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Meet our 2017 Pathways Program Winner

2017 pathways winner Brittany Stewart

One of our Pre-Health students from the Department of Biological Sciences presented award-winning research at the 2017 Pathways Symposium. Brittany Stewart presented her research on the Reticuloendotheliosis Virus, which included the following methods in obtaining results and coming to conclusions:

  • A serological survey,
  • Virus isolation, propagation, and sequencing,
  • Immunofluorescence microscopy,
  • Characterizing the viral infection in cell culture, and
  • ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay)


Brittany collected and tested 416 samples from 12 Texas counties. These included samples from newly found Rio Grande wild turkey cases and imported Eastern wild turkey cases, as well as cases from APC sites.

Blood samples from infected birds were taken by veterinarians; those samples were stored in sterile EDTA tubes and returned to the laboratory to perform the isolation and propagation. The DF-1 cells were then infected with isolated REV and incubated for 0, 2, 4, and 24 hours, with varying amounts of virus.


After completing research and testing, Brittany came to the following conclusions:

  • REV was detected in six counties, primarily in Central Texas at prevalence rates of 5%-10%.
  • Of 88 imported Eastern wild turkeys, one individual from West Virginia was positive for REV.
  • Initial next generation sequencing of the virus resulted in 77% coverage of the whole genome.
  • REV-infection in cell culture is most prominent after 4 hour incubation.
  • Dried blood spots can be effectively used to detect antibodies in birds using ELISA.

View Brittany's full poster presentation.