Teagen Partin serves San Diego Zoo Global as a Research Associate in Disease Investigations. In her role as Bud Heller Fellow, she is expanding upon prior research projects by utilizing next generation sequencing information to investigate the viruses associated with Malignant Catarrhal Fever (MCF), a highly fatal viral infection caused by gamma herpesviruses.
A previous survey of collection animals at the Safari Park revealed potentially new strains of gamma herpesviruses, many of which may be related to previously reported MCF cases. The use of next generation sequencing will provide higher resolution power and allow Teagen to investigate the evolutionary and genetic relationships of these viruses, as well as establish a baseline herpesvirus DNA bank for other disease investigations. Her data will also be used to evaluate host-expansion among gamma herpesviruses and provide a valuable resource for outbreak investigations.
Teagen earned her bachelor’s degree in Zoology from North Carolina State University, and her master’s degree in Marine Biology from Nova Southeastern University. During her master’s research she utilized genetic data to investigate the global connectivity of the dusky shark and created a DNA surveillance database that allowed her to source market derived shark fins back to their population of origin which provided a powerful resource for illegal shark finning investigations. She has a passion for wildlife conservation and enjoys utilizing her skills and knowledge of genetics to aid conservation efforts of all animals. In her free time she enjoys hiking, backpacking, bird watching, running, and spending time with her dogs and cat.