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Mad cow disease experts at UC Davis

By Pat Bailey on February 10, 2012 in

Two Northern California residents were recently diagnosed as having a type of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease that is sometimes associated with mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). The following UC Davis experts are available to answer questions about mad cow and associated diseases.

Diseases caused by prion proteins

Christina Sigurdson is an assistant professor in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, based at UC San Diego as part of the UC Veterinary Medical Center - San Diego. Her research focuses on the molecular basis of a group of diseases, including BSE and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which are caused by proteins called prions. She studies the genetic and the environmental factors that influence prion transmission. Contact: Christina Sigurdson, UCVMC - SD, (858) 534-0978,

Beef cattle

John Maas, a UC Davis Cooperative Extension veterinarian, is a national expert on raising animals for food, particularly for beef. He also has been an active cattle rancher for 40 years. Maas has been to several European countries on a USDA mission to review mad cow disease/BSE diagnosis, testing and control systems. He is a frequent speaker to consumer, beef producer and veterinary groups and to the media. Maas can discuss U.S. cattle-tracking methods and disease-surveillance programs from regulatory, industry and university perspectives. Contact: John Maas, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, (530) 752-3990,

Media contact(s)

Pat Bailey, Research news (emphasis: agricultural and nutritional sciences, and veterinary medicine), 530-219-9640,