Infectious Diseases

Our expertise

Massey University's research interests include a broad range of areas related to infectious diseases of veterinary and public health importance.

We are interested in all aspects of infectious diseases in a wide range of animal species including cats, dogs, horses, ruminants as well as wildlife. These include diseases caused by bacteria, fungi, parasites or viruses.

Our research projects range from investigations of the basic biology of selected pathogens to diagnosis, pathogenesis, treatment and epidemiology. The researchers in our group have a range of skills including both traditional and modern molecular methods.

Our capabilities and facilities

The Infectious Disease Group at Massey's School of Veterinary Science has well-equipped modern laboratories including a dedicated PC2 virology laboratory, microbiology laboratory, serology laboratory, parasitology laboratory and a number of ancillary rooms such as clean PCR room, media kitchen and autoclave room. The academic staff members in our group are supported by 2 microbiology technicians, 1 virology technician, 2 parasitology technicians, 1 molecular biology technician and 1 general technician. We are equipped to perform a number of technical tasks including:

  • Cell culture
  • Culture, purification, concentration and titration of viruses
  • Various serological assays including ELISA, virus neutralisation, western blotting and others.
  • Bacterial culture and identification
  • Diagnostic parasitology
  • Molecular techniques including nucleic acid- and protein-based techniques such as PCR and real-time PCR, analysis of gene expression, DNA/RNA/protein electrophoresis, Southern/northern/western blotting, cloning, in-situ hybridization, immunohistochemistry and others

Our research interests

Viral and bacterial diseases endemic in New Zealand pet animals (cats, dogs and horses). Examples include molecular characterization of canine parvoviruses and equine herpesviruses in New Zealand, elucidation of host-virus interactions between cats and the feline immunodeficiency virus, investigation of the effects of injection site on development of immunity following vaccination of cats or determination of the in-vitro effects of different lysine/arginine concentrations on replication of feline herpesvirus 1.

  • Viral and bacterial diseases endemic in New Zealand farm animals. Examples include infectious diarrhoea (rotavirus, cryptosporidiosis, campylobacteriosis) in animals and humans.
  • Avian diseases such as avian pox, malaria, or infections with polyomaviruses and paramyxoviruses.
  • Investigation of novel viral agents: Examples of projects under this category include investigation of novel equine respiratory viruses using next generation sequencing platform, characterisation of novel animal papillomavirues, and identification of a novel nidovirus in archival tissues from possums affected by a neurological disease termed wobbly possum disease.
  • Epidemiology and diagnosis of apicomplexan protozoa especially cryptosporidia, neospora, toxoplasma, Theileria spp and coccidia infections and their impact on animal health in New Zealand.  
  • Gastrointestinal nematodes of ruminants (sheep, cattle and red deer), horses and companion animals, with particular regard to issues around achieving sustainable parasite control in the face of anthelmintic resistance.
  • Ethical and practical issues relating to complementary and alternative medicines in veterinary practice and organic farming.


  • Associate Professor Magda Dunowska

    Associate Professor Magda Dunowska

    Team Manager - Academic - School of Veterinary Science


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