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I am a virologist with experience in large DNA viruses affecting domestic animals. My areas of interest are viral pathogenesis, vaccine vectoring, and functional genomics in poxviruses, and identification of protective antigens in African Swine Fever Virus (ASFV). Poxviral research focus on parapoxvirus (PPV) orf virus (ORFV), which causes ecthyma contagiosum or orf, a mucocutaneous disease of sheep and goats worldwide. ORFV preparations are used in Veterinary Medicine as a preventive and therapeutic immunomodulatory agent, and recombinant ORFV-based vectors have been shown to induce protective immunity against several viral diseases in different animal species. In collaboration with colleagues at UIUC, research has identified six novel ORFV immunomodulatory genes, characterized the mechanisms by which they manipulate host antiviral responses, and assessed their contribution to disease in the natural host.
African swine fever (ASF) is an acute viral hemorrhagic disease of domestic swine with mortality rates approaching 100%. Devastating ASF outbreaks and continuing epidemics in large regions of Eurasia and more recently in the Dominican Republic highlight its significance. No vaccine is currently available against ASF. Efficacious subunit/vectored ASF vaccines with significantly enhanced safety profiles relative to live attenuated vaccines are needed for use in the US. Development of these vaccines, however, has been hindered by large gaps in knowledge concerning the extent of ASF virus (ASFV) strain variation in nature, and the identity of viral proteins responsible for inducing protective immune responses in the pig. In collaboration with UIUC, UCON and others, we have demonstrated that ASF protective immunity may be serotype-specific, and that serotype-associated viral proteins CD2v (EP402R) and C-type lectin (EP153R) as well as additional ASFV proteins recently identified by us, are important protective antigens for inducing immunity in the pig.
As co-PI, PI, or co-investigator on various university, National Pork Board, and USDA grants, I collaborate with colleagues both national and overseas.
We are evaluating PPV bovine papular stomatitis virus (BPSV) and ORFV as vaccine viral vectors for use in cattle and other animal species. I have collaborated with colleagues at UNL in projects involving Zika virus pathogenesis, Coxsackievirus 3 vaccine development, and vaccinia virus-cell interactions. In collaboration with KSU, I supervise a colony of transgenic pigs deficient for transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2). When infected with influenza pH1N1 or the H3N2 viruses, these pigs shed significantly less infectious viruses in nasal swabs than wild type pigs. The model will be tested with other swine viruses.
My teaching commitments involve two courses in the Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine (PPVM). I am the main instructor of Veterinary Histology (VMED 660, 4 credits) and contribute lectures to Veterinary Virology (VMED 687, 3 credits), for first and second year Veterinary students, respectively.
DIRECTION OF BSL-3 FACILITY
As director of the UNL-BSL3 facility, I ensure proper maintenance and annual Third Party re-certification of the facility, develop training procedures and SOPs, ensure compliance with federal and institutional safety regulations, establish working schedules, and train research personnel.
- Member of the UNL Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee since 2009.
- Member of the PPVM Honor Board.
- Ph.D. in Virology, University of Nebraska Medical Center, 1996
- D.V.M., University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1979
- M.S. in Tertiary Education, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1998
- M.S. in Virology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1990
- B.A., National College N 7, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1974
- Biosafety Level 3 Training, Emory University, 2008
Chaulagain, S., Delhon, G., Khatiwada, S., and Rock, D.L. 2021. African Swine Fever Virus CD2v protein promotes β-Interferon expression and apoptosis in swine peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Viruses 13, 1480. https://doi.org/10.3390/v13081480.
Khatiwada, S., Delhon, G., Chaulagain, S., and Rock, D.L. 2021. The novel ORFV protein ORFV113 activates LPA-p38 signaling. PLOS Pathogens https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1009971
Burmakina, G., Malogolovkin, A., Xu, W., Delhon, G., Tulman, E., Kolbasov, D., Rock, D. 2019. T-Cell Epitopes of African Swine Fever Virus Serotype-specific Proteins. J. Gen. Virol. 100(2):259-265. doi: 10.1099/jgv.0.001195.
Annamalai, A., Pattnaik, A., Sahoo, B., Muthukrishnan, E., Natarajan, S., Steffen, D., Vu, H., Delhon, G., Osorio, F., Petro, T., Xiang, S-H., and Pattnaik, A. 2017. Zika Virus Encoding Non-Glycosylated Envelope Protein is Attenuated and Defective in Neuroinvasion. J Virol (JVI01348-17R1).
Ponnuraj, N., Khatiwada, S, Chaulagain, S., Delhon, G., and Rock, D.L. 2017. A parapoxviral virion protein targets the retinoblastoma protein to inhibit NF-κB signaling. 2017. PLoS Pathogens, 13(12):e1006779. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1006779.
Khatiwada, S., Delhon, G., Ponnuraj, N., Luo, S., Diel, D.G., Flores, E.F., Rock, D.L. 2017. A parapoxviral virion protein inhibits NF-κB signaling early in infection. PLoS Pathogens. 7;13(8):e1006561. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1006561.
Olson, A., Rico, A., Wang,Z., Delhon, G., and Wiebe, M. 2017. Deletion of the Vaccinia B1 Kinase Reveals Essential Functions of this Enzyme Complemented Partly by the Homologous Cellular Kinase VRK2. J Virol. Jul 12;91(15). pii: e00635-17. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00635-17.
Burmakina, G, Malogolovkin, A., Tulman, E.R., Zsak, L. Delhon, G., Diel, D.G., Shobogorov, N. Morgunov, Y., Morgunov, S., Kutish, G.F., Kolbasov, D., and Rock, D.L.. 2016. African swine fever virus serotype-specific proteins are significant protective antigens for African swine fever. J. Gen Virol 97:1670-1675.
Huang, T.; Tulman, ER; Diel, DG; Khatiwada, S; Sims, W; Edwards, JF; Wen, X; Kutish, GF; Rock, DL; Delhon, G. 2015. Coinfection with multiple strains of Bovine Papular Stomatitis Virus. Arch. Virol. 160:1527-1532.
Jia, J., Delhon, G., Tulman, E.R., Diel, D.G., Osorio, F.A., Wen, X., Kutish, G.F., and Rock, D.L. 2014. Novel Gammaherpesvirus Functions Encoded by Bovine herpesvirus 6 (Bovine Lymphotropic virus). J. Gen. Virol. 95: 1790-1798.
Diel, D.G., Luo, S., Delhon, G., Peng, Flores, F., Rock, D.L. 2011. Orf Virus ORFV121 Encodes a Novel Inhibitor of NF-κB that Contributes to Virus Virulence. J. Virol. 85:2037-2049.
Delhon, G., Tulman, E. R., Afonso, C. L., Lu, Z., Becnel, J.J., Moser, B. A., Kutish, G. F., Rock, D.L. 2006. Genome of Invertebrate iridescent virus type 3 (mosquito iridescent virus). J. Virol. 80: 8439-8449.
Carrillo, C., Tulman, E. R., Delhon, G., Lu, Z., Carreno, A., Vagnozzi, A., Kutish, G.F., Rock, D.L. 2005. Comparative genomics of foot-and-mouth disease virus. J. Virol. 79:6487-6504.
Delhon, G., Tulman, E., Afonso, C., Lu, Z., de la Concha-Bermejillo, A., Lehmkuhl, H.D., Piccone, M.E., Kutish, G. F., Rock, D.L. 2004. Genomes of parapoxviruses Orf virus and Bovine papular stomatitis virus. J. Virol. 78:168-177.
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