Sue VandeWoude

Colorado State University


Election Year: 2019
Primary Section: 61, Animal, Nutritional, and Applied Microbial Sciences
Secondary Section: 63, Environmental Sciences and Ecology
Membership Type: Member

Biosketch

Sue VandeWoude is a veterinary virologist recognized for her studies of the biology, pathogenesis, and ecology of viral infections in felids. Her work has included virus discovery, viral co-infection interference, and cross species transmission of infections between domestic and nondomestic cats. She grew up on a farm in Berryville, Virginia, and attained a BS in Chemistry from California Institute of Technology. She completed her DVM training at Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine in 1986. After a stint in veterinary clinical practice, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Comparative Medicine at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. VandeWoude joined the faculty at Colorado State University in 1990 and is currently Professor of Comparative Medicine and Associate Dean for Research in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. She has served as President of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine and American Society of Laboratory Animal Practitioners, Chair of the NIH Veterinary Subcommittee of the Physician Scientist Workforce Report and the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges Research Committee, and has served on the AVMA Council of Research. She is currently Veterinary Virology Councilor for the American Society of Virology, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Research Interests

Sue VandeWoude's laboratory investigates the biology, pathogenesis, and ecology of viral infections. As a postdoctoral fellow she characterized the Borna Disease Agent as a negative strand RNA virus and implicated this pathogen in human behavioral disorders. Her laboratory has investigated Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and has documented that experimental and naturally occurring cross-species FIV infections result in initial productive infection that is ultimately abrogated in the non-adapted host. They have also shown that infection of domestic cats with puma FIV imparts partial resistance to challenge with domestic cat FIV strains. The mechanism for this interference relates to innate and intrinsic immune activation, suggesting unique approaches to enhancing resistance to immunodeficiency virus infections. VandeWoude's recent studies in wildlife disease ecology have demonstrated that pumas commonly acquire pathogens from bobcats and domestic cats via predation. Interestingly, some of these cross-species transmissions result in fatal disease (Feline Leukemia Virus), whereas others spread rapidly among pumas without overt symptoms (Feline Foamy Virus), or primarily result in abortive infections (FIV). In each of these cases, host resistance factors determine outcome of infection. In addition to studies on retroviruses, VandeWoude's laboratory described the first gammaherpesviral agent in domestic cats, bobcats, and pumas.

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