Parrish lab serves as an important training ground for undergraduate, graduate, veterinary, and post-doc students interested in Virology.


Colin ParrishThe Parrish laboratory

We are at the Baker Institute for Animal Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University. We study of 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 the ways in which their host ranges can vary. We are also interested in the interactions of those as well as Adeno-Associated viruses and their interactions with antibodies.

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.

Projects - Viruses and hosts

Canine Influenza Studies and Information

We are examining the canine linfluenza virus (CIV), a A/H3N8 influenza virus that first emerged in greyhounds in Florida around 2000. The canine virus is a variant of the A/H3N8 equine influenza virus (EIV), so the canine virus is clearly a host variant virus in a new host. CIV is now established in the domestic dog populations in several regions of the USA, where it causes mild disease. It is being maintained in dogs in large animal shelters and kennels, but has not yet spread widely among the husehold dogs. We are investigating the origins of the canine influenza virus and by comparing that to the viruses in horses we can determine the sources of the virus, its relationships with the equine influenza virus, its host range properties, and its evolution in dogs. We are also developing strategies to eradicate the virus from dogs.

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 was able to change 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. 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.