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Biosecurity Research Institute

William C. Wilson

EDUCATIONWilliam C. Wilson

  • 1985 Ph.D., University of Illinois, Urbana, Animal Science
  • 1979 B.S. (Honors), University of Illinois, Urbana


  • 2010-present Research Microbiologist, USDA, ARS, ABADRU, Manhattan, KS.
  • 2010-present Adjunct Professor, Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
  • 1993-1996 Adjunct Professor, Veterinary Science, Washington State University, Pullman, WA
  • 1987-present Adjunct Professor, Molecular Biology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY
  • 1988- 2010 Affiliate Faculty, Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
  • 1986-2010 Research Microbiologist, USDA, ARS, ABADRU, Laramie, WY.
  • 1984-1986 Research Fellow, Biochemistry, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Eppley Cancer Research Institute, Omaha, NE
  • 1979-1984 Graduate Research Assistant, University of Illinois; Urbana, IL
  • 1976-1979 Undergraduate Research Assistant, University of Illinois; Urbana, IL


Arboviruses are listed by the FAO and the OIE as important trans-boundary animal diseases (TADs) of which bluetongue virus (BTV) is the most economically important arbovirus in the U.S. Wilson’s laboratory has investigated the viral genetics of BTV and epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus (EHDV). Molecular evolution studies have resulted in the ability to monitor movement of these viruses using genetic sequence analysis. Wilson and others have shown that the reliability of determining geographical origin based on genetic sequence analysis is dependent on the gene segment chosen for this analysis. These studies also allowed the development of real-time RT/PCR assays for indigenous and exotic strains of BTV, and EHDV. A similar assay was developed for Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV). These assays have been used on a variety of mammalian and invertebrate tissues and are being used by laboratories in the U.S. and other countries.

Wilson is also working towards the goal of understanding the interactions between arboviruses and their invertebrate host may allow development of novel disease control strategies. The infection of invertebrate cells has been shown to be different than that of vertebrate cells. Wilson, Mecham and their collaborators have identified the BTV protein involved in attachment to invertebrate cells. They have also identified a putative BTV receptor protein found in Culicoides sonorensis plasma membrane preparations. Along with a team of ABADRU scientists a genetic database and related vector biology investigational tools have been developed.

Rift Valley fever (RVF) virus (RVFV) is the most significant arthropod-borne animal disease threat to U.S. livestock according to the USDA, APHIS National Veterinary Stockpile (NVS) committee. Dr. Wilson has helped to establish the ABADRU’s RVFV research program that is beginning to assess the epidemiological and entomological factors which affect the distribution and control of RVFV. ABADRU has developed and is evaluating diagnostic tests for RVFV nucleic acid, antigens and antibody responses. The overall goal of this program is to utilize the unit’s unique multidisciplinary expertise to fill gaps in what is known about RVFV and provide the tools necessary for combating RVFV should it be accidentally or intentionally introduced into the U.S. To ensure the success of this project, ABADRU has established formal U.S. and international cooperative agreements including the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, and Kenya Department of Veterinary Services. This research is also being conducted in collaboration with ARS, Center for Medical, and Veterinary Entomology and the USDA, APHIS.

PUBLICATIONS (20 Selected)

1. David M. Hartley, Jennifer L. Rinderknecht, Terry L. Nipp, Neville P. Clarke, Gary D. Snowder, and the National Center for Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease Defense Advisory Group on Rift Valley Fever. 2011. Potential Effects of Rift Valley Fever in the United States. Emerg. Infect. Dis. 17: Online. 2011.

2. Savini G., Afonso A., Mellor P., Aradaib I., Yadin H., Sanaa M., Wilson W., Monaco F., Domingo M. 2011. Epizootic Heamorragic Disease. Res. Vet. Sci. 91: 1-17.

3. Kariithi H.M., Binepal Y.S., Wilson W. C., Soi R.K., Ateya L.O., Oriko A. A. Sero-surveillance of Rift Valley fever in sheep and goat flocks in high-risk areas in Kenya. Kenya Vet. J. Accepted 2010.

4. Zhang, H., Harpster, M.H., Park, H.J. and Johnson, P.J. and Wilson W.C. 2011. Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering Detection of Viral DNA using Magnetic Capture of Raman Active Gold Nanoparticles. Anal. Chem. 83: 254-260.

5. Neng, J., Harpster, M.H., Mecham, J.O., Wilson, W.C., Johnson, P. 2010. Highly sensitive SERS-based detection of WNV E antigen using Au nanoparticles. (*Contributed equally to work) Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 26: 1009-1015.

6. Clavijo, A., Sun, F., Lester, T., Jasperson, D.C. and Wilson, W.C. 2010. A real-time polymerase chain reaction for the simultaneous detection of all serotypes of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease Virus. J. Vet. Diagn. Invest. 22: 588-593.

7. Wilson, W. C., Hindson, B.J., O'Hearn, E.S., Hall, S., Tellgren-Roth, C., Torres, C., Naraghi-Arani, P., Mecham, J.O. and Lenhoff, R.J. A multiplex real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction assay for detection and differentiation of Bluetongue virus and Epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus serogroups. J. Vet. Diagn. Invest. 21: 760-770. 2009.

8. Linthicum, K., Anyamba A., Britch S.C., Chretien, J.P., Erickson, R.L., Small J., Tucker C.J., Bennett K.E., Mayer R.T., Schmidtmann E.T., Andreadis T.G., Anderson J., Wilson W. C., Freier J., James A., Miller R., Drolet B.S., Miller S., Tedrow C., Bailey C., Strickman D.A., Barnard D.R,, Clark G.G., Zou L. A Rift Valley fever risk surveillance system for Africa using remotely sensed data: Potential for use on other continents. Vet. Ital. 43: 663-674. 2007.

9. Wilson, W.C., Bernard, K.A., Israel, B.A. and Mecham. J. O. Bluetongue virus serotype 17 sequence variation associated with neutralization. DNA Sequence 19: 237-240. 2008.

10. Balasuriya, U.B., Nadler, S.A., Wilson, W.C., Pritchard, L.I., Smythe, A.B., Savini, G., Monaco, F., De Santis, P., Zhang, N., Tabachnick, W.J., Maclachlan, N.J., The NS3 proteins of global strains of bluetongue virus evolve into regional topotypes through negative (purifying) selection. Vet. Microbiol. 126: 91-100. 2008.

11. Wilson, W.C., Letchworth, G.J., Jimenez, C., Herrero, M. V., Navarro, R. Paz, P., Cornish, T.E., Smoliga, G.R., Pauszek, S., Dornak, C., George, M., and Rodriguez, L.L. Field evaluation of a multiplex real-time RT-PCR For vesicular stomatitis virus. J. Vet. Diagn. Invest. 21:179-185. 2009.

12. Campbell, C. L., K. A. Vandyke, et al. (2005). "Midgut and salivary gland transcriptomes of the arbovirus vector Culicoides sonorensis (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae)." Insect Mol. Biol. 14(2): 121-36

13. Campbell, C. L., D. L. Mummey, et al. (2004). "Culture-independent analysis of midgut microbiota in the arbovirus vector Culicoides sonorensis (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae)." J. Med. Entomol. 41(3): 340-8.

14. Campbell, C. L. and W. C. Wilson (2002). "Differentially expressed midgut transcripts in Culicoides sonorensis (Diptera: ceratopogonidae) following Orbivirus (reoviridae) oral feeding." Insect Mol. Biol. 11(6): 595-604

15. Wilson, W.C., Ma, H. C., Venter, E., van Djik, A., Seal, B.S. and Mecham, J.O. 2000. Phylogenetic relationships of bluetongue viruses based on gene s7. Virus Res., 67:141-151. Erratum, Virus Res 73:201-202.

16. Brodie S.J., W.C Wilson, P.M. O'Hearn, D. Muthui, Diem K. and L.D. Pearson. 1998. The effects of pharmacological and lentivirus-induced immune suppression on orbivirus pathogenesis: assessment of virus burden in blood monocytes and tissues by reverse transcription-in situ PCR. J. Virol. 72:5599-5609.

17. Xu G., W.C. Wilson, J.O. Mecham, K.E. Murphy, E.M. Zhou and W.T. Tabachnick. 1997. VP7: an attachment protein of bluetongue virus for cellular receptors in Culicoides variipennis. J. Gen. Virol. 78:1617-1623.

18. Cheney I.W., M. Yamakawa, P. Roy, J.O. Mecham, and W.C. Wilson. 1996. Molecular characterization of the segment 2 gene of epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus serotype 2: gene sequence and genetic diversity. Virology 224:555-560.

19. Jensen M.J., I.W. Cheney, L.H. Thompson, J.O. Mecham, W.C. Wilson, M. Yamakawa, P. Roy and B.M. Gorman. 1994. The smallest gene of the orbivirus, epizootic hemorrhagic disease is expressed in virus-infected cells as two proteins and the expression differs from that of the cognate gene of bluetongue virus. Virus Res. 32:353-364.

20. Coen M.L., J.A. Ellis, T.D. O'Toole and W.C. Wilson. 1991. Cytokine modulation of the interaction between bluetongue virus and endothelial cells in vitro. Vet. Pathol. 28:524-532.