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Miguel Saggese, DVM, MS, PhD


Assistant Professor, Veterinary Microbiology/Avian, Exotic, and Wildlife Medicine

College of Veterinary Medicine

E-Mail: msaggese@westernu.edu

Phone: 706-3532 |

Education

PhD, Microbiology, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas USA, 2007
Mentors:          

MS, Veterinary Medicine - Infectious Diseases Track. College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, Minnesota USA, 2004
Mentor:            Dr. Patrick T. Redig DVM, PhD

Residency in Avian Medicine, Anesthesia and Surgery, The Raptor Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, 2002-2004

Internship in Avian Medicine, Anesthesia and Surgery, The Raptor Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, 2001-2002

DVM, College of Veterinary Sciences, University of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1995

Certification

Certified Avian Influenza Response Instructor, National Centre for Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Diseases Defence, Texas A&M University and Wildlife Health Center - UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, 2006

Certified Endangered Species Recovery Management Team, Management and recovery of endangered species. Wildlife Preservation Trust, University of Jujuy, Durrell Preservation Trust and the Royal Society of London, 2001

Certified Conservation Biology, Conservation biology and applied techniques, University of Jujuy, Jujuy, Argentina, 1999

Professional Experience

2007 - Present

Assistant Professor – Microbiology, Infectious Diseases, Avian and Wildlife Medicine,

College of Veterinary Medicine,  
Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, California

2004-2007

PhD candidate
Graduated Research Assistant
Teaching Assistant

The Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center,
Department of Veterinary Pathobiology
College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University
College Station, Texas

Dissertation: Molecular diversity, pathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment of avian mycobacteriosis.
Committee Chair: Dr. Ian Tizard
Research focused on the molecular diversity, diagnosis, pathology and treatment of avian mycobacteriosis

2002-2004

Master of Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, Infectious Diseases Track.

Graduate School, University of Minnesota

Thesis: Effect of three different West Nile virus vaccines in Japanese quail (Coturnix c. japonica)
Committee Chair: Dr. Patrick T. Redig
Research focused on the immunogenicity of West Nile virus vaccines in birds and the use of Raptors for West Nile virus biosurveillance.

2002-2004

Residency in Avian Medicine, Anaesthesia, and Surgery
Teaching Assistant

The Raptor Center
College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota

Responsible for preventive, surgical and medical care of raptors and other species of birds admitted at The Raptor Center. Training of DVM students, veterinarian interns and externs visiting The Raptor Center 

2001-2002

Internship in Avian Medicine, Anaesthesia, and Surgery
Teaching Assistant

The Raptor Center
College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota

Responsible for preventive, surgical and medical care of raptors and other species of birds admitted at TRC. Responsible for all necropsies and gross pathology diagnosis. Training of DVM students, veterinarian interns and externs visiting The Raptor Center

2000-2004

Clinical Professor (Ayudante de Primera). Exotic Animal Service

College of Veterinary Sciences, University of Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Responsible for the medical diagnosis and treatment of reptiles, birds, rabbits and rodents presented to the Exotic Animal Service. Teaching, outreach programs and research.

1995-2001

Small and Exotic Animal Practice

Private practice
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Small and exotic animal medicine, emergency, critical care and surgery

Academic Interests

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases
  • Avian immunology and immunopathology
  • Population Impact of Wildlife Diseases
  • One Health and Eco Health
  • Zoonoses and Public Health
  • Wildlife Diseases
  • Exotic Animal Hematology, Infectious Diseases, Anesthesia and Surgery
  • Birds of Prey Ecology, Migration, Conservation and Biomedicine

Research Interest

My research interest focuses on studying, understanding, and quantifying the lethal and non-lethal effects of macro and microparasites and environmental pollutants on wild raptors (AVES: Falconiformes; Estrigiformes) populations. As top food chain predators, and given their diverse feeding habits, biomes inhabited and other ecological conditions, predators can become exposed to a larger catalogue of infectious agents and environmental pollutants as compared to other non-predatory species. West Nile virus, Trichomonas spp., lead spent ammunition and anticoagulant rodenticides are just a few examples. My goals are not only to understand the effects of epizootias on raptors populations, but to measure the less evident effects of common avian pathogenand environmental pollutants on their population dynamics. How do these infectious agents affect several aspects of raptors natural history and ecology? What are the non-lethal effects on their physiology and immune function? How can these effects be measured? How do we detect the presence of disease in a population? Are raptors effective indicators of an ecosystem’s health? These are some of the questions my lab seeks to answer in the long term. Furthermore, the long term impact of these pathogens and pollutants on raptor populations and their conservation are not clearly understood and are subjects of my research. Equally important is the potential use of raptors for biosurveillance and monitoring of zoonotic infectious and parasitic diseases such as West Nile virus, Avian Influenza, and Toxoplasmosis worldwide. Given their easy capture, fidelity to nesting territories (which makes them easily found year after year), relative abundance, size, and the possibility to collect large amounts of blood and other biomedical samples with minimally invasive methods raptors are an excellent model to work with.

My research on raptors is conducted in two different geographic regions and ecological habitats: southern California, USA; and southern Patagonia, Argentina. In recent years, I have established a network of raptor biologists, private, government, and university research labs that is increasing and contributing to my studies in California. In southern Patagonia, I have established a Wildlife Research Station where I have worked seasonally during the last three years. While raptors are the main focus of my research, the collaboration with ranch owners, state wildlife agencies, and other local institutions there could foster and enhance additional research opportunities on a wide catalog of wildlife. This could create potential research opportunities for other faculty interested in wildlife diseases and the interactions between wildlife, humans, and domesticated cattle

Another line of investigation I am pursuing, still in the same field of avian diseases, focuses on the molecular epidemiology, diagnosis, immunopathogenesis, and treatment of several infectious and parasitic diseases that affect companion and wild birds. Recently, I conducted bench-work investigating the molecular epidemiology of avian mycobacteriosis, a deadly disease of psittacines, doves, and other aviary birds. Moreover, and as result of the field work with Californian raptors, I started to investigate the molecular epidemiology of Trichomonas spp., a protozoo responsible for a disease typically found in birds of prey, trichomonosis.

Mentoring students in research has been always been a priority in my life. Since 2008, I have been fortunate enough to mentor and work with five different DVM students on summer research projects here at Western U. This time of the year has been very effective to pursue seasonal research (southern Californian raptors) while mentoring students. Two of them received funding from Morris Animal Foundation and the other three were supported by a University Summer Student Research Grant.

Research Grant

GRANTS AND FUNDED RESEARCH


College of Veterinary Medicine, Western University of Health Sciences Research and Biotechnology office.
Health status of southern California Raptors and the impact of diseases and environmental pollutants on their population decline.
Principal Investigator, 2012, $10,000

College of Veterinary Medicine, Western University of Health Sciences
Research and Biotechnology office Health status of Austral peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus cassini) in southern Patagonia, Argentina and the impact of diseases on its breeding success and conservation.
Principal Investigator, 2011, $4,000

College of Veterinary Medicine, Western University of Health Sciences
Health status of Austral peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus cassini) in southern Patagonia, Argentina and the impact of diseases on its population status, breeding success and conservation.
Principal Investigator, 2010, $5,000

LA Zoo and Botanical Garden
Survey of lead toxicosis in raptors from Central and Southern Argentina.
Principal Investigator, 2009, $4,000

CSREES-NRI-Competitive Grants Program.
Impact of immune responses of chickens with defined B haplotypes on resistance to respiratory coronavirus infection.
Ellen W. Collisson (PI), Miguel Saggese (Co-Inv), et al., 2008, $375,000

Western University of Health Sciences
Intramural grant. Interferon Genes in the Sexual chromosome of Color- Defined Ring-neck Dove (Streptopelia risoria) Strains and their potential association with susceptibility to Mycobacterial Infections 
Principal Investigator, 2008, $7,000

The Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center
Health parameters of captive and free-ranging Crowned Eagles (Harpyhalieatus coronatus) In Argentina.
Miguel D. Saggese (Co-principal Investigator, with Dr. Agustin Quaglia), 2006-2010, $12,000

Association of Avian Veterinarians
Research Grants. Investigation into the Immunopathogenesis, ante-mortem diagnosis and etiology of avian mycobacteriosis.
Principal Investigator, 2005, $3,000

College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota.
Small Animal Research Grants, Research project “Clinical, pathological and immunohistochemical investigation of various species of birds of prey naturally infected with West Nile Virus with special emphasis in ocular lesions”,
Dr. Arno Wunschmann (PI), Miguel Saggese (Co-Inv), 2003, $5,000

Wildlife Conservation Society-Field Veterinarian Program
Research project: “Health Evaluation Status of Free Ranging Raptors in Argentina”.
Principal Investigator, 2000, $5,000

Argentine Wildlife Foundation
Research project: “Breeding ecology of three raptor species from southern Patagonia”.
Principal Investigator, 1987, $2,000

Awards

  • Phi Zeta Veterinary Honor Society, 2009
  • Pfizer Award for Research Excellence, 2009
    The Pfizer Animal Health Award for Research Excellence, established in 1985 is given to those faculty members who, through their dedication and investigation in research, are chosen from among their peers as an outstanding researcher in the field of veterinary medicine.
  • Association of Avian Veterinarians, 2007-2011
    For outstanding service and commitment to advancing and promoting avian medicine and stewardship.

Committees

Western University of Health Sciences

  • CVM Faculty Affairs Committee (2008-2011)
  • CVM Research Advisory Committee (2008-2011) Chair 2010-2011
  • CVM Admissions Committee (2008-2011)
  • University Research Committee 2009-
  • IACUC committee 2011-2015
  • Associate Dean for Research Search Committee 2010
  • Faculty Position (Food Safety) Search Committee 2012
  • Advisor, ZWEACC student club 2007-

Association of Avian Veterinarians

  • Board of Directors 2008-2011
  • Advisory Council 2011-2012
  • Scholarship Committee 2007- present (chair since 2010)
  • Research Committee 2008- present
  • Conservation Committee 2007-2010

Raptor Research Foundation

  • Board of Directors 2007-2013
    • Director for Southern Hemisphere (2007-2010)
    • Director at Large (2011-2013)
  • Strengthening Ornithology in North America (RRF Liaison 2010)
  • North American Ornithological Conference 2012 (Students Presentations Committee)

Wildlife Diseases Association Conference 2010

  • Scientific program Committee

Eagle Conservation Alliance

  • Founding member
  • Steering committee
  • Conferences organizer

Publication

SELECTED PEER-REVIEWED PUBLICATIONS
Dahlhausen, R., D. Soler-Tovar and M.D. Saggese. 2012. Diagnosis of mycobacteriosis in the exotic animal patient. Vet Clinics of North America, 15: 71-83

Buur, J and M.D. Saggese. 2012. Taking a rational approach in the treatment of avian mycobacteriosis. Vet Clinics of North America, 15: 57-70

Saggese M.D., I. Tizard and D.N. Phalen. 2010. Comparison of sampling methods and diagnostic techniques in ring-neck doves (Streptopelia risoria) naturally infected with avian mycobacteriosis. J Avian Medicine and Surgery 24: 263-271

Gomez, G., M.D. Saggese, B.R. Weeks, S.M. Hoppes and B.F. Porter. 2010. Granulomatous intestinal ganglionitis and encephalomyelitis in a Spectacled Amazon parrot (Amazona albifrons) infected with Mycobacterium genavense. J Comparative Pathology 144(2-3):219-222

Saggese M.D. 2009. Clinical approach to the anemic reptile.  J Exotic Pet Medicine 18:98-111

Saggese M.D., A. Quaglia, S. A. Lambertucci, M. S. Bo, J. H. Sarasola, R. Pereyra- Lobos and J, J. Maceda. 2009. Survey of lead toxicosis in free-ranging raptors from central Argentina In: Ingestion of Spent Lead Ammunition: Implications for Wildlife and Humans. (Watson, R.T,  Fuller, M., Pokras, M. and Hunt, W.G., eds.). The Peregrine Fund, Boise, Idaho

Gray, P., M.D. Saggese, D.N. Phalen and I. Tizard. 2008. Humoral response to Mycobacterium avium in naturally infected ringneck doves (Streptopelia risoria). Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology 15; 125(3-4): 216-224

Saggese M.D., I. Tizard and D. N. Phalen. 2008. Mycobacteriosis in naturally infected ring-neck doves (Streptopelia risoria): Investigation of the association of feather color with susceptibility to infection and disease and lesions type. Avian Pathology37(4): 443-450

Saggese, M.D. 2007. Conservation medicine, diseases and birds of prey. Invited paper.
El Hornero - Neotropical Journal of Ornithology, Special issue on Raptors 22 (2): 117-130

Saggese, M.D., Riggs, G., Tizard, I, Bratton, G., Taylor, R., Phalen, D.N. 2007. Gross and microscopic findings and investigation of the aetiopathogenesis of mycobacteriosis in a captive population of white-winged ducks (Cairina scutulata). Avian Pathology 36: 415-422

Saggese, M.D.  2007. West Nile virus infection in Neotropical raptors: should we be concerned? In Neotropical raptors. K.L.Bildstein et al., (Eds).  Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Kempton, PA

Saggese, M.D., R. Noseda, M. Uhart, S. Deem, H. Ferreyra, M.C. Ferreyra-Armas, & M. Romano. 2007. First detection of Bacillus anthracis in feces of free-ranging raptors from central Argentina. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 43: 136-141

Tavernier, P., M.D. Saggese, A. Van Wettere, & P. Redig. 2005. Malaria (Plasmodium relictum) in an eastern screech owl (Megascops asio). Avian Diseases 49: 433-435

Wünschmann, A, J. Shivers, J. Bender, L. Carroll, S. Fuller, M.D. Saggese, A. van Wettere, and P. Redig. 2005. Pathologic and immunohistochemical findings in Goshawks (Accipiter gentiles) and Great Horned Owls (Bubo virginianus) naturally infected with West Nile virus. Avian Diseases 49: 252-259

Wünschmann, A, J. Shivers, J. Bender, L. Carroll, S. Fuller, M.D. Saggese, A. van Wettere, and P. Redig. 2004. Pathologic findings in red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) and Cooper’s hawks (Accipiter cooperi) naturally infected with West Nile virus. Avian Diseases 48:570-580

Saggese, M.D & E. R. De Lucca. 2004. Live mammal prey (Zaedius pichyi) in the nest of the Grey Eagle-Buzzard (Geranoaetus melanoleucus). J Raptor Research 38: 101-102

Saggese, M.D & E. R. De Lucca.2001. Breeding biology of Grey Eagle-Buzzard (Geranoaetus melanoleucus) in southern Patagonia, Argentina. El Hornero - Neotropical Journal of Ornithology 16: 77-84

De Lucca, E. R. & M.D. Saggese.1996. Nesting of Aplomado Falcon (Falco femoralis) in San Luis province. El Hornero - Neotropical Journal of Ornithology 14: 77-80

Saggese, M.D, S. Krapovikas, E. Haene & E, R. De Lucca.1996. Presence of Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) in Argentina y Uruguay. El Hornero - Neotropical Journal of Ornithology 14: 44-49

Saggese, M.D & E. De Lucca.1995. Breeding biology of the Cinereous Harrier (Circus cinereus) in Patagonia. El Hornero - Neotropical Journal of Ornithology 14:21-26

De Lucca, E. R & M.D. Saggese.1995. Siblicide in the Grey Eagle-buzzard (Geranoaetus melanoleucus). El Hornero - Neotropical Journal of Ornithology 14:38-39

De Lucca, E. R & M.D. Saggese.1993. Nesting of American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) in Patagonia. El Hornero - Neotropical Journal of Ornithology 13: 302-305

 

ARTICLES RECENTLY ACCEPTED FOR PUBLICATION
Drechsler, Y., S. Tkalcic, M.D. Saggese, D. Ajithdoss, and E. Collisson. A DNA vaccine expressing env and gag offers partial protection against reticuloendotheliosis virus in the prairie chicken (Tympanicus cupido).  Accepted for publication, Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine

De Lucca, E.R and M.D. Saggese. Parental care and time-activity budget of Black-chested Buzzard-Eagles (Geranoaetus melanoleucus).   Revista Ornitologia Colombiana

 

ARTICLES RECENTLY SUBMITTED FOR PUBLICATION
Banat G, S. Tkalcic, J. Dzielawa, M. Jackwood, M.D. Saggese, L. Yates, R. Kopulos, W.E. Briles, E.W. Collisson. Association of the chicken MHC B haplotypes with resistance to avian coronaviruses. Submitted. Development and Comparative Immunology.

Saggese M.D., I. Tizard, P. Gray, and D. N. Phalen. Efficacy of multi-drug treatment (azithromycin, rifampin and ethambutol) in ring-neck doves (Streptopelia risoria) naturally infected with mycobacteriosis. Submitted. Avian Pathology

 

ARTICLES IN PREPARATION
Quaglia, A.I., L.A. Diaz, H. Argibay, M.S. Contigiani, I. Tizard and M.D. Saggese. Saint Louis Encephalitis and West Nile Viruses antibodies surveillance In free-ranging and captive birds of prey from Argentina.

Saggese, M.D., J. DeBrota, S. Taylor, P.Bloom, N. Komar, J. Papp, and S. Thomas. Preavalence of selected avian pathogens in Southern California raptors.

Saggese, M.D. and A.Quaglia. Hematology, blood chemistry, and prevalence of avian pathogens in Crowend Solitary Eagles (Harpyhaliaetus coronatus)

Saggese, M.D., A. Wünschmann, B. Ritchie, D. Pesti, A. Allison, and P. Redig. Sero-prevalence of West Nile Virus infection and West Nile virus-associated disease in free-ranging nestling and fledgling raptors of the Midwestern United States In 2003

Saggese, M.D., C. Marano and I. Roesler. Ospreys Migrating to Southern South America More Now Than in the Past? Preliminary Evidence from Recent Argentine Records

Saggese, M.D., M. Uhart, H. Ferreyra, P. Halperin, S. Deem, M. Ferreyra-Armas, N. Guida, A. Barboni, M. Romano & E. Moras. Hematology, plasma biochemistry and survey for selected infectious diseases in free-ranging chimango caracaras (Polyborus chimango) from central Argentina

Saggese, M. D., H. Ferreyra, M. Ferreyra-Armas, M. Romano, M. Uhart, S. Deem, , P. Halperin, N. Guida, A. Barboni, & E. Moras. Hematology, plasma biochemistry and survey for selected infectious diseases in free-ranging road-side hawks (Buteo magnirostris) from central Argentina

Saggese, M.D., P. Halperin, M. Uhart, S. Deem, M. Ferreyra-Armas, H. Ferreyra, N.Guida, A. Barboni, M. Romano & E. Moras. Hematology, plasma biochemistry and survey for selected infectious diseases in free-ranging burrowing owls (Speotyto cunicularia) from central Argentina