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Dr. Joy Tomlinson, Renowned Equine Hepatitis Virus Researcher, Receives AAEP Research

Dec 7, 2021

The American Association of Equine Practitioners presented its 2021 AAEP Research Award to Joy Tomlinson, DVM, DACVIM, whose groundbreaking research into the four recently discovered equine hepatitis viruses has revolutionized the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of equine liver disease

The AAEP Research Award recognizes an individual who has completed research that has or will make a significant impact on the diagnosis, treatment or prevention of equine disease. Dr. Tomlinson was recognized December 7 during the AAEP’s 2021 Annual Convention & Trade Show.

Dr. Tomlinson is a Ph.D. candidate, research associate and lecturer at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, from which she received her veterinary degree in 2010. Following graduation, she completed a large animal internal medicine residency at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center before returning to Cornell in 2014 as a clinician in the university’s Equine Hospital and research associate at the Baker Institute for Animal Health.

Dr. Tomlinson’s seminal research demonstrates Equine Parvovirus (EqPV-H) as the cause of Theiler’s disease, a frequently fatal acute hepatitis disease of horses that has baffled the veterinary community for over a century. Her research shows that transmission is possible not only by serum or other biological products contaminated by the virus from infected horses, but also by natural means such as direct contact.

In addition, Dr. Tomlinson’s research into the immune response of horses following equine hepacivirus (EqHV) infection has significantly advanced understanding of the equine immune system. Meanwhile, her landmark research into two recently discovered equine pegiviruses confirm that these viruses are not hepatropic and do not cause liver disease, but instead cause non-clinical persistent infection in the bone marrow of horses.

“Dr. Tomlinson’s research focus is on the investigation of equine viral hepatitis. She has become the recognized world leader in this research area while also continuing her clinical work in internal medicine,” said nominator Dr. Thomas Divers. “Dr. Tomlinson’s 2 ½ years of research on these four viruses has been extraordinary and answered many questions regarding the biology and clinical significance of these viral infections in horses.”

About AAEP

The American Association of Equine Practitioners, headquartered in Lexington, Ky., was founded in 1954 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the health and welfare of the horse. Currently, AAEP reaches more than 5 million horse owners through its over 9,000 members worldwide and is actively involved in ethics issues, practice management, research and continuing education in the equine veterinary profession and horse industry.