New Veterinary College Faculty Seeks Improved Cancer Diagnostic Tools | VTx
Priscila Serpa recently joined the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine as an Assistant Research Professor in Clinical Pathology.
Serpa is the newest member of the college’s robust research program, which covers disease research, veterinary clinical research, public health research, and more. In its research and teaching, the college uses One Health, a transdisciplinary approach that recognizes the interconnected nature of human and animal health.
After earning his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Master of Science and Doctor of Science degree from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre, Brazil, Serpa held a postdoctoral position at Cornell University and completed his residency and a second master’s degree at Purdue University.
Serpa’s research is focused on improving diagnostic tools with a focus on oncology.
“My research can have a direct impact on the health of any pet [like dogs, cats, and horses], and maybe even humans in the future, because the earlier we diagnose cancer, the greater the chance of survival, ”she said.
Serpa’s research projects use liquid biopsy, the minimally invasive procedure that removes fluid from the body and tests it. In one project, Serpa is looking to use liquid biopsy to identify cancer early in the neoplastic process. Serpa hopes to identify cancerous DNA in the blood in order to predict the patient’s prognosis and assess the best chemotherapy protocol.
In another project, Serpa is using matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI-TOF) time-of-flight equipment to attempt to identify the unique ‘fingerprint’ of tumor cells so that they can be identified in the tumor cells. blood samples in advanced leukemia and lymphoma or during metastasis.
“Dr. Serpa’s experience will enable her to develop valuable collaborations between clinicians and basic scientists. In addition to her research background, she is an excellent diagnostician and is interested in the development of new tests, which will increase the ability to ViTALS test in the Clinical Pathology section. She is an enthusiastic and engaging speaker, and clinical internship students will love her teaching style, “said Tanya LeRoith, Clinical Professor of Anatomical Pathology and Director of ViTALS, the laboratory of interdisciplinary diagnosis on site at the college.
“We are delighted that Dr Serpa has joined our service. It brings an additional level of expertise to our clinical research program which will boost our applied research activity. Her interest in cancer diagnostics will certainly complement ViTALS and her ability to serve our veterinary clients and the Animal Cancer Research and Care Center, ”said Margie Lee, head of the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology.
Written by Sarah Boudreau MFA ’21, writer with the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine