Animal Health and Well Being
Maximizing the health and well-being of animals in our food systems is critical for maintaining animal welfare and productivity, as well as providing a safe, high quality and abundant food supply. Recent research has focused on increasing our knowledge and developing intervention based strategies that target disease and limit the impact of environmental and other stressors. Three research areas predominate within the department. One focuses on understanding the interactions of biological and behavioral responses with stress and management-based systems in order to derive management strategies that are more effective in maintaining animal welfare and productivity (Krawczel, Kattesh, Kojima). A second centers on Campylobacter jejuni, a common inhabitant of the chicken digestive tract and a common cause of foodborne illness resulting from the consumption of undercooked chickens or food contaminated by poultry products (Lin, Zeng). A third area of interest relates to mastitis research conducted in our department focusing on the interaction of mastitis pathogens with milk secreting cells (Almeida, Oliver, Pighetti, Prado). Results from this research resulted in the discovery that mastitis pathogens are able to attach and invade into bovine mammary epithelial cells, thus reaching an environment where host defenses and antimicrobials present in milk are not effective. Virulence factors, as well as other proteins from S. uberis, have been used in the design of experimental vaccines aiming to the development of new prevention methods against mastitis pathogens that are refractory to current procedures for controlling bovine mastitis.
For more information for individual research interests, click on the faculty link below to be directed to their individual sites.