Use the headings below to learn more about the current ongoing research at the Lewin Lab.
The Lewin Lab is working on several projects to study Feline herpesvirus (FHV), which can cause painful and blinding ocular disease in domestic cats.
Antiviral Use in Shelter Cats:
The lab is receiving funding from the Morris Animal Foundation and Stokes Pharmacy to study the effect of antiviral medications for the treatment of FHV in shelter-housed cats. This study will utilize cutting-edge DNA sequencing technology to study the structure of the virus. For additional information on this exciting study please see the study information page on the Morris Animal Foundation website.
Genetic Sequencing of Feline Herpes Virus:
We have also been busy working with our collaborator at the LSU Center for Computation and Technology, Dr. Lyndon Coghill, on a genome assessment of FHV isolates to assess if certain regions of DNA are associated with disease severity in naturally-infected cats. To view the results of this study, please visit the Virus Genes website.
New Treatment for Feline Herpes Virus:
The lab has been working on assessing the safety of a new antiviral eye medication for use in cats with Feline Herpes Virus. The results are due to be published soon in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery. Watch this space!
The lab has received funding from a USDA sponsored program to study antiviral treatments for bovine herpesvirus.
Dr. Chris Alling will be leading efforts along with help from virologist Dr. Muzammel Haque to find the best treatment for this virus which causes debilitating eye and lung disease in cattle populations worldwide.
With our collaborator at Cornell School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Eric Ledbetter, we are assessing the genome structure of various isolates of Canine herpesvirus, which causes eye disease in domestic dog populations. By understanding the structure of this virus in more detail, we hope to improve prevention and treatment of dogs with this disease. This project is sponsored by the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation. http://www.akcchf.org/
The group has recently been working with Angela Yoon (LSU DVM candidate) to assess the use of different tests for dry eye in dogs in a variety of environmental conditions. The results will allow for improved interpretation of the test in this species. Please check out the Veterinary Ophthalmology website to read the paper!
Angela Yoon presenting the results of her research at Tufts University, Aug 2019
Dogs which are scheduled to have cataract surgery at LSU School of Veterinary Medicine are currently being enrolled in a trial to assess the use of a medication to prevent high pressure after surgery. If you are interested in hearing more about this study, please contact the ophthalmology team at LSU SVM directly by email at email@example.com and provide your contact information.
With grant support from the USDA, the lab is working on the collection of ocular microbiome data from cattle with 'Pink Eye' (infectious bovine keratoconjunctivitis) and 'Cancer Eye' (ocular squamous cell carcinoma). These diseases are very economically important to livestock producers and the development of novel therapeutics is a top priority. Using this microbiome data we hope to gain novel insights into these diseases which will direct the development of new treatments.
With help from our collaborator at LSU Health Sciences New Orleans, Dr. Chris Taylor, we are collecting eye swabs from cats in southern Louisiana which are then being used for microbiome analysis. Using clinical scoring data from cats with eye disease, we hope to gain novel insights into the microbiome changes which occur in ocular disease in cats. This information could be used in the future to guide the development of treatment protocols for cats with various eye diseases.
The lab is currently involved in a project assessing the use of nanoparticle delivery agents on equine corneal tissue using a novel explant system. Dr. Renee Carter, an ophthalmologist at LSU and leader of this project, is working with the lab to determine the suitability of these new nanoparticles for use in eye medications in horses.
The members of the lab have recently completed data collection for a project assessing the use of two instruments to measure eye pressure in horses. The data obtained will help ensure consistent measurements are obtained when veterinarians use these instruments. Please visit the Equine Veterinary Journal for more information!
We are also working on a separate project with Dr. Rebekah Joyner (LSU DVM 2020 graduate), assessing the effect of various sedation protocols on eye pressure in horses. This data will allow for accurate interpretation of intraocular pressure in horses with glaucoma and uveitis.
For a complete list of work by Dr. Lewin, please visit his LSU faculty page.
Previous research performed by Dr. Lewin and others:
Herpes Virus Genomics
Dr. Lewin has previously published work assessing the genomics and phylogenetics of feline herpesviruses and other varicelloviruses:
Lewin AC, Kolb AW, McLellan GJ, Bentley E, Bernard KA, Newbury SP, Brandt CR. Genomic, recombinational and phylogenetic characterization of global feline herpesvirus 1 isolates. Virology. 2018 May 1;518:385-97.
Kolb AW, Lewin AC, Trane RM, McLellan GJ, Brandt CR. Phylogenetic and recombination analysis of the herpesvirus genus varicellovirus. BMC genomics. 2017 Dec;18(1):887.
Exotic Animal Ophthalmology
Dr. Lewin has previously published work assessing various ocular parameters in exotic animals:
Lewin AC, Hausmann JC, Miller PE. Intraocular pressure and examination findings in three species of central and south American tree frogs (cruziohyla craspedopus, cruziohyla calcarifer, and anotheca spinosa). Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine. 2017 Sep;48(3):688-93.
Lewin AC, Miller PE. Calibration of the TonoVet and Tono‐Pen Vet tonometers in the porcine eye. Veterinary ophthalmology. 2017 Nov;20(6):571-3.
Snyder KC, Lewin AC, Mans C, McLellan GJ. Tonometer validation and intraocular pressure reference values in the normal chinchilla (Chinchilla lanigera). Veterinary ophthalmology. 2018 Jan;21(1):4-9.