Jameson Mori | 2024 PRI Early Career Investigator Award recipient

Amber Zilinger (left) and Jameson Mori (right) at the PRI award ceremony on May 14, 2024. 

Congratulations, Jameson, for receiving the 2024 Early Career Investigator Award from the Prairie Research Institute (PRI) for their outstanding contributions to environmental science and interdisciplinary research. Jameson Mori is a Wildlife Veterinary Epidemiology Laboratory member at the Illinois Natural History Survey.
Keep up the good work!!!

For the complete story, please visit the People of PRI news, here.

Are Illinois farmers aware of the risk of tick-borne diseases?

By DIANA YATES | Life Sciences Editor

Ph.D. candidate Sulagna Chakraborty, center, led a study of farmer awareness of ticks and tick-borne diseases with U. of I. pathobiology professor Rebecca Smith, left, and Illinois Natural History Survey wildlife veterinary epidemiologist Nohra Mateus-Pinilla.
Photo by Fred Zwicky

CHAMPAIGN, lL. – Tick-borne illnesses like ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever are on the rise in Illinois, and outdoor workers like farmers are at higher risk than those who spend more time indoors. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Ph.D. candidate Sulagna Chakraborty and her colleagues at Illinois led a new study on the subject that surveyed 50 Illinois farmers to learn about their awareness of the problem and engagement in tick-prevention efforts. Chakraborty spoke to News Bureau life sciences editor Diana Yates about what they found.

Read the whole story by the University of Illinois News Bureau here.

Impact of CWD on Fetal Growth and Pregnancy Rates in Illinois White-tailed Deer

By Jameson Mori, Nelda A. Rivera, Jan Novakofski and Nohra E. Mateus-Pinilla

Deer behavior that may impact indirect transmission and exposure to CWD from an infected habitat (Tian et al., 2022). Photos: Key Deer by W. Tipton; Fawn with Mother by USFWS Midwest region.

CHAMPAIGN, IL – Understanding the role of diseases on reproduction is essential for safeguarding the reproductive health of wildlife populations. Furthermore, it enables informed decision-making, effective interventions, and targeted approaches to support reproductive healthIn the article Impact of CWD on Fetal Growth and Pregnancy Rates in Illinois White-tailed Deer, Mori et al. summarize the latest research and their results related to the effect of CWD on Illinois white-tailed deer reproductive health.

For the complete story, please visit the Illinois Outdoor Journal, here.

Deer protected from deadly disease by newly discovered genetic differences.

By LAUREN QUINN | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

CHAMPAIGN, lL. – It was the height of summer 2022 when the calls started coming in. Scores of dead deer suddenly littered rural properties and park preserves, alarming the public and inconveniencing landowners. According to officials at the Urbana Park District, it was Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD), a midge-borne viral illness that pops up in white-tailed deer populations around the state every few years. And when susceptible deer are infected, they die within days.


Now, University of Illinois scientists have found gene variants in deer associated with the animals’ susceptibility to EHD.

Read the whole story by Phys.org here.

UI researchers express concern about COVID-19 spread in deer populations

By VIVIAN LA | Assistant Daytime Editor

White-tailed deer in Illinois and other states can be infected with COVID-19, and Illinois researchers have concerns about how humans passed on the virus and what it means for the future of pandemic.

©Wildlife Veterinary Epidemiology Laboratory – Illinois Natural History Survey

In November, hundreds of white-tailed deer in Iowa tested positive for COVID-19, suggesting that humans are spreading the virus to animal populations and among one another.

This came after the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a study in August stating that COVID-19 antibodies were found in deer populations in Illinois, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania. These antibodies suggested that deer were exposed but potentially not infected.

Read the whole story at The Daily Illini website, here.

Adjusting to these ‘ever-changing times’

By Rachel Lupas

“My training in this lab makes me more conscious of the proper ways to deal with infectious biological material, an invaluable benefit during COVID-19. “

Lupas processes a tissue sample for analysis.
Lupas processes a tissue sample for analysis. Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

CHAMPAIGN, IL – Inspired by the challenges we are all confronting due to the COVID-19 pandemic, undergraduate student Rachel Lupas shares her experiences as a biosafety level two epidemiology laboratory member. Rachel is and undergraduate student and member of the Wildlife Veterinary Epidemiology Laboratory led by Dr. Nohra Mateus-Pinilla.

Read the whole story at the Illinois New Bureau website, here.

Celebrating Our Diversity

By Yi-Ying Tung

“Today is an ordinary day, but it’s filled with heartwarming lessons. Our differences don’t make us feel distant from one another. Instead they help us grow closer together and become stronger every day.”

Lab team members meet online. They include, left to right, top to bottom: Daniel Raudabaugh, Kelsey Martin, Jacob Wessels, Yi-Ying Tung, Evan London, Roshni Mathur, Rachel Lupas, Dr. Nohra Mateus-Pinilla, Jake Putty, Hayden Hedman, Shannon Callahan, Kaylie Dyer, Dr. Jan Novakofski, Spencer Stirewalt and Dr. Nelda Rivera. Image courtesy Rachel Lupas

CHAMPAIGN, IL – Undergraduate student and James Scholar, Yi-Ying Tung, shares her experiences as a member of multidisciplinary and multicultural research labs. She works for Dr. Nohra Mateus-Pinilla and Dr. Jan Novakofski at the Novakofski & Mateus Chronic Wasting Disease Collaborative Labs and the Wildlife Veterinary Epidemiology Lab. Yi-Ying is taking part in a project that explores the transmission of chronic wasting disease from mother to offspring white-tailed deer.

Read the whole story at the Illinois New Bureau website, here.

Undergrads choose their own adventure in this wildlife research group | By Diana Yates

The CWD research group is directed by Dr. Nohra Mateus-Pinilla and Dr. Jan E. Novakofski. Undergraduate students from left, Yi-Ying Tung, Shannon Callahan, Jake Putty, Kaylie Dyer and Spencer Stirewalt, with IDNR biologist Jared Duquette. Photo courtesy of Jared Duquette.


CHAMPAIGN, IL – Don’t be fooled by the name: The wildlife and chronic wasting disease research group has a broader mission than you might think. Yes, the research focuses on white-tailed deer, primarily, and on CWD, a baffliing affliction of deer and elk. But for the dozens of undergraduate students who have joined this collaborative effort over the years, the group also is a portal, of sorts, to wide-ranging adventures in research.

Read the whole story by the University of Illinois News Bureau here.

Editorial calls on Wisconsin to follow Illinois’ strategy regarding CWD

Areas in Illinois and Wisconsin with chronic wasting disease detected over fiscal year 2003–2012. Orange areas are counties in Illinois and red areas are Wisconsin deer management units that were included in prevalence calculations. (Manjerovic et al. 2013).

CHAMPAIGN, IL – Research findings by INHS Wildlife Epidemiologists Mary Beth Manjerovic, Michelle L. Greena, Nohra Mateus-Pinilla and University of Illinois colleague Jan Novakofski were referenced in an editorial in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Their research, found that after Wisconsin discontinued culling deer populations with Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), the prevalence of CWD in Wisconsin had an average annual increase of 0.63%. During that same time period, Illinois continued government culling and there was no change in prevalence throughout Illinois.

Read the whole story at the Illinois Natural History Survey blog.