Underwater coral

Overcoming Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease

Alongside training their students, the professors at SMUSVM often get involved in research projects of pioneering discoveries. Find out more.

Alongside training their students, the professors at St. Matthew’s University School of Veterinary Medicine often get involved in research projects, many of which are making pioneering discoveries that help the world around us.

One such professor is Dr. Ben Stading, Assistant Dean of Students at SMUSVM, who has been involved in the development of oral vaccines for topical use in bats as well as the development of the novel rabies vaccine biologics. Most recently, Dr. Stading has been working with the Department of the Environment on a study into Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD).

Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD) is affecting many species of hard coral in the Caribbean. The disease can cause the death of coral colonies in just weeks having a huge impact on tourism, fisheries, the local economy as well as pharmaceutical industries. 

First detected in Florida in 2014, the disease has since spread to many parts of the Caribbean. 

Dr. Stading explained: “The project is attempting to determine the etiology of Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease, which was first detected in the coral around Grand Cayman last summer. I formed a partnership with the DoE and a researcher at the University of Wisconsin to get samples sent for deep sequencing, with an aim of determining if there is a virus involved in the disease.  If a viral pathogen is discovered, it could aid in understanding the disease and help guide interventions. .”

To read more about the project Dr. Stading is involved in, please click here.

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