student profile: Miss Kathryn Wright


Thesis work

Thesis title: Biomarkers for identifying Johne's disease resilience on-farm

Supervisors: Auriol PURDIE , Kumudika DE SILVA

Thesis abstract:

The central aim is to investigate and analyse host-pathogen relationships in mycobacterial infections in order to understand factors involved in resilience and detection of disease. This will be achieved through examining microRNA (miRNA), and evaluating their ability to be utilised as biomarkers to detect not only disease Johne’s disease (JD), but also differentiate between subclinical and clinical disease states, as well as susceptible vs resistant animals. These novel biomarkers will also be tested as possible diagnostic tools to identify subclinical MAP infections of ruminants on-farm. This project intends to focus on the identification of biomarkers and their use in disease diagnosis as a means of identifying silent subclinical infections for reducing the spread of disease, and aid in on-farm biosecurity and control. This will be achieved thorough predominantly miRNA gene expression studies to gain insight into the functional pathogenies of MAP and progression of Johne’s disease, as well as a comparative model using a native mycobacterial pathogen in zebrafish for visualisation of disease and validation of biomarkers

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