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Volume 9, Number 11Space holderMarch 18, 2005
Photo of Donald Knowles
Donald Knowles

WSU Prion Disease expert to speak at UW on March 24

Don Knowles, an expert on persistent infections in domestic animals, has been named the 2005 WWAMI Science in Medicine Lecturer. Knowles conducts his studies at the Animal Disease Research Unit of the USDA Agricultural Research Service. The unit is located within the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine in Pullman.

Knowles' speech, Prion Diseases in Domestic Animals: Are Only Cows Mad?, will be given at noon, Thursday, March 24, in Room T-625 of the UW Health Sciences Center in Seattle. His talk is free and open to everyone. It will be simultaneously televised at the Harborview Medical Center Research and Training Building Auditorium, and in Room 518, Building 1, at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System.

Prions are normal proteins that somehow change their shape and become toxic to the central nervous system. Knowles' lab is attempting to determine the methods by which prion diseases are transmitted and to define the role of genetics in resistance to these diseases. Knowles, who is a veterinary pathologist, was part of a collaborative study that developed the first, practical, live-animal test for scrapie in goats and sheep. Knowles' team also designed a tool for detecting caprine arthritis-encephalitis infection, which is caused by a slow virus.

Each year, a noted scientist from one of the other five WWAMI universities is invited to the University of Washington to give the WWAMI Science in Medicine Lecture.

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