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.