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Research Projects Get Boost; Improved Husbandry for Developing Nations

04 March 2013

MSD Animal Health - Pigs

GLOBAL - Lidia Cammack, a final year student at Bristol University Veterinary School, has been awarded a prize of £1,000 for her research project into the immunohistochemistry of piglets.

Ms Cammack, a final year student at the Bristol University Veterinary School, was given an award by MSD Animal Health for her study into the expression of membrane proteins in the gut cells using immunohistochemistry in piglets. She was also was runner up in the company's Connect Bursary scheme and received an additional £1000 that will help to fund her continued investigations into intestinal cell development.

Her studies are looking at how gut colonisation and how the effects of certain cell chemistry might impact on pig performance and production. This area of research may help developing assays that will allow the assessment of the health of the piglets’ gut.

Speaking on behalf of MSD Animal Health, Ricardo Neto congratulated Ms Cammack for the quality and depth of research carried out.

"Lidia’s project demonstrated a real depth of knowledge and understanding of immunohistochemistry. This area may prove useful in the future to allow scientists to develop markers to assess gut colonisation by pathogens or by bacteria that are associated with an unhealthy or healthy gut. It could allow us to assess the gut health or the impact of certain feeds and or additives to the gut health and colonisation by certain pathogens," he said.

Mr Neto commended all the Connect bursary students, and said they gave an encouraging insight into the calibre of students at all seven of the UK’s vet schools.

More pig studies

Another bursary focussing on pig production was presented to Ellen Hughes from Cambridge University. Her research in Ghana focuses on the role pigs take in the spread of human tapeworm Taenia solium Cysticercosis, often a cause of epilepsy.

Taenia solium infects pigs as an intermediate host and, although it rarely causes clinical signs in pigs, it is a potential cause of poor production and poor welfare in heavily infected animals. However, the human infection at the larval stage represents a major disease threat in the developing world. The infection often leads to Neurocysticercosis (NCC) – a major cause of epilepsy in sub-Saharan Africa.

Ms Hughes' results could help improve the way ‘back yard’ pigs are managed in many areas of the developing world and assess the importance of these pigs in this important zoonosis.

MSD Connect Bursaries have been awarded to eight students studying at university vet schools throughout the UK. The scheme is designed to provide financial assistance to enable veterinary students to carry out individual research projects in their chosen subject area.

It is part of MSD’s Connect information and support service, an active scheme that provides individuals and recognised groups and societies with educational and sponsorship assistance including access to MSD’s extensive literature collection across all veterinary sectors and financial and professional assistance for clinical club meetings, presentations and lectures.

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