The Zabel Laboratory, as part of the CSU Prion Research Center, employs molecular biological, immunological, and biochemical techniques to explore peripheral pathogenesis and vaccines for prion diseases. Studying basic mechanisms of prion infection and dissemination provides translational information leading to vaccine targets and early disease detection. Dr. Zabel’s research program focuses on the interaction of prions with cells and receptors of the immune system and lymphoid tissues in the early entry, trafficking, and pathogenesis phases of prion infections. He utilizes novel mouse models of chronic wasting disease that have led to numerous publications detailing translational knowledge about the role of the complement system in prion replication, disease progression, and transmission.
Mapping Chronic Wasting Disease Prion Strains Across the U.S.
The study will use a suite of in vivo and in vitro techniques to characterize chronic wasting disease PrP strains from multiple cervid species and noncontiguous epizootics in free-ranging cervids and map their distribution. The null hypothesis is that no substantial differences will be detected in prion strains from noncontiguous CWD epizootics in the United States and northern Europe.
COVID-19 Saliva Screening
In a matter of weeks, we developed, optimized, and deployed a high-throughput, saliva-based MultiPlex Paired-Pool ddPCR (MP4) test for SARS-CoV-2 to the students, staff, and faculty of Colorado State University beginning in October of 2020. Through the end of the spring semester (2021), we performed over 150,000 MP4 screening tests.view project
A multiplexed, paired-pooled droplet digital PCR assay for detection of SARS-CoV-2 in saliva.
Sci Rep. 2023 Feb 22;13(1):3075. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-29858-5. PMID: 36813822
Adipose-derived mesenchymal stromal cells decrease prion-induced glial inflammation in vitro.
Sci Rep. 2022 Dec 29;12(1):22567. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-26628-7. PMID: 36581683
Tissue-specific biochemical differences between chronic wasting disease prions isolated from free-ranging white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus).
Biol Chem. 2022 Apr;298(4):101834. doi: 10.1016/j.jbc.2022.101834. Epub 2022 Mar 16. PMID: 35304100
siRNA Therapeutics for Protein Misfolding Diseases of the Central Nervous System.
Methods Mol Biol. 2021;2282:377-394. doi: 10.1007/978-1-0716-1298-9_20. PMID: 33928585
Chronic Wasting Disease in Cervids: Implications for Prion Transmission to Humans and Other Animal Species.
mBio. 2019 Jul 23;10(4):e01091-19. doi: 10.1128/mBio.01091-19. PMID: 31337719
Lab Pricipal Investigator
Associate Dean for Research, College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences
Research Associate I
Graduate Research Assistant
news and updates view all
Luke Davis, a Zabel and Wilusz lab researcher, wins the Spring 2023 Outstanding Grad Award for his invaluabe contributions to campus saliva screenings and wastewater testing.
Top Colorado State University researchers mobilized their disciplines over the course of the past year to address challenges raised by the global coronavirus pandemic.
Infectious disease scientists across Colorado State University are focused on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
Office: Pathology room 227
Lab: Pathology room 218