Meet the Winners:

Dr. Elis Fisk

2024 BioOne Ambassador

BioOne Ambassador Award

Draw and Learn: A Bighorn Sheep Mystery

This video is in reference to:

Abortion and Neonatal Mortality Due to Toxoplasma gondii in Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis)

Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 59(1): 37-48 (2023)
Elis A. Fisk, E. Frances Cassirer, Katey S. Huggler, Allan P. Pessier, Laura A. White, Joshua D. Ramsay, Elizabeth W. Goldsmith, Holly R. Drankhan, Rebecca M. Wolking, Kezia R. Manlove, Todd Nordeen, John T. Hogg, Kyle R. Taylor

Dr. Elis Fisk

Dr. Elis Fisk

Draw and Learn: A Bighorn Sheep Mystery
Nominated by the Wildlife Disease Association
As a veterinarian in a combined PhD program and anatomic pathology residency, I’m driven by a wonder for and curiosity about the workings of the natural world – from the way that species interact in an ecosystem, down to the way cells cooperate to maintain the health of an individual organism.

What drew you to the research topic you explored in your submission?

There is something about bighorn sheep that captures the imagination—their majestically curling horns, the alert gaze of their amber eyes, the way they dance across cliffsides. I was fortunate enough to see them roaming free in British Columbia when I was a kid. But with the challenges that bighorn sheep conservation has faced since those encounters so many years ago, I wonder if I would be so lucky today. When our team began to identify toxoplasmosis as a cause of pregnancy loss and lamb death, I knew I had to get the word out to others who care about the bighorn sheep. When it comes to conservation, every bit of knowledge helps.

How do you see your work contributing to public policy, citizen science, and/or science education more broadly?

Toxoplasmosis had not been known to cause pregnancy loss in bighorn sheep until now. Data on the diseases that impact bighorn sheep is essential in shaping species management strategies and conservation policies. The better we understand the challenges that bighorn sheep face, the more effectively we can target conservation efforts to help their populations recover.

What are your continuing research goals for the future (near and/or far)? What topics, areas, subjects are you interested in exploring?

Within and beyond my PhD and residency, I hope to continue using my research and diagnostic skills to help biologists gather data on the diseases that impact wildlife—from bighorn sheep to sturgeon and anything in between. At the same time, I’d like to continue to help educate the next generation of veterinarians in the realm of pathology, disease detection, and the impact of pathogens on both domestic and wildlife species.


Dr. Elis Fisk

For information about the Wildlife Disease Association, please visit their website:
Wildlife Disease Association

For questions about BioOne or the BioOne Ambassador Award, please contact:
Amanda Rogers

BioOne Publishing
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