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Oudessa Kerro Dego 


Oudessa Kerro Dego
Assistant Professor 




ANSC 493 - Independent Study

ANSC 500 - Thesis (spring)



2506 River Drive
356 Brehm Animal Science Building
Knoxville, Tennessee 37996
Phone: (865) 974-9740
Fax: (865) 974-7297
email: okerrode@utk.edu 
Website: UT Dairy Health Research Group






Post Doctoral Research Associate, Department of Animal Science, University of Tennessee, 2009 – 2015

Ph.D., Veterinary Microbiology, WCVM, University of Saskatchewan, 2008

M.S., Animal Pathology, Utrecht University, The Netherlands, 2002

D.V.M., Addis Ababa University, College of Vet Med, Ethiopia, 1997


Appointment: 85% Research|15% Teaching

Professional Interest: Control & Prevention of Infectious Diseases, Dairy Food Safety & Mitigation of Antimicobial Reistance

My research focuses on the control and prevention of infectious
diseases of farm animals particularly mastitis and mitigation of antimicrobial resistance. Mastitis is the major cause of economic losses in the dairy industry worldwide. Mastitis is an inflammation of mammary glands mainly caused by bacteria. Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus uberis, and Escherichia coli are the most frequent bacterial causative agents of mastitis. Currently, there are no effective vaccines to control these major bacterial mastitis pathogens in dairy cows.

Frequent use of antimicrobials in dairy farms for treatment and prophylactic prevention of mastitis resulted in increased use of antimicrobials in dairy farms. Increased use of antimicrobials will increase emergence and spread of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria or resistance genes that may transfer directly or indirectly from dairy farms to human, animal, and the environment.
Some of the zoonotic mastitis pathogens such as S. aureus, E. coli, Listeria, Brucella, Campylobacter, Mycobacteria, and others may transmit to a human directly through contact with animal or indirectly through the food chain. Some of the mastitis pathogens, for example, S. aureus produce toxins that may enter the food supply resulting in foodborne diseases. These pathogens may shed through milk either from a primary gland infection or as secondary events to other systemic infections in the body.

Sustainable dairy farming requires healthy host-pathogen-environment interactions. Therefore, any intervention to improve the productivity of dairy farming needs to be based on an integrated approach that addresses these important factors. The overall goal of my research program is to increase dairy productivity with improved safety and quality through improving the health of dairy cows and dairy food safety at pre-harvest level. In an effort to improve health and productivity of dairy animals, Dr. Kerro Dego’s research primarily focuses on:
  • Develop effective vaccines against Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus uberis, and Escherichia coli mastitis
  • Mitigate development of antimicrobial resistance in a dairy cattle production system
  • Control milk-borne zoonotic pathogens in dairy farms and improve dairy food safety

Recent news highlights

 Selected Publications