Who We Are

Parrish Lab_3-001The Parrish Laboratory [Members Summer 2018]
We are at the Baker Institute for Animal Health, within the College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University. We study viral diseases of animals, including dogs, cats, and horses, as well as wild animals like raccoons, mink, and other carnivores. The main viruses we have been studying include Canine and Feline Parvoviruses and Equine and Canine Influenza viruses, where we seek to understand how those viruses emerged to cause epidemics or pandemics in dogs. We are also interested in the interactions of those viruses with host antibodies that protect animals against infection.

Our interests in virology include the analysis of host range control, receptor binding, antibody binding to viral proteins and capsids, cell biology of cell entry, and viral evolution.

Robert, Karen, Colin with Luis Martinez-Sobrido and Hector Aguilar-Carreno
March 2019

Canine Influenza Studies and Information
We are examining two different canine influenza viruses (CIVs), a A/H3N8 influenza virus that first emerged in greyhounds in Florida around 2000, and a H3N2 CIV that emerged in dogs in China or Korea around 2005. The H3N8 CIV is a variant of the A/H3N8 equine influenza virus (EIV), so the canine virus is a mammalian virus gained a new host range. The H3N2 CIV was most likely derived from an avian virus, and that was introduced into the USA in 2105.
Both of the CIVs both became established in the domestic dog populations in several regions of the USA, where they cause mild respiratory disease in most otherwise-healthy dogs. We are investigating the origins of both of the canine influenza viruses and by comparing that to the viruses in horses or birds we can determine the sources of the virus, their relationships with the other viruses, their host range properties, and its evolution in dogs. We are also developing strategies to control or eradicate the viruses from dogs, and horses.

Analysis of Canine Parvovirus Emergence, Evolution, Capsid Structure and Transferrin Receptor or Antibody Binding
We are studying the emergence of canine parvovirus (CPV) as a new disease in dogs. CPV arose as a variant of a virus infecting another host, and spread worldwide during 1978. We are learning how the virus also changes its host range to infect dogs, as well as other wild animals hosts such as raccoons and foxes. A key part of the host range control is associated with the ability of the virus to bind to the receptor on the host cells – the transferrin receptor type-1 (TfR). The virus only needs to bind to one or two TfRs on the surface of the host cell to allow entry and infection, and the binding is controlled by a small number of changes in the viral capsid. We are using cryoEM to define the strutural interactions of the viral capsid with the TfR and with antibodies. Examining the evolution of the viruses on a global scale since it emerged shows that the viral populations in different countries can differ, and there is ongoing evolution of the virus in nature.

Training Opportunities
The laboratory has a number of post-doctoral fellows, graduate students, as well as undergraduate student researchers. If you are interested in research with us or want to learn more about our work please contact Colin Parrish (see the People Page).