Oudessa Kerro Dego 


Oudessa Kerro Dego

Assistant Professor



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






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 
Photo collage of Oudessa Kerro Dego work 

My research focuses on control and prevention of infectious diseases of farm animals particularly mastitis and other major infectious diseases of dairy animals. One of the most economically imposing disease facing dairy producers is mastitis. Mastitis is an inflammation of mammary glands mainly caused by bacteria. I am also interested in pre-harvest food safety with emphasis on improving ability to diagnose, treat, control and prevent mastitis and foodborne pathogens in food-producing animals. The health of a dairy cow is a function of host-pathogen-environment interactions. Therefore, any intervention to improve dairy cow health and productivity should be based on an integrated approach that addresses these important factors. Some potential mastitis pathogens such as Mycobacteria, Brucella, Leptospira and Listeria species are zoonotic microorganisms that can infect humans from dairy products. These pathogens can be shed through milk either from a primary gland infection or as secondary events to other systemic infections in the body. Frequent antibiotics use for prophylactic treatment of mastitis may lead to increased prevalence of antibiotic resistance in animal pathogens and subsequent transfer of bacteria or a resistance gene to human pathogens. In an effort to improve health and productivity of dairy animals, Dr. Kerro Dego’s research primarily focuses on:

  1. Identification of major host-microbial factors  induced during early  stages of mastitis & develop control and prevention strategies using these factors as potential targets 
  2. Develop strategies to enhance  induced immune responses in the mammary glands
  3. Determine role of milk microbiome on somatic cell counts  & milk quality
  4. Monitor  presence  of  antibiotic resistance genes & dairy foodborne & zoonotic pathogens on dairy farms


 Selected Publications 

  • 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. 2017. Accepted. Microbial Pathogenesis.

  • 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. Foodborne Pathogens and Disease.

  • R. A. Almeida, O. Kerro Dego, and A. G. Rius. 2017. Effect of heat stress on adherence to and internalization of Streptococcus uberis into bovine mammary epithelial cells. Accepted. Journal of Dairy Research.

  • Oudessa Kerro Dego, 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 (2017).

  • 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.

  • 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, Accepted 7/11/2017.

  • 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.