NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases R21 Grant, “Transcriptomics of immunity and disease in African Fruit Bats- important zoonotic reservoirs,” $354,000, Co-PI with Dr. DeeAnn Reeder (Bucknell University), 2016-2019.
The goals of this work are to explore how intrinsic (age, sex, reproductive condition, current disease status) and extrinsic (seasonal shifts in weather and food availability) factors underlie immunological variation in African fruit bats, reservoirs for viruses of pandemic potential (including Ebola) that are becoming increasingly associated with people due to habitat modification.
US Fish and Wildlife Service Grant, “Physiological changes in remnant bat populations in WNS-affected areas,” $349,000, Co-PI with Dr. DeeAnn Reeder (Bucknell University), 2014-2016.
The goal of this project is to identify physiological changes that are adaptive for survival in remnant bat populations inhabiting regions affected by white-nose syndrome (WNS). We are using RNA-Seq to quantify predicted shifts in the immune and metabolic physiology of bats that have survived WNS for multiple years.
Research Grant, Woodtiger Fund, “Molecular and Ecological Approaches to Understanding White-Nose Syndrome in Bats,” $50,000, Key Personnel with PI Dr. DeeAnn Reeder (Bucknell University)
The goal of this project is to determine what physiological responses occur in bats infected with the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome. We are using RNA-Seq to perform differential gene expression experiments comparing tissues from bats affected by WNS to those from unaffected bats. Quantitative PCR assays will be used to confirm transcriptomics results.
US Fish and Wildlife Service Grant, “Understanding WNS Survivors: Exploring Resilience and Resistance to Variable Levels of Geomyces destructans Exposure in the Context of Mitigation and Conservation,”$290,000, Co-PI with PI Dr. DeeAnn Reeder (Bucknell University), 2012-2014.
NIH R15 Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) Grant, “Farnesyl-transferase Inhibitors: Cancer and Immunity,” $220,000, PI, 2009-2013.
Bats could help us better understand coronavirus infections, as described in an article by Tom Avril in the Philadelphia Inquirer, “Bats carry coronaviruses but don’t get sick. Could their secret help us fight COVID-19?” The article describes the work being done in Prof. Field’s and Prof. Reeder’s labs at Bucknell and how bats have a unique evolutionary history with coronaviruses.
Professors Field and Reeder were recently awarded a National Science Foundation RAPID Grant, “Immune Responses to CoV Infections in African and North American Bats.” The $200,000 grant will be used to study whether bats hold a secret to getting infected with coronaviruses without getting as sick as humans. Using samples collected over the past five years and stockpiled in freezers at Bucknell, they will be looking to see which coronaviruses infect these bats and how the bats respond to them.
Our collaboration with Thomas Lilley, Steve Patterson and others was published in G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics, “Genome-Wide Changes in Genetic Diversity in a Population of Myotis lucifugus Affected by White-Nose Syndrome.” Combined with a couple of other similar studies, we are starting to understand how white-nose syndrome might be selecting for bats that are less susceptible, similar to what may have happened millennia ago in Eurasian bats.
The Bucknell Batlab contributed to 5 papers published in 2018-19: Oecologia Resistance is futile: RNA-sequencing reveals differing responses to bat fungal pathogen in Nearctic Myotis lucifugus and Palearctic Myotis myotis TM Lilley, et al. Science Evidence for hormonal control of heart regenerative capacity during endothermy acquisition K Hirose, et al. Molecular Ecology Effect of torpor on host transcriptomic responses to a fungal pathogen in hibernating bats KA Field, et al. Ecology and Evolution Quantification of pathogen levels is necessary to compare responses to pathogen exposure: Comment on Davy et al. KA Field Journal of Wildlife Diseases Bats recovering from white-nose syndrome elevate metabolic […]
Two recent articles have highlighted the work we are doing with Dan Lindner and Jon Palmer at the US Forest Service: Battling a Deadly Bat Fungus in Chemical & Engineering News Bats May Be Poised for a Comeback From White-Nose Syndrome in Sierra Hopefully we will have something to report from that study soon!
First, our study of the immune response in little brown bats infected with P. destructans came out in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Second, our paper describing the differences in how WNS affects susceptible little brown bats and resistant big brown bats was just published in Journal of Comparative Physiology B. Third, our paper that shows the changes in gene expression when P. destructans is infecting bats compared to when it grows in culture is in press at Virulence. Exciting times for the Bucknell bat lab!
Our first paper studying the remnant bat populations that are persisting in the face of white-nose syndrome has been covered all over the news, thanks to an excellent article written by Michael Hill of the Associated Press. Here are a few of the links (of about 1,080 results as of Apr 13, according to Google): CBS News The Enterprise News in Brief
The Washington Post has an article up here that isn’t very scientifically accurate or well edited, but it does convey the excitement of the discoveries that we made. Phys.org has a nice story here. The Wildlife Society wrote an excellent description of this study here.
Really excited about this paper — http://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371/journal.ppat.1005168 This was a huge project and I am grateful for all the help the we received to carry it out.
Our study showing that antibodies to the WNS-causing fungus do not provide protection from WNS is out. You can find the full text here: Ecology and Evolution. Congratulations to Joe, who worked hard on this paper, despite its somewhat disappointing conclusion.
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