Julia Giles

Doctor of Philosophy, (Animal Science)
Study Completed: 2018
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Characterization of the putative wobbly possum disease virus

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Wobbly possum disease is a severe neurological disease that was discovered to affect Australian brushtail possums in New Zealand. Although the disease was first reported some 20 years ago, the causal agent remained a mystery until 2012 when a virus, termed wobbly possum disease virus, was discovered in tissues from diseased possums. The identification of this virus raised the possibility of its suitability for biological control of this species. However, in order to entertain such an idea, a better understanding of the characteristics of the virus was required. Ms Giles characterised wobbly possum disease virus using a range of virological techniques. Her results provided strong evidence that the virus is linked to the development of severe neurological disease in possums, provided understanding of the biological properties of the virus, and confirmed that the virus is circulating in wild possum populations in New Zealand.

Associate Professor Magda Dunowska
Professor Wendi Roe
Dr Matthew Perrott