Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Comparative Pathobiology

First Advisor

Margaret Miller

Second Advisor

Heinz Feldmann

Committee Member 1

Roman Pogranichniy

Committee Member 2

Ramesh Vemulapalli

Committee Member 3

R. Mark Simpson


Increases in the number of infectious disease outbreaks affecting humans have been reported nearly every decade since the 1940’s. Many of these outbreaks have been caused by emerging zoonotic viruses. It has recently been estimated that there are at least 320,000 viruses in mammals that have yet to be discovered, some of which may affect humans. As humans continue to encroach upon previously isolated areas and have greater contact with wildlife, it is likely that zoonotic viruses will continue to emerge. Since many of these emerging viruses cause significant disease or death in humans it is vital that we study their pathology and pathogenesis in order to detect patterns in their mechanisms of disease, which could then be used to develop broad spectrum antivirals or vaccines. As such, we focused our studies on two recently emerged viruses, Nipah virus and the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which have caused significant respiratory disease and death in humans.