Sears Awarded EQUUS Foundation Research Fellow

Dr. Kelly Sears’ equine piroplasmosis research resulted in the discovery of a new Theileria organism.

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Washington State University (WSU) doctoral candidate Kelly Sears, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVIM-LA, received the 2017 EQUUS Foundation Research Fellow for her research into equine piroplasmosis, which resulted in the discovery of a new Theileria organism along the Texas-Mexico border.

Sears was recognized Nov. 19 prior to the Frank J. Milne State-of-the-Art Lecture at the AAEP’s 63rd Annual Convention, in San Antonio, Texas.

Instituted in 2011 and supported in partnership by the AAEP Foundation and the EQUUS Foundation, the $5,000 fellow emphasizes the importance of assisting equine researchers in their exploration of horse health care topics. Sears also received a $500 stipend to support her travel to San Antonio.

Sears was initially involved in massive surveillance testing and treatment after the largest equine piroplasmosis outbreak in Texas. As a consequence of screening infected animals, the new Theileria organism was discovered. Her research group was instrumental in evaluating the new organism, Theileria haneyi, to define its pathogenesis in horses. After five years of investigation into T. haneyi, Sears is developing further research to determine the prevalence of the species, the consequences of long-term infection, and an effective chemotherapeutic capable of eliminating the parasite safely from horses

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