Colin Parrish, Ph.D. ’84, has become an expert in animal virology since he first came to Cornell University in 1978, and he’ll be sharing his knowledge and ideas as a visiting professor at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, later this year on a Fulbright scholarship.
As a graduate student in the early 1980s, Parrish helped develop the first vaccines for canine parvovirus. Parrish, the John M. Olin Professor of Virology and director of the Baker Institute for Animal Health in Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine, investigates viruses behind global pandemics and the ways in which diseases spread between animals and to humans.
Founded in 1946, the Fulbright Scholar Program “aims to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.” The international educational exchange program, run by the U.S. State Department, places scholars, students and professionals in educational institutions in 155 countries.
Starting in September 2016, Parrish will spend six months at the Centre for Virus Research at the University of Glasgow, collaborating with several other scientists on projects ranging from surveys of viruses in wild animals in Asia and Africa to studies of ancient parvoviruses that persist as genetic fossils in the genomes of modern animals. Emerging viruses like H1N1 pandemic influenza, Ebola and Zika pose significant threats to human and animal health, and Parrish’s work seeks greater understanding of how viral pandemics emerge and how they might be halted or controlled.
“Sharing our faculty with other prestigious institutions around the world pays dividends in improved relationships with these universities and enhanced research and training programs here at home,” says Lorin Warnick, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine.
“I was very excited to be selected for a Fulbright award,” says Parrish. In addition to his research projects, Parrish been invited to give talks and make visits to virology groups at universities across Europe. “I’m hoping to make connections between Cornell and the University of Glasgow as well as several other institutions.”
Parrish will step down as director of the Baker Institute and the Cornell Feline Health Center this summer. Luis Schang of the University of Alberta, Canada, takes on these roles on Aug. 1.
“This is a great accomplishment as Dr. Parrish completes his term as director of the Baker Institute and Cornell Feline Health Center,” says Warnick.
Merry R. Buckley is education and outreach program manager for the Baker Institute for Animal Health.