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Gerlinde Van de Walle, DVM, PhD

Dr. Gerlinde Van de Walle

Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Baker Institute for Animal Health

Harry M. Zweig Assistant Professor in Equine Health

Baker Institute for Animal Health

Lab Website

Baker Institute for Animal Health
235 Hungerford Hill Road
Ithaca, NY 14853

Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
C5 171 Veterinary Medical Center
Ithaca, NY 14853

Office: 607.256.5608

Research Interest

Seeking ways to treat cancer, fight viruses and to improve wound healing

A main focus of Dr. Gerlinde Van de Walle’s research is exploring novel treatments for animal diseases. Currently, her lab is focused on finding drugs suitable for eliminating mammary cancer and ocular herpevirus infections in small companion animals, and evaluating the effectiveness of stem cell therapies for treating skin wounds in horses – all of which may also be used in humans and other animals.

  • Identifying new treatments for canine cancer. In an attempt to identify new drugs to treat mammary cancer in dogs and cats, Van de Walle and her colleagues study the effects of human epigenetic cancer drugs on tumors in dogs and cats. Based on promising results using dog and cat mammary cancer cells grown in the lab, the next steps include the evaluation of these drugs in rodent models of canine and feline mammary cancer and to evaluate the safety of these drugs in healthy dogs and cats. These steps are necessary to push these drugs along to eventual use in treating canine and feline mammary cancer in the clinic. 
  • Identifying novel drugs for feline ocular herpesvirus infections. Feline herpes virus 1 (FHV-1) is a frequent cause of eye infections in cats, but the drugs available to treat these infections must be applied multiple times a day and there is scant scientific evidence to support their use. To predictively test the efficacy of novel antivirals, the Van de Walle lab has developed a cornea model system and used this successfully to show that antiretroviral drug raltegravir, commonly used in humans to treat HIV infections, is also effective against FHV-1 infection. Next steps now include to test the efficacy of this drug in cats with FHV-1 eye infections, and to use the cornea model system for identifying additional drugs against common ocular pathogens in cats.
  • Stem cells to help horse wound healing. Horses are prone to lacerations on their lower legs. These wounds heal slowly, and may lead to “proud flesh”, lumpy overgrowths of tissue that are susceptible to uncontrolled bleeding and bacterial infection. These wounds appear to be similar to the prominent scarring that can occur in humans after surgery. The Van de Walle lab has been testing stem cells to determine whether those could aid the wound healing process in tissue samples in the lab. Their results show that the substances secreted by stem cells can prevent the scarring (proud flesh) from forming and also reduce the severity of existing scars. Van de Walle plans to carry the work forward to testing in horses, and to examine how those treatments may be used in other animals, including humans.


1999 - DVM, Ghent University, Belgium
2003 - Ph.D., Ghent University, Belgium

Biography/Professional Experience

  • 2000–2003 Graduate Research Assistant in the laboratory of Dr. Hans Nauwynck, Department of Virology, Parasitology & Immunology, Ghent University, Belgium
  • 2003–2005 Postdoctoral Researcher in the laboratory of Dr. Hans Deckmyn, Laboratory of Thrombosis Research, University of Leuven, Belgium
  • 2006–2008 Postdoctoral Associate in the laboratory of Dr. Nikolaus Osterrieder, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University
  • 2008–2011 Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Hans Nauwynck, Department of Virology, Parasitology & Immunology, Ghent University, Belgium
  • 2010–2012 Assistant Professor (docent), Department of Comparative Physiology and Biometrics, Ghent University, Belgium
  • 2013–present Assistant Professor, Baker Institute for Animal Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University

Selected Publications

Links and abstracts for all of Dr. Van de Walle’s publications can be found at PubMed.

1. Harman, RM; Yang, S; He, MK; Van de Walle, GR. (2017). Antimicrobial peptides secreted by equine mesenchymal stromal cells inhibit the growth of bacteria commonly found in skin woundsStem Cell Research & Therapy, 8(1).

2. Harman, RM; Bihun, IV; Van de Walle, GR. (2017). Secreted factors from equine mesenchymal stromal cells diminish the effects of TGF-β1 on equine dermal fibroblasts and alter the phenotype of dermal fibroblasts isolated from cutaneous fibroproliferative woundsWound Repair and Regeneration, 25(2), 234-47.

3. Pennington, MR; Van de Walle, GR. (2017). Electric Cell-Substrate Impedance Sensing To Monitor Viral Growth and Study Cellular Responses to Infection with Alphaherpesviruses in Real TimemSphere, 2(2).

4. Bussche, L; Rauner, G; Antonyak, M; Syracuse, B; McDowell, M; Brown, AM; Cerione, RA; Van de Walle, GR. (2016). Microvesicle-mediated Wnt/β-Catenin Signaling Promotes Interspecies Mammary Stem/Progenitor Cell GrowthThe Journal of Biological Chemistry, 291(47), 24390-24405.

5. Pennington, MR; Curtis, TM; Divers, TJ; Wagner, B; Ness, SL; Tennant, BC; Van De Walle GR. (2016). Equine Mesenchymal Stromal Cells from Different Sources Efficiently Differentiate into Hepatocyte-Like CellsTissue Engineering: Part C, 22(6), 596-607.

6. Pennington, MR; Fort, MW; Ledbetter, EC; Van de Walle, GR. (2016). A novel corneal explant model system to evaluate antiviral drugs against feline herpesvirus type 1 (FHV-1)The Journal of General Virology, 97(6), 1414-25.

7. Bussche, L; Harman, RM; Syracuse, BA; Plante, EL; Lu, YC; Curtis, TM; Ma, M; Van de Walle, GR. (2015). Microencapsulated equine mesenchymal stromal cells promote cutaneous wound healing in vitroStem Cell Research & Therapy, 6:66.

Awards and Honors

  • 2006 Stephen Straus travel Award for the 31th International Herpes Workshop (IHW), Seattle
  • 2008 – 2011 Postdoctoral research fellowship from the Research Foundation Flanders
  • 2014 Burroughs Wellcome Fund for the Merial-NIH Veterinary Scholars Symposium, Ithaca
  • 2014 – present Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future Faculty Fellow
  • 2016 Zoetis Award for Excellence in Veterinary Research

Professional/Academic Affiliations

  • 2010 - 2012 Belgian Society for Microbiology
  • 2010 - 2012 Belgian Environmental Mutagen Society
  • 2010 - 2012 Belgian Society of Physiology and Pharmacology
  • 2010 - 2012 European Society for Veterinary Virology
  • 2013 - present American Society for Microbiology
  • 2013 - present American Society for Virology
  • 2013-present International Society for Stem Cell Research
  • 2013 - present Cornell University Stem Cell Program
  • 2014 - present Cornell Comparative Cancer Biology Training Program
  • 2015 - present New York State Veterinary Medical Society
  • 2015 - present Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medicine

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