Karen Hood

Mentor: Dr. Samantha Wisely
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
"I have never done research before, and I see it as an opportunity to gain experience and learn a lot, potentially new things that no one knew before."





Research Interests

  • Wildlife
  • Conservation
  • Climate

Academic Awards

  • Emerging Scholars Program 2015-2016


  • Fernh UF
  • UF Kick Boxing


  • Friends of Homeless Animals
  • Double 8 Alpaca Ranch

Hobbies and Interests

  • Swimming
  • Kickboxing
  • Reading
  • Crocheting

Research Description

Immune Response of Native and Exotic Deer to Hemorrhagic Disease in Florida
Hemorrhagic Disease is caused by a complex of viral strains known as orbiviruses. The virus affects ruminant species (deer, cattle, sheep, goats) world-wide. In North America outbreaks of the disease cause die-offs in deer and elk that reach into the thousands. Susceptibility of deer and elk to the disease is variable throughout the US and even within populations. It is currently not known if susceptibility has a genetic basis or if it is based simply on frequency of exposure to the virus. Captive trophy deer provide a unique opportunity to answer these questions because their genetic background is well documented and their immune response can be tested repeatedly over time. We propose to study the effect of genetic background, age, and sex on immune response of white-tailed deer to hemorrhagic disease. The Wisely Lab works in collaboration with three captive deer facilities which have deer of known sex, age and genetic background. More than 80 deer are tested three times a year for antibody production in response to exposure to orbiviruses. I would run serology tests on additional incoming animals, organize the serology database for analysis, and examine temporal and genetic trends in seroprevalence of Hemorrhagic Disease. Data collection and organization would occur in the first semester, and data analysis would occur in the second semester.