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Veterinary Student Contributes to Important COVID-19 Research 

The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine fourth year veterinary student Emily King is applying what she’s learned in the classroom to research the COVID-19 virus. She will be comparing specific genes between the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19 with the coronavirus that caused the SARS outbreak of 2003. By identifying these differences, scientists can get a better understanding of how these gene differences may impact the immune system's response to the COVID-19 virus. The research has the potential to shed light on viral pathogenesis, could lead to a better understanding of the viral lifecycle and potentially reveal targets for treatment.

King, from Dublin, Ohio, began working with Amanda Panfil, PhD, assistant professor of Veterinary Biosciences, through the college’s summer research program. They worked together investigating human T-Cell Leukemia Virus. She said she loved working with Dr. Panfil and knew that she wanted to eventually come back and work in her new lab. 

“When Dr. Panfil told me that she was going to be working on a COVID-19 research project, I knew that this would be an amazing opportunity for me to jump back into my favorite lab while also getting a meaningful learning experience for my clinical year of veterinary school,” King said.

“We as scientists love to use the word "One Health," and working in this research environment makes me feel like I'm making a meaningful contribution to the worlds of human and animal research.”

King plans to focus specifically on anatomic pathology and research for her fourth year rotations because she hopes to eventually pursue a residency and a PhD.

She felt confident volunteering for a research experience related to COVID-19 because her veterinary education allowed her to take classes in virology, immunology, epidemiology and zoonotic disease. 

“The veterinary curriculum provides us with a unique perspective of outbreak control and disease transmission that I think serves us well for understanding the complexities of how COVID-19 began and continues to pose a serious global health crisis,” King said. “Coupled with the amazing research experience I've gotten from the past two years in the CVM summer research program, I feel prepared to integrate these skills to make a meaningful contribution in understanding and combating this virus.” 

King hopes that this research of investigating how ORF3 and ORF8 impact viral proinflammatory responses will challenge her to further develop critical and independent thinking and problem solving skills. 
“There is so much trial and error that goes on in the research world, but that's when you learn the most,” she said. “I admire Dr. Panfil so much as a mentor, scientist and investigator and am excited to learn from her and gain a deeper understanding about virology, immunology and research as a whole.” 


Last updated: 

Monday, June 1, 2020 - 1:39pm