In the Allison lab, we study animal viruses that normally circulate in wildlife populations, specifically wild birds and mammals. In particular, we are interested in delineating the role that various wildlife species play in maintaining viruses in their natural cycles and the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that facilitate (or impede) such viruses from jumping to new animal hosts to cause disease.
As the global human population continues to increase and encroach upon wild areas – leading to the destruction and alteration of wildlife habitats, the increased use of wildlife as alternative food sources, and the illegal movement or sale of wildlife species – this will inevitably continue to bring humans and domestic animals into contact with wildlife viruses, both new (e.g., SARS-CoV-2) and old (e.g., Ebola virus).
Although accurately predicting which virus will be the most likely candidate to cause the next major epidemic or pandemic of disease is not currently feasible, there is little doubt that viruses that naturally circulate in wildlife species will continue to be a global health threat through their cross-species transmission to humans, domestic animals, as well as other wildlife or zoological species.
We use in vitro models coupled with molecular and cellular approaches to study the evolution and emergence of viruses in a number of different virus-host systems as outlined in the projects below. Interested students should contact Andrew Allison at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
For those interested in virus isolation from clinical disease cases in wildlife or zoological animals, please see the Wildlife Viral Diagnostics panel below.
Current Projects in the Allison Lab
Virology Courses Taught at UF
Dr. Andrew Allison, an assistant professor of veterinary virology at the UF College of Veterinary Medicine, has received a two-year grant from the Morris Animal Foundation to study recent outbreaks of a rodent-borne virus that causes deaths in conservation animal populations worldwide, including elephants.