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Diana G. Scorpio DVM, MPH, DACLAM

Translational Research Program
Animal Program Director and Attending Veterinarian

Major Areas of Research

  • Innate immune responses due to rickettsial infections
  • Mouse models of host-pathogen interactions
  • Non-human primate models of infectious disease
 

Program Description

The Translational Research Program (TRP) serves three major functions at the VRC: 1) provides centralized support and service for all in vivo research conducted at the VRC, 2) conducts collaborative research and animal model development, and 3) operates a fully accredited lab animal facility.

TRP provides all aspects of oversight and programmatic assistance to support teaching, training, and in vivo research for the VRC by managing all preclinical safety and regulatory issues, ensuring judicious and humane use of animals in compliance with all institutional, local, state, and federal guidelines. It is the VRC’s primary resource for consultation, collaboration, and professional assistance in selecting appropriate animal models or establishing novel models to study disease and vaccine effects.

TRP pursues independent and collaborative research projects related to animal model and preclinical product development for HIV, influenza, emerging infectious diseases such as alphaviruses, and other biodefense-focused diseases. We conduct translational research to advance vaccine products from preclinical stages toward human clinical trials by actively monitoring and overseeing efficacy, safety, and toxicology studies in preparation for regulatory oversight of product development. TRP also investigates novel vaccine delivery methods to enhance efficiency, vaccine efficacy, and safety.

TRP serves as a fully Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC)-accredited in-house animal facility, adhering to all federal regulations. The facility provides quality animal husbandry services, veterinary care, and facility management support for rodents. The facility offers preventive medical care, routine surveillance, and quality assurance for vendor- and colony-produced animals and may also establish and maintain its own mouse breeding colonies if necessary. A variety of technical services are performed by facility staff, including parenteral injections or oral administration of Animal Care and Use Committee (ACUC)-approved experimental materials; blood, tissue, and serum collection; surgical manipulations; animal identification procedures; electroporation procedures; anesthesia/analgesic administration; and other procedures as needed. The veterinary care unit also offers training for those who wish to perform these procedures themselves. For VRC studies conducted at other facilities, TRP establishes contractual agreements and coordination between investigators and these facilities. Within the in-house facility and contracted facilities, TRP ensures high- quality research in accordance with regulatory guidelines and compliance with good laboratory practices (GLP) and biosafety level requirements as essential.

Biography

Dr. Scorpio is a licensed veterinarian and has been a Diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine since 2004. Dr. Scorpio received her DVM from Michigan State University in 1997. She then pursued an NIH T32 Comparative Medicine fellowship at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine where she remained on as faculty for 8 years. During her tenure there, she also received her MPH at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Scorpio then pursued her career internationally (National University of Singapore and Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine) for over 4 years before returning stateside for her present position with the VRC.

Selected Publications

Scorpio DG, Dumler JS, Barat NC, Cook JA, Barat CE, Stillman BA, Debisceglie KC, Beall MJ, Chandrashekar R. (2011) Comparative Strain Analysis of Anaplasma phagocytophilum Infection and Clinical Outcomes in a Canine Model of Granulocytic Anaplasmosis. Vector Borne Zoonotic Disease 11(3): 223-229.

Frieman M, Yount B, Agnihothram S, Page C, Donaldson E, Roberts A, Vogel L, Woodruff B, Scorpio D, Subbarao K, Baric RS. (2012) Molecular Determinants of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus Pathogenesis and Virulence in Young and Aged Mouse Models of Human Disease. J Virology 86(2): 884-897.

Mathias DK, Plieskatt JL, Armistead JS, Bethony JM, Abdul-Majid KB, McMillan A, Angov E, Aryee MJ, Zhan B, Gillespie P, Keegan B, Jariwalab AR, Rezende W, ME Bottazzi, Scorpio DG, Hotez PJ, Dinglasan RR. (2012) Expression, Immunogenicity, Histopathology, and Potency of a Mosquito-Based Malaria Transmission-Blocking Recombinant Vaccine. Infect Immun 80(4): 1606-1614.

Armistead JS, Morlais I, Mathias DK, Jardim JG, Joy J, Fridman A, Finnefrock AC, Bagchi A, Plebanski M, Scorpio DG, Churcher TS, Borg NA, Sattabongkot J, Dinglasan RR. (2014) Antibodies to a single, conserved epitope in Anopheles APN1 inhibit universal transmission of Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax malaria. Infect Immun 82(2): 818-29.

Choi KS, Scorpio DG, Dumler JS. (2014) Stat1 negatively regulates immune- mediated injury with Anaplasma phagocytophilum infection. J Immunology 193(10): 5088-5098.

Pitassi LH, de Paiva Diniz PP, Scorpio DG, Drummond MR, Lania BG, Barjas-Castro ML, Gilioli R, Colombo S, Sowy S, Breitschwerdt EB, Nicholson WL, Velho PE. (2015) Bartonella spp. bacteremia in blood donors from Campinas, Brazil. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 15;9(1).

Last Updated February 12, 2016