Dr. Trujillo is a veterinary microbiologist specializing in molecular medicine, virology and immunology. She attained her PhD from Washington State University, WSU, Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology. Formally trained as a veterinary pathologist (WSU), she is educated and experienced in the recognition of infectious agents, the pathogenesis of disease and host-pathogen interactions. Her academic appointment is within two departments within the College of Veterinary Medicine; Veterinary Microbiology and Preventative Medicine, and Veterinary Diagnostics and Production Animal Medicine. Previously, she held a assistant professor position at Utah State University (USU) in the Department of Animal, Dairy and Veterinary Science. Responsibilities of this position included clinical service as the Veterinary Microbiologist and Section Head of the Molecular Diagnostics, Bacteriology and Serology of the Utah Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.
Dr. Trujillo’s research efforts remain centered on the mission of One Health/One Medicine. Relevant aspects of One Health and her research efforts revolve around improving human health by improving animal health through infectious disease surveillance, molecular epidemiological studies, and the development of preventative and therapeutic vaccines. Nearly all of the emerging infectious diseases in the last 20 years are derived from animal pathogens, and 60 to 70% of animal pathogens can be transmitted to humans.
The threat of emerging infectious diseases to global health continues to increase due to globalization allowing pathogens to be rapidly transported large distances, and increased contact between wild and domestic animal species. Additionally, a significant number of human infections are acquired through the consumption of animal products or plant products contaminated with animal and/or human waste. Also, many pathogens occurring in animals have infectious counter parts in humans, providing a source of animal models of human diseases and unfortunately, biological sources of genetic material for the development of recombinants or the emergence of novel deadly pathogens. Therefore, a preventative strategy to improve animal health will improve human health. Thus, Dr. Trujillo’s current and previous research efforts are centered on 5 areas:
- The development and implementation of molecular and immunological methods
- Molecular epidemiology
- Novel technology for infectious disease surveillance
- Novel vaccine design
- The development of pathogen and specimen banks for the completion of molecular epidemiological studies to attain essential data to aid in vaccine and diagnostic test development.
Molecular epidemiologic studies will also discover routes of pathogen transmission for the development of methods to prevent transmission or predict emergent events. These studies will also investigate genetic events leading to increasing pathogen virulence, host adaptation, immune escape and drug resistance development. This information is paramount in the development of effective immunization and treatment strategies as well as the development of new detection methods. Molecular studies involving whole genomic amplification utilizing next generation sequencing technology will also aid in the prediction and identification of emergent infectious agents and greatly advance our understanding of host pathogen interactions. Prevention or rapid detection of an emergent event will greatly curtail the devastating effects of an emerging infectious disease or bioterrorism event which includes loss of life and significant economic losses.