Along with fellow CALS alumnus Dave Redell (see story, The Dark Night), Blehert is engaged in the scientific quest to understand white-nose syndrome, the skin infection that has killed more than 1 million bats in the northeastern United States since 2007. Blehert is head of the diagnostic microbiology lab at the U.S. Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center, where his team recently identified a new species of fungus that causes the skin infection that is a hallmark of white-nose syndrome. They are now running more tests to determine conclusively if the fungus is behind the disease and how prevalent it is in the environment. The USGS facility monitors the emergence and spread of other wildlife infections, as well, including avian flu and the West Nile virus.
Wisconsin's Magazine for the Life Sciences