these infections might 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 pathogens like parvovirus, the parasite Trichinella spiralis, and calicivirus, for instance, can help scientists find targeted methods to boost those defenses with vaccines or interrupt infection with drugs.

Baker Institute faculty members with projects in infectious diseases and immunology include:

Douglas F. Antczak, VMD, Ph.D.
Charles Danko, Ph.D.
John S. L. Parker, BVMS, Ph.D.
Colin R. Parrish, Ph.D.
Elia Tait Wojno, Ph.D.
Gerlinde Van de Walle, DVM, Ph.D.

Cancer and Genetics
Cancer is another range of diseases in animals that has not come under the complete 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 to developing cancer.

Genetics plays an important role in cancer and in many, many other conditions as well, including inherited disorders, vulnerability to infectious diseases, and fertility problems. Our scientists study the genetics of many conditions, teasing apart complex networks of genetic interactions to identify the causes of conditions as diverse as disorders of sexual development and lavender foal syndrome.

Baker Institute faculty members with projects in cancer and genetics include:

Douglas F. Antczak, VMD, Ph.D.
Scott Coonrod, Ph.D.
Charles Danko, Ph.D.
Vicki Meyers-Wallen, VMD, Ph.D., DACT
Gerlinde Van de Walle, DVM, Ph.D.


Reproductive Biology
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 of the process by which sperm fertilize an egg, the genetics of sexual development, and the biological interplay between mother and fetus during pregnancy.

Baker Institute faculty members with projects in reproductive biology include:

Douglas F. Antczak, VMD, Ph.D.
Roy Cohen, Ph.D.
Vicki Meyers-Wallen, VMD, Ph.D., DACT
Alexander J. Travis, VMD, Ph.D.