In 2014, 35 backers supported Caroline Keroack's Master’s project to sequence over 2000 parasite samples collected from seals, whales, and dolphins. Additional funding purchased reagents and kits for sequencing the mitochondrial genomes, which hold the key to diagnostic development.
Four years later, the lead researcher Caroline and team published peer-reviewed results for a novel diagnostic assay to identify seal heartworm infection in gray seals. The paper was published in The International Journal of Parasitology.
Their results show a novel real-time PCR diagnostic for seal heart worm, the diagnostic is applicable to use on whole parasite specimens or blood samples. They successfully used the diagnostic to detect the evidence of seal heartworm in the grey seal.
Caroline is now a Ph.D. candidate at Harvard University focused on the biology of the tick-borne, intraerythrocytic parasite Babesia.