Scientists gain grant to fight disease in livestock

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Scientists gain grant to fight disease in livestock


Microbiology researchers Dr Adam Polkinghorne and Professor Peter Timms

14 July 2014

Two University of the Sunshine Coast scientists are leading an international research team that has gained a Commonwealth Government grant of more than $500,000 to fight diseases in Australian livestock.

USC Senior Research Fellow Dr Adam Polkinghorne and Professor of Microbiology Peter Timms will use an Australian Research Council Linkage grant of $509,100 to investigate ways to improve the diagnosis, management and control of chlamydial infections in sheep and cattle.

They were awarded the grant in partnership with scientists and veterinarians from the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, Advanced Theranostics, VIDO International Vaccine Centre, and the Central West, Tablelands and North West Local Land Services.

Dr Polkinghorne, who along with Professor Timms is at the forefront of Australia’s scientific fight against chlamydia in humans and koalas, said their past research would also benefit the new project.

“Chlamydial disease in sheep and cattle has been a significant problem for decades,” Dr Polkinghorne said.

“Some work has been done, but this grant means that a multi-disciplinary approach by a combination of veterinarians, microbiologists, and epidemiologists can comprehensively address all the factors."

Dr Polkinghorne said chlamydial diseases, such as arthritis, were associated with significant economic losses for Australian livestock producers, as well as animal welfare issues.

“This project aims to evaluate factors associated with these diseases in livestock and thereby improve on-farm diagnosis,” he said.

“We want to provide veterinarians and producers with important tools to reduce the on-farm impacts of chlamydial disease. We hope to use the knowledge developed in five years of koala research to assist in the development of a vaccine for sheep.”

USC Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research Professor Roland De Marco said Professor Timms and Dr Polkinghorne were internationally recognised for their excellence in microbiology.

“Peter and Adam have this year brought more than $1.5 million in national research funding to USC, along with a world-class research team and a network of local, national and international partners,” Professor De Marco said.

“Their work is supporting USC’s continued growth as a leader in agricultural and veterinary research in Australia.”

— David Cameron

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