• Affiliate Associate Professor, Global Health
  • Affiliate Associate Professor, Fisheries
Gael Kurath

Western Fisheries Research Center
6505 NE 65th Street
Seattle, WA 98115
United States

Phone Number: 
206-526-6583
Email: 
gkurath@usgs.gov
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Biography 

Dr. Gael Kurath's interests involve basic research into the epidemiology and evolution of RNA viruses, including their molecular biology, genetic diversity, host specificity, fitness, and transmission patterns. Her team's research model is rhabdovirus pathogens of salmonid fish, using extensive field data on virus occurrence and disease impacts, in vivo wet-laboratory infection studies, and molecular biological studies of viral genomic diversity. The field epidemiology has identified major virus emergence and displacement events associated with host jumps and changing environmental conditions. A major current effort is discerning the drivers of these events and developing a landscape scale model of virus transmission throughout the Pacific Northwest. Laboratory studies have determined that changes in host specificity and increasing viral virulence are drivers of viral emergence in the field. The ability to test field hypotheses by conducting in vivo infection studies in a vertebrate host makes this system relevant to the basic function of RNA viruses, and contributes to the One Health concept that unites human and veterinary medicine and addresses the connections between human health and the environment.

Education 
  • PhD (Oregon State University)
  • MS (Oregon State University)
  • BA (Miami University (Ohio))
Country Affiliations 
Languages 
  • Spanish
Health Topics 
  • Environmental Health (incl. Climate Change)
  • Epidemiology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Nutrition
  • Pathobiology
  • Viruses
  • Zoonotic Diseases and Animal Health
Pathobiology research areas 
Expertise 

Molecular biology, genetic diversity, evolution, and control of RNA viruses such as IHNV and VHSV; fish health research model; One Health concept

Publications 

Wargo AR and Kurath G. 2012. Viral fitness: Definitions, measurement, and current insights. Current Opinion in Virology 2:538-545.

Kell AM, Wargo AR, Kurath G. 2013. The role of virulence in in vivo superinfection fitness of a vertebrate RNA virus, infections hematopoietic necrosis virus. J. Virology 87:8145-8157.

Kell AM, Wargo AR, Kurath G. 2014. Viral fitness does not correlate with three genotype displacement events involving infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus. Virology 464-465:146-155. doi.org/10.1016/j.virol.201407.003.

Breyta RB, McKenney DG, Thompson TM, Kurath G. 2016. Increasing virulence, but not infectivity, associated with serially emergent virus strains of a fish rhabdovirus. Virus Evolution 2(1):vev018. doi:10.1093/ve/vev018.

Kurath G, Wargo AR. 2016. Evolution of viral virulence: empirical studies. Chapter 6 in: Virus Evolution: Current Research and Future Directions, eds. Weaver SC, Denison M, Roossinck M, Vignuzzi M. Caister Academic Press. ISBN978-1-910190-23-4.