Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Zabel Laboratory


 More Information


The Zabel Laboratory employs molecular biological, immunological and biochemical techniques to explore peripheral pathogenesis and vaccines for prion diseases. Studying basic mechanisms of prion infection and dissemination provides translational information leading to vaccine targets and early disease detection.

Dr. Zabel’s research program focuses on the interaction of prions with cells and receptors of the immune system and lymphoid tissues in the early entry, trafficking, and pathogenesis phases of prion infections. He utilizes novel mouse models of Chronic Wasting Disease that have led to numerous publications detailing translational knowledge about the role of the Complement system in prion replication, disease progression and transmission. The lab's research is funded through USDA-APHIS and NIH-Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Philosophy and Mission Statement

An old adage professes that “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.” But if you build a community of fishermen, craftsmen, sailors, cooks, merchants, teachers and, of course, researchers, then families and friends can live together, eat together, work together, play together and learn together. They can engineer better boats, use nets instead of hooks, and calculate the best times and places to fish. They can learn what type of fish they can catch, when to catch them and how many they can catch to sustain both themselves and the fish. The community expands their knowledge exponentially, and broadens their prosperity to the benefit of all.

Dr. Mark Zabel envisions science in a similar way, and conducts his research program and runs his laboratory accordingly. Mark enjoys expanding research possibilities by forging multidisciplinary collaborations with intelligent people whose scientific vision and expertise complement, not recapitulate, his own. He has made this philosophy the cornerstone of his research plan since he started the laboratory five years ago. The Zabel Lab currently collaborates with researchers from Fort Collins, the front range of Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, Montana, Ohio, Tennessee, Massachusetts, England, Scotland, Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Australia. Mark thoroughly enjoys the collaborations he has made and is excited about present and future ones. When we pool our collective intellect, knowledge and resources, we can accelerate discovery, create new relationships and build a sense of community not only in science, but in society, to the benefit of us all.

The Zabel Laboratory focuses on translating this philosophy of scientific collaboration to intra-lab collaborations as well. Practical success in the laboratory requires successful recruitment and mentoring of lab personnel. Mark was very fortunate to hire Dr. Bruce Pulford as his lab manager and scientific colleague. An excellent neuroscientist, Bruce compliments Mark's skills as a prionologist, immunologist and molecular biologist. Bruce helps tremendously with manuscript and grant writing, experimental design and execution and mentoring of students. We have attracted an excellent group of graduate research associates (GRAs) that are progressing steadily in their scientific development. We also mentor an excellent group of undergraduate students through the Howard Hughes Undergraduate Research Scholars (HURS) program. Pairing intelligent, dedicated GRAs with exceptional, highly motivated HURS students to work together on research projects, and sharing the mentoring of both groups between Bruce and Mark has proven to be a very successful model of learning and research in our laboratory. The synergy between Dr. Pulford, the GRAs and the HURS students produces an exciting, educational and very productive laboratory environment that benefits all of us.

Prion Research Center Home
make a gift
Contact Us:
1682 Campus Delivery
Fort Collins, Colorado 80523-1682

(970) 491-6144

(970) 491-0603