Oudessa Kerro Dego 

 

Oudessa Kerro Dego

Assistant Professor

 

 

Teaching

 

ANSC 493 - Independent Study

ANSC 500 - Thesis (spring)

 
 
 

Contact

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

 

 

 

 

Education

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

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

MS, Animal Pathology, Utrecht University, The Netherlands, 2002

DVM, 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
Photo collage of Oudessa Kerro Dego work 

My research focuses on control and prevention of infectious diseases of farm animals particularly mastitis, dairy food safety and mitigation of antimicrobial resistance. Mastitis is a major problem of dairy production throughout the world. Mastitis is an inflammation of mammary glands mainly caused by bacteria. Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus uberis and coliform bacteria are the most frequent bacterial causative agents of intramammary infection (IMI). Mastitis is the major cause of economic losses in the dairy industry worldwide. Currently, there are no effective vaccines to prevent bovine IMI caused by Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus uberis and coliform bacteria.

Mastitis also has a significant effect on public health since some of the causative pathogens and/or their toxins may enter the food supply resulting in foodborne diseases. Some potential mastitis pathogens such as Mycobacteria, Brucella, Leptospira, Listeria, Salmonella, Campylobacter species and E. coli strains are zoonotic microorganisms that can infect human from dairy and/or dairy products. These pathogens may shed through milk either from a primary gland infection or as secondary events to other systemic infections in the body.

Frequent administration of antimicrobials to heathy cows as dry cow therapy for prophylactic control of mastitis as well as for treatment of cases of mastitis resulted in increased prevalence of antimicrobial resistant bacteria in dairy farms. Antimicrobial resistant bacteria or resistance gene/s may transfer directly or indirectly from dairy farms and/or dairy products to human.
In general, the health of a dairy cow is a function of host-pathogen-environment interactions. Therefore, any intervention to improve dairy cow health and productivity need 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 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:

 A. Develop effective vaccines against bovine S. aureus and S. uberis mastitis

  1. Identify critical host-microbial proteins/macromolecules induced during early stages of bovine S. aureus or S. uberis intramammary infection (IMI) that are responsible for establishment of infection.
  2. Determine host immunological response/s required to prevent or clear infection.
  3. Evaluate immunogenicity of bacterial proteins/macromolecules induced during early stages of IMI.
  4. Develop effective vaccines using bacterial proteins/macromolecules induced during early stage of host-bacterial interactions.

B. Dairy food safety and foodborne zoonotic pathogens in dairy farms

  1. Evaluate presence of foodborne and zoonotic pathogens in dairy farms & develop sustainable control measures at pre-harvest level.  
  2. Evaluate role of milk microbiome on somatic cell counts & milk quality.
  3. Develop reliable quick diagnostic methods for diagnosis of mastitis and other infectious pathogens of dairy cows.

C. Mitigate development of antimicrobial resistant bacteria in dairy cattle production system

  1. Evaluate presence of antimicrobial resistant bacteria and resistance genes in dairy farms.
  2. Develop sustainable and producer friendly antimicrobial resistance mitigation measures in dairy farms.
  3. Evaluate efficacy of teat-sealant-based alternative mastitis prevention measures on reducing intramammary infection and use of antimicrobials on dairy farms.  

 Selected Publications 

  • Abdi R. D., B. E. Gillespie, J. Vaughn, C. Merrill, S. I. Headrick, D. Ensermu, D. H. D’Souza, R. A. Almeida, S. P. Oliver, Getahun E. Agga and O. Kerro Dego. 2017. Antimicrobial Resistance of Staphylococcus aureus Isolates from Dairy Cows and Genetic Diversity of Resistant Isolates. Accepted on December 20, 2017.  (In Press).  FPD-2017-2362-ver9-Abdi_1P. FOODBORNE PATHOGENS AND DISEASE, Volume XX, Number XX, 2018, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.DOI: 10.1089/fpd.2017.2362.Abdi R. D., B. E. Gillespie, J. Vaughn, C. Merrill, S. I. Headrick, D. Ensermu, D. H. D’Souza, R. A. Almeida, S. P. Oliver, Getahun E. Agga and O. Kerro Dego. 2018. Antimicrobial Resistance of Staphylococcus aureus Isolates from Dairy Cows and Genetic Diversity of Resistant Isolates. Foodborne Pathogens and Disease, February 2, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1089/fpd.2017.2362

  • R. A. Almeida, O. Kerro Dego, and A. G. Rius. Effect of heat stress on adherence to and internalization of Streptococcus uberis into bovine mammary epithelial cells.2018. Journal of Dairy Research, 85: 53–56. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022029917000875

  • Kerro Dego O., R. A. Almeida, A. M. Saxton, R. D. Abdi, D. B. Ensermu and S. P. Oliver. Bovine intramammary infection associated immunogenic surface proteins of Streptococcus uberis. 2018. Microbial Pathogenesis (2018), Volume 115, 304-311. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.micpath.2017.12.046.

  • Kerro Dego O., R. A. Almeida, Maria E. Prado, S. I. Headrick, M. J. Lewis, C. Young, B. E. Gillespie, L. J. Siebert, G. M. Pighetti, R. D. Abdi, D. B. Ensermu and S. P. Oliver. 2017. Functionally effective immune responses of dairy cows vaccinated with Streptococcus uberis adhesion molecule during the transition period. Ann Vaccines Immunization 3(1):1015. https://www.jscimedcentral.com/Vaccines/vaccines-3-1015.pdf.

  • Pighetti, G. M., L. Wojakiewicz, S. I. Headrick, O. Kerro Dego, S. A. Lockwood, H. G. Kattesh, M. J. Lewis, C. D. Young, L. J. Siebert, B. E. Gillespie, M. E. Prado, R. A. Almeida, and S. P. Oliver.  2017.  Vaccination with recombinant Steptococcus uberis Adhesion Molecule alters immune response to experimental challenge.  International Journal of Veterinary and Dairy Science, Published online 15May2017. http://oajournals.clytoaccess.com/sites/default/files/finalll.pdf.

  • Siebert, L. J., S. I. Headrick, M. J. Lewis, B. E. Gillespie, C. D. Young, L. Wojakiewicz, O. Kerro Dego, M. E. Prado, R. A. Almeida, S. P. Oliver, and G. M. Pighetti.  2017.  Genetic variation in CXCR1 haplotypes linked to clearance of Streptococcus uberis infection in an experimental challenge model.  Veterinary Immunology Immunopathology, volume 190, 45 – 52. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vetimm.2017.07.005.

  • Almeida, R. A., Oudessa Kerro Dego, María E. Prado, Susan I. Headrick, Mark J. Lewis, Lydia J. Siebert, Gina M. Pighetti and Stephen P. Oliver. 2015. Protective effect of anti-SUAM antibodies on Streptococcus uberis mastitis. Veterinary Research 2015, 46:133.

  • Almeida, Raul A., O. Kerro Dego, S. I. Headrick, M. J. Lewis, S. P. Oliver. 2015. Role of Streptococcus uberis adhesion molecule in the pathogenesis of Streptococcus uberis mastitis. Veterinary Microbiology, 179, 332 – 335.


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