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We are excited to guide more students in answering their research questions and in making discoveries that can help build our knowledge of microbiology but also have a positive impact on people, animals, and our community! 



Interested in research? 

Email Dr. Morrow at
beckymorrow.dvm@frankies-friends.org

 

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Dr. Morrow became interested in research after witnessing the unusual infections that the Tiger Ranch cats were suffering from. In addition to her veterinary training, she studied molecular biology by taking multiple courses and designing a laboratory course where the students performed real research and answered real questions to help animals. While Dr. Morrow tried out new protocols and the students learned techniques such as DNA extraction, PCR using universal bacterial primers, gel electrophoresis, cloning, and DNA sequencing, they found out what was causing the severe infections.


From there, many more projects arose. Students looked for evidence of co-infections in the cats after designing species specific bacterial primers and optimizing PCR, developed some experiments using the genetic analyzer for better sensitivity of detection of different bacterial species, and looked at data from viral cultures that were performed in tissue culture by a collaborator. As the technology became available, Next Gen Sequencing was performed to assess the entirety of the bacterial population as well as the relative abundance of bacterial genera within the samples.


Our research projects constantly evolve, but are mainly associated with viral, bacterial, and mycotic infections in felines that we see causing morbidity and mortality in our patients.


Current projects include:
1) Investigating ocular infections in kittens and young cats causing eye rupture
2) Understanding the microbiome of the oral cavity in kittens and young cats with periodontitis leading to loss of all teeth
3) designing new, rapid molecular diagnostic and screening tests for dermatophytosis that can be used in a shelter setting,
4) gut microbiome of cats in intensive housing situations such as rescues, shelters, and hoarding cases.


Being a clinician-scientist, Dr. Morrow is naturally focused on the bench-to-field "translation" of basic scientific research into practical diagnostic procedures and therapies as well as community-based research that goes hand in hand with service learning and community engaged teaching and learning. Due to her diverse training and experience, she is in a unique position to bridge the gap between basic science and applied science – asking the right scientific questions because she has the benefit of clinical knowledge with which to guide them.