Grace Chavis receives an Edith Patch Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award for capstone research

Grace Chavis, an undergraduate student in the Animal and Veterinary Sciences program, is working in the laboratory of Dr. Anne Lichtenwalner on an externally-funded, international project on a parasitic tapeworm, Echinococcus granulosus (EG).  During a 2012 survey of hunter-harvested moose, Dr. LIchtenwalner’s lab detected large numbers of EG in the lungs of Maine moose.  Wild ungulates act as an intermediate host for this parasite, and the definitive host, in which the adult reproduces, is usually some species of canid, most commonly the wolf.  Since wolves are not thought to be present in Maine, coyotes and/or domestic dogs may be the definitive hosts in Maine.  Grace’s project has been to examine, under proper biosecurity, intestinal tracts of coyotes obtained from Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, to identify EG adults morphologically, and to assist in detection of the EG mitochondrial CO1 gene in EG adults.  She is also designing a fecal study of shelter dogs in Maine to determine if any are shedding EG ova.  She reported on her progress at the Twelfth Annual Earth Day Celebration of the Life and Legacy of Dr. Edith Marion Patch on April 23 in Orono, will present her findings at a national parasitology conference, and will be a coauthor on a peer-reviewed publication.