October 22, 2010

In the Spotlight: Wildlife Health Newsmaker Interview with Dr. Dolores Gavier-Widén

Wildlife Health Newsmaker Interview with
Dr. Dolores Gavier-Widén

Who are you?
Dolores Gavier-Widén, a veterinarian (DVM, MS, PhD, Associated Professor), originally from Argentina. I graduated as a veterinarian in Buenos Aires and moved thereafter to UC-Davis were I was a graduate student of Dr Murray Fowler. I have lived and worked in Sweden and England since 1988.

What are you working on now?
Wildlife diseases, diagnostics and research. On the research side, I work on several very interesting collaborative projects. Three examples are:
  • The European project WildTech, which develops new technologies for wildlife surveillance (http://www.wildtechproject.com/wildtech/),
  • A project which investigates an emerging form of tularemia in wildlife (financed by http://www.covetlab.org/), and
  • A project which characterizes natural highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) in wild birds in Sweden (financed by The Swedish Research Council www.formas.se).

    How does your work benefit wildlife disease research?
    The research projects that I participate of study the mechanisms of infectious diseases in wildlife hosts. The information we obtain contributes to the understanding of several aspects of the diseases, and in that way to their better management, control and prevention.

    This has also an impact on the health of domestic animals and humans. I often choose to work on zoonotic diseases, i.e. diseases transmitted between animals and humans.

    What do you see as the most significant challenge for wildlife health professionals today working in the field of wildlife disease?
    The complexity of the field, the multiple disciplines involved. I strive to improve the communication and collaboration among scientists working on different disciplines and in different parts of the world.

    Another major challenge is the extensive and progressive human-made environmental changes, which affect so detrimentally wild animal health and conservation.

    What informational resource (e.g. book, journal, website, etc) should any wildlife health professional be familiar with?