StMU Research Scholars

Featuring Scholarly Research, Writing, and Media at St. Mary's University
November 2, 2023

A Bioinformatic Approach to “Zombie Deer” Prion Disease

I would like to thank Dr. Lori Boies for her guidance and feedback that gave me confidence to continue with researching this topic. Bioinformatics is a field that is rapidly growing and evolving, so I’m grateful for the opportunity to contribute and inform others of its importance. To my anonymous peer editors, thank you for your comments and feedback, as they made revision much less stressful for me. Finally, I’d like to thank Dr. Gary Ogden, for making me aware of this issue and its recent appearance in cities like San Antonio.

Sophia Torres-Vasquez

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Recent Comments


  • Gonzalez Elizabeth

    What a beautifully designed infographic! Your infographic caught my attention because I have never heard about the prion disease. I found it interesting that you discussed the use of databases and computers to analyze the spread of the disease. I was unsure about bioinformatics until I read your infographic, but I now understand that it involves using computers to obtain and analyze scientific data, such as genes. Undoubtedly, bioinformatics is required to close significant information gaps about diseases such as “zombie deer.” This definitely contributes to the area of science as it is always developing. I believe that the pandemic has made us particularly aware of the significance of disease control and the ways we can research more on how to be aware of outbreaks and suitable methods to stay in control. 

  • How fascinating! The organization of your infographic makes it easy to read and understand such an interesting topic. I knew someone affected by CJD and seeing how fatal it is from your infographic really highlights the importance of understanding its origin and transmission (which I find fascinating that it can be passed from other species!). It is encouraging to know that this bioinformatics field of study can bring a lot of insight and analysis of the causes so that we are able to combat it and diseases like it.

  • This is such a good infographic, and I can clearly see why. Not only is the topic very unique, but the information itself is very detailed and easy to understand. Not many people think about neurological disorders of other animals, so I found this very interesting as a topic. It is a good thing to spread awareness of CWS not just for the sake of the deers, but also in case it may spread to humans one day, if some other animal with a similar prion genes as us.

  • Elizabeth Santos

    Hey Sophia, congrats on your award for best infographic! Your infographic is really interesting and I like how you connected such a unique topic to a field that many of us do not know much about. Bioinformatics is certainly needed to fill in important gaps in knowledge relating to conditions like “zombie deer”. I think we have especially realized the importance of disease control in light of the pandemic, so this really adds to an evolving scientific field.

  • jdelafuente6

    This is such a well-put-together infographic! I just learned a little about this deer prion in immunology, so your infographic caught my eye! I thought it was cool how you were able to talk about how databases and computers were analyzing how the disease is transferred. Before reading your info-graph, I wasn’t quite sure what bioinformatics was, but now I know it has to do with computer technology accessing/analyzing the sciences, like genetics. I have a friendly suggestion for you; you should consider making the part about deer meat, and how it should be processed at the TPWD station, a little bigger. I think that part is super important and not a lot of people are aware of that. Overall, this infographic was great, and it aligns perfectly with what I learned about in Immunology class.

  • A'marie Pollard

    I knew I this infographic was going to be interesting as soon as I heard zombie. I love the style of the infographic and I learned that deer’s can carry a disease that make them appear in a zombie like trance. I think this is especially important for people who like to hunt they should be careful of any deer’s that appear sickly because they can carry the CWS disease. Good Job loved the infographic!

  • Atziry Juarez

    I like the visuals on your infographic! They make it easy to follow what you are saying. I really like how you explained what the “Zombie deer disease” was because I was unaware of such a thing!. I was wondering if there has been any research on how this disease gets to the animals? Is it because of what they eat? Or is it transmitted from animal to animal?. Overall your infographic was great! It’s really important to keep people and most importantly hunters aware of the risks they may face if they do not take the deers to a TPWD before harvesting them.

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