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Agriculture Secretary Announces Research Funding to Combat Chronic Wasting Disease in PA Deer


Harrisburg, PA - Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding today announced $1 million in grants awarded to three innovative research projects to help detect and better understand Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in order to stop its spread among Pennsylvania deer. 

“Scientists have made significant progress toward better understanding Chronic Wasting Disease in isolating genes associated with the disease,” Redding said. “These projects show potential to build on that progress by speeding diagnosis, helping scientists better understand how CWD progresses and ultimately, learn how to keep it from spreading.”

Funded projects are:

  • Exploring the potential of working dogs to detect CWD in deer feces, funded at $242,246. The project will be led by Dr. Cynthia M. Otto, professor and director of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine Working Dog Center.
  • Development and testing of live-animal tests to detect CWD, funded and $561,000. The project will be led by University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine biochemistry professor Dr. Anna Kashina.
  • Development of live-animal tests to detect CWD, led by Dr. Davin M. Henderson, a protein chemist and founder of CWD Evolution, LLC. The project is funded at $196,754.

The department oversees Pennsylvania’s deer farming industry and conducts diagnostic tests to determine whether deer that have died were CWD-infected. The department also offers genetic screening to help deer farmers determine how likely their deer are to contract the disease. Learn more about the department’s CWD program at

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