Animal Science Student Recognized at International Conference for Cystic Fibrosis Research

Iuri Perisse, a doctoral student in Utah State University’s Department of Animal, Dairy and Veterinary Sciences, was recently recognized for having the best student poster at the International Embryo Technology Society’s annual conference.

Perisse studies animal molecular genetics and his poster showcased work on producing a sheep model for cystic fibrosis, a progressive, hereditary disease that affects 70,000 people worldwide. The disease affects the lungs, pancreas and other organs, causing persistent lung infections and inhibiting the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food. The animal model will eventually be used to develop new therapeutics, medicines, and generally improve the quality of life for those affected by cystic fibrosis.

The conference brings academics, scientists and others engaged in embryo technology together to share their research and learn about developments in the industry. Skilled scientists presented recent work in oral presentations and roughly 230 posters, including those from students, post-docs and other researchers, were presented in the poster session.

Perrise’s was selected as one of the top 10 student posters and then had the opportunity to present his research. As someone who is knowledgeable about cystic fibrosis and the work USU researchers have put into the model, he said, “I try my best to [share] that knowledge and make them see how important it is to have a model for this disease.”

Animal science Professor Irina Polejaeva, who has attended the annual conference since 1995, took all members of her lab to participate. She believes that attending conferences of this nature is particularly valuable for students and young faculty members, but a good experience for anyone. She said, “You have a chance to learn what’s happening in other labs, as well as present your research and interact with other researchers.”

Polejaeva’s lab, which Perisse is a part of, focuses on two main research areas: 1) developing large animal models for biomedical and agricultural applications and 2) understanding the molecular mechanisms of epigenetic reprogramming.