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Research Areas

Aquatic Animal Health:

The M.S. and Ph.D. research programs address health management issues pertaining to cultured andwild finfish, shellfish and aquatic mammals. A limited number of assistantships and postdoctoral (post Ph.D.) positions are periodically available. Current emphasis is on etiology, environment-agent-host interactions, host-defense mechanisms and application  of molecular biological techniques to solving health problems.

Comparative Pathology:

A number of noninfectious diseases of laboratory and domestic animals are under study in this program. Both M.S. and Ph.D. degree programs are available. Genetic diseases manifested by the effects of specific metabolic defects are of particular interest. Affected or carrier animals, or  germplasm currently are available for ovine ceroid-lipofuscinosis, bovine B-mannosidosis, bovine collagen dysplasia, and bovine osteogenesis imperfecta. In addition projects to determine the relationship between mammary carcinoma metastasis and hypercalcemia and to study the  process of metastasis are underway. These genetic diseases and specific types of cancer also are being utilized as animal models for research to gather  information applicable to other animal species including man.


The intercollegiate program in genetics for either the M.S. or Ph.D. provides a good foundation in classic and molecular genetics. Degree research is centered in comparative mammalian genetics. Current genetics research programs in the department include comparative gene mapping of mammals, immunogenetics, and comparative medical genetics. The comparative gene mapping program is spear-headed by an internationally recognized effort in bovine gene mapping and a new program in canine gene mapping. The gene maps developed in these two species are comparedto human and murine gene maps. The immunogenetics research program includes comparative histocompatibility genetics (utilizing serology, DNA probes, and DNA sequencing), serology of immunoglobulin allotypes, and genetics of disease resistance and immune response. The comparative medical genetics research program includes studies of spontaneous and induced (gene targeting/transgenesis) animal models of human genetic diseases and deleterious gene traits in domestic animals. Additional information regarding the Faculty of Genetics may be obtained from their web site (


Students may elect to focus their course studies in the field of immunology. Our graduate immunology faculty reside in numerous departments including Biology, Medical Microbiology and Immunology, Veterinary Anatomy and Public Health, and Veterinary Pathobiology. Graduate research leading to M.S. and Ph.D. degrees covers a wide variety of areas including molecular modeling of immunoglobulin/ligand interactions using monoclonal antibodies and anti-idiotypic antibodies which mimic antigen binding sites; T cell responses to parasite antigens of both protozoan and helminth origin; protective immune responses to defined vaccine antigens; examination of antigen processing and T cell immunity in viral and bacterial infections, veterinary clinical immunology and other host immune responses related to infectious diseases such as polio, tuberculosis,   brucellosis, babesiosis, and schistosomiasis. Course work in the immunology program might include biochemistry, immunogenetics, immunoregulation and a variety of  supporting courses in cell biology.

Infectious Diseases of Domestic Animals:

Faculty with expertise in pathology, immunology, microbiology, molecular biology, immunogenetics, and molecular genetics are involved in studies of host resistance and the pathogenesis of particular infectious diseases of domestic animals. Host resistance is a primary research objective in most infectious disease projects. An existing herd of cattle with defined resistance/susceptibility to infection with Brucella abortus and Mycobacterium paratuberculosis is a major resource to faculty and graduate students with interests in research on host resistance. Research projects suitable for an M.S. or Ph.D. degree in veterinary microbiology or veterinary pathology can be arranged through appropriate faculty members. The methods of cellular and molecular biology (e.g. cell hybridization, recombinant DNA technics) are utilized extensively by this group in achieving their research objectives.


The M.S. or Ph.D. programs in Veterinary Microbiology could include any of the above or aspects of all of the above programs. The comparative microbiology of brucellosis, for example, brings together a faculty group who study the outer membrane proteins, macrophage function in genetically resistant cattle, gene mapping, and recombinant subunit vaccine formulation. Biochemistry, immunology and cell biology courses are particularly relevant to the microbiology program.

Molecular and Cell Biology:

This intercollegiate program brings together faculty and graduate students from 11 departments in 4 colleges. It provides a broad spectrum of course work and research projects dealing with all aspects of modern cellular and molecular biology. Course requirements are designed to provide the student with the broadest possible latitude in determination of his/her degree plan.


Research in parasitology can lead to a Master of Science degree in Veterinary Parasitology. Parasitology can also be the field of study for the Ph.D. in Veterinary Medical Science, Pathology, or Microbiology. Research programs stress host-parasite relationships, the molecular mechanisms for host responses to the parasites, and studies of parasite-derived factors that might influence the response.

Schubot Center for Exotic Bird Health:

The Schubot Center was endowed and established to promote research into maintenance of health of, and into the causes, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of infectious and noninfectious diseases of pet, exotic, and wild birds. A limited number of post-DVM/VMD graduate research assistantships leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees are periodically available. Research and training programs are occasionally available for non-veterinarians with exceptional academic qualifications. Specific course requirements relevant to avian pathobiology are determined by the student's graduate committee. Development of interdepartmental, intercollegiate, and international collaborative research and training programs is encouraged. A post-DVM/post-doctoral training position in avian diagnostic pathology is also periodically available.

Tropical Animal Health:

Studies of the major tropical diseases of livestock which affect production, with emphasis upon hemoprotozoal diseases and their vectors, helminths, and bacterial and viral agents causing reproductive failures. Collaborative projects involve graduate students from various international laboratories and universities, especially in Latin America.


The virology M.S. and Ph.D. programs are designed for students who wish to pursue a career in molecular and / or pathogenic virology. The comparative molecular virology of major animal viruses is covered in depth by a team of professors from Texas A&M and other universities. The comparative pathogenesis of viral infection is studied from the aspect of those factors encoded in the viral genome and includes studies on viral antigenicity and host immune responses. Students are expected to take courses in biochemistry, statistics, immunology and other courses relevant to their particular program of study. Faculty include those with interests in molecular and pathogenic virology and viral immunity.

Wildlife Diseases:

The wildlife disease program is an interdisciplinary effort that involves faculty with expertise in the areas of immunology,  epidemiology, parasitology, microbiology, pathology, endocrinology, reproductive physiology, and genetics. Research interests include the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and control of diseases of free-ranging as well as captive native and exotic animals in Texas. The program is closely linked to the traditional programs of ecology and game management within the Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences Department of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and offers graduate and professional students an opportunity to study in the areas of disease management, reproduction, and handling of native game and non-traditional livestock.