GradImpact: Understanding How Viruses Affect Their Hosts

    Lok Raj Joshi and Maureen Fernandes are both studying swine viruses while pursuing their doctorates in the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences at South Dakota State University. Specializing in veterinary microbiology, Joshi and Fernandes are researching two different viruses that affect pigs. As the world’s third-largest producer and the largest exporter of pork products, these swine viruses threaten the U.S. pork industry and the economy more broadly.


    Joshi’s research focuses on Senecavirus A (SVA), which causes lesions on a pig’s snout and feet and can lead to lameness. The recent increase in reported cases of SVA has raised its profile and interest in additional research to better understand the virus. Joshi studies the causes of SVA and aims to better identify its characteristics. Fernandes researches a virus that affects a pig’s reproductive and respiratory systems (porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus), “a common swine virus that causes millions of dollars in losses every year to the swine industry.” Fernandes is working to identify potential immunizations that will protect the pigs from the virus.


    Mr. Joshi and Ms. Fernandes were honored for their work at the Conference of Research Workers in Animal Disease last year in Chicago. To learn more about Lok and Maureen’s work visit the South Dakota State University website.


    Visit the GradImpact Feature Gallery to learn more about the amazing, innovative research being done by graduate students and alumni across the world.



    Photo Credit: SD State News Center



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