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Isabel M. Gimeno, DVM, PhD


Poultry Health Management
Associate Professor

Office: C-329, CVM Main Building
Phone: 919.513.6852
Fax: 919.513.6464

Poultry Tumor Diseases Laboratory (PTDL)


Course Involvement

Graduate Courses

Undergraduate Courses


Areas of Research/Study

Marek's disease (MD) is a lymphoproliferative disease induced by the alpha-herpesvirus Marek's disease virus (MDV). MDV has evolved towards more virulent forms in the recent decades. The efficacy of MDV vaccines has decreased concomitantly with the increase in virulence of field isolates. Of particular importance, the most commonly utilized vaccine in the USA during the past 20 years (bivalent vaccine including serotypes 2 and 3) does not protect chickens against the most recently isolated strains of MDV, the very virulent plus (vv+/). Attenuated serotype 1 vaccines seem to confer better protection against challenge with vv+/strains. Nonetheless, even serotype 1 vaccines have been shown to have reduced efficacy with time in some European and Asian countries. Because of the great economic impact of Marek's disease and the threat of more virulent MDV strains emerging, the search for more efficient vaccines continues. A major limitation in the development of more efficient vaccines, however, is the lack of information on mechanisms of vaccine immunity. One of the goals of my laboratory is to better understand the mechanisms of Marek's disease vaccine immunity to develop better strategies of control.

Diagnosis of tumor poultry diseases is complex. My laboratory has worked for several years to establish new diagnostic criteria and standardize the use of molecular techniques for the diagnosis of tumor viral diseases. Furthermore, we have developed real time PCR assays that allow early diagnosis and monitoring of vaccination in the field.

In addition to the development of lymphomas, Marek's disease virus induced a variety of neurological syndromes. The pathogenesis of MDV in the nervous system is not fully understood but it is very likely that Marek's disease virus elicit an abnormal immune response leading to the development of autoimmunity. One of the objectives of my laboratory is to elucidate the mechanisms by which MDV induce lesions in the brain and in the peripheral nerves as well as to determine the factors (virus, host and environment) that contribute to the development of MDV-induced neurological syndromes.

One of our current interests is the study of the immunosuppression induced by MDV (MDV-IS). My laboratory has developed a model to evaluate MDV-IS under laboratory conditions. Further studies using this model will allow a better understanding of the mechanisms behind MDV-IS as well as they will aid in the development of detection and control methods.

Professional Experience

Selected Publications

Scientific Papers

Book chapters, invited reviews, and slide study sets