Veterinary Diagnostics & Infectious Diseases

Research & Innovation Team

Irina Polejaeva brings her somatic cell nuclear transfer capabilities as a researcher and associate professor in the department of animal, dairy and veterinary sciences in the College of Agriculture

Zhongde Wang’s research focuses are stem cell biology, epigenetics of early embryogenesis, animal transgenesis and assisted reproduction technology. Wang designs and creates gene constructs that Polejaeva will use to genetically modify cells and then to produce transgenic large animal models by cloning.

As a molecular virologist, Young-Min Lee’s research focuses on animal RNA viruses that are important human and/or veterinary pathogens. He makes use of new “infectious cDNA” technology and cell culture/animal infection systems, together with innovative techniques in molecular biology, cell biology and biochemistry, to answer key questions about the viral life cycle and the cellular and host responses to viral infections.

Liaohai Chen’s specialization includes sensor/assay development, molecular imaging and advanced materials – capabilities and tools necessary for the tracking and imaging of viral infections the team is looking to investigate.

Utah Multidisciplinary Arrhythmia Consortium

The Utah Multidisciplinary Arrhythmia Consortium (UMAC) is a joint project conducted at USU and the University of Utah and is currently one of VDID's primary focuses. The study focuses on Atrial fibrillation (AF), the most common cardiac arrhythmia (an irregular heartbeat or abnormal heart rhythm). The disease has been known to lead to palpitations, fainting, chest pain, congestive heart failure and/or stroke. This research is of growing importance in an aging population where approximately 10% of those over the age of 80 show evidence of AF.

For the project, collaborators are developing animal models of AF to study structural changes, as well as changes in the electrical properties, of the cells and tissues surrounding the progression of the disease. Collaboration between USU and the U of U capitalizes on each university’s capabilities, ensuring high-quality animal models, spacious facilities and expertise in the field of cardiology and cardiac imaging.

Pie chart showing the annual cost of AF in the United States. Total of $14.65 billion dollars. 55% are stroke related costs. 20% are related to hospitalization. 12% are related to inpatient costs. 10% are outpatient costs. 2% are prescription drugs.

Annual Cost of AF in the United States:
$14.65 billion

Commercialization Opportunities

The Veterinary Diagnostics and Infectious Disease team at Utah State University is setting out to conduct interdisciplinary research leading to commercial opportunities in the areas of infectious disease and diagnostics. VDID draws on the strengths of USU’s College of Agriculture and College of Science as it tackles a $1 billion-a-year market in the United States for animal disease screening and diagnostics.

The team will collaboratively use animal models to study human and animal diseases – and the results could lead to various biomedical and agricultural applications with enormous commercial potential five years down the road.

The Commercial Enterprises group at USU works closely with VDID to promote relationships with partners and industry leaders.

To learn more about these partnerships, visit Commercial Enterprises.