Mathiason Lab

Dr. Candace Mathiason is an associate professor of pathobiology; director of the Infectious Disease and Rapid Response Network, a Program for Research and Scholarly Excellence designated by the Office of the Vice President for Research; and co-founder/director of the Women in Science Network.

Dr. Mathiason’s research focuses on the role blood and maternal infections play in disease pathogenesis and transmission dynamics. Her laboratory combines use of native and rodent in vivo hosts with highly sensitive in vitro assays to assimilate an understanding of the biological mechanisms associated with covert transmission of infectious agents. The intent of these works is to provide basic science principles for continued efforts to mitigate infectious agents via preventative, therapeutic and vaccine therapies.

Tied closely to the successes her laboratory has enjoyed is the pursuit of strategies to improve science communication and efforts to impact the role of women in science. The goal of this work is to improve and support the diversity of voices present in STEAM leadership roles.​

research project

Detection and Characterization of Blood-borne Prions

No practical noninvasive antemortem test exists to detect cervid, human, or any prion disease. We have developed simple, rapid, specific and highly sensitive in vitro assays to detect blood-borne prions. Combining these assays with innovative tools developed by collaborators, we are quantitating the temporal distribution and specific blood cell phenotypes critical to human and cervid prionemia.

research project

Chronic Wasting Disease Vaccines

No prophylactic or therapeutic regimen is known for any prion disease. With our collaborators, we have developed novel vaccine strategies, a carefully graded chronic wasting disease challenge, and a longitudinal monitoring system using ultrasensitive chronic wasting disease detection methods in white-tailed deer permitting vaccine assessment in the native host.

research project

Mechanisms of prion spread and establishment of infection

Prion diseases are inevitably fatal neurodegenerative disorders with no known treatment or cure. Little is known about the site(s) of initial establishment of infection, clearance of inoculum, and whether replication of agent is required for neuroinvasion. The long-term goal of these studies is to identify the sites of initial prion replication and to identify new routes of neuroinvasion.

research project

Cross-scale dynamics of multi-host vector-borne pathogens at the wildlife-domestic interface in ruminant communities

Our study system is uniquely valuable for investigating the dynamics between invertebrate (midges) and vertebrate (wild and domestic ruminant) hosts across regions with wide ecological gradients to assess the roles of each in the emergence of pervasive genetic viral variants.

research project

Exploring the potential for in utero transmission of chronic wasting disease prions in white-tailed deer

The presence of prion deposition has been identified in the reproductive tissues and milieu of several cervid species. Our ongoing studies are aimed to determine the biological relevance of this deposition in maternal, paternal and fetal tissues of free-range cervids naturally exposed to chronic wasting disease.


Detection of Chronic Wasting Disease prions in fetal tissues of free-ranging white-tailed deer

AV NallsEE McNultyA MayfieldJM CrumMK KeelEA HooverMG RuderCK Mathiason

Ecological Dynamics Impacting Bluetongue Virus Transmission in North America.

Mayo C, McDermott E, Kopanke J, Stenglein M, Lee J, Mathiason C, Carpenter M, Reed K, Perkins TA.
Front Vet Sci. 2020 Apr 17;7:186. doi: 10.3389/fvets.2020.00186. eCollection 2020.PMID: 32426376

In vitro detection of haematogenous prions in white-tailed deer orally dosed with low concentrations of chronic wasting disease.

McNulty EE, Nalls AV, Xun R, Denkers ND, Hoover EA, Mathiason CK.
J Gen Virol. 2020 Mar;101(3):347-361. doi: 10.1099/jgv.0.001367.PMID: 31846418

Very low oral exposure to prions of brain or saliva origin can transmit chronic wasting disease.

Denkers ND, Hoover CE, Davenport KA, Henderson DM, McNulty EE, Nalls AV, Mathiason CK, Hoover EA.
PLoS One. 2020 Aug 20;15(8):e0237410. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0237410. eCollection 2020.PMID: 32817706

more publications


Candace Mathiason, Ph.D.

Lab Principal Investigator
Director, Infectious Disease Research and Response Network
Associate Professor

Amy Nalls, M.S.

Research Associate III
Lab Manager

Brianne Coleman

Research Associate II

Erin McNulty

Research Associate II

Joe Westrich, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Caitlin Rinehart

Student Researcher

Audrey Sandoval

Student Researcher

Samantha Scherner

Student Researcher

Corey Simpson

Student Researcher

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