Zoetis contributes to research project on antibiotic resistance in cows

Tuesday, January 31, 2017
(L-R): AVC Dean Greg Keefe; Dr. Juanita Glencross-Winslow, Zoetis Canada Inc.; Dr. Javier Sanchez; AVC Associate Dean-Research Larry Hammell

A team of AVC researchers, led by Dr. Javier Sanchez, associate professor of epidemiology, is investigating antibiotic resistance in cows at the genetic level.

Dr. Sanchez was recently awarded $27,000 from Zoetis’s 2016 Investment in Innovation fund for the project, which will focus on understanding the genetic process that can cause pathogens affecting the health of cows’ udders to be resistant to antibiotics.

This project is part of a program researchers at AVC are building around molecular epidemiology of antimicrobial resistance in populations. The research team is composed of AVC faculty members Drs. Sanchez, J Trenton McClure, Luke Heider, and Juan Rodriguez-Lecompte, and post-doctoral fellow Dr. Julian Reyes.

The project complements an NSERC development grant Dr. Sanchez received last year to estimate antimicrobial resistance, using whole genome sequencing and bioinformatic tools, in microorganisms isolated from cows from farms with high and low use of antimicrobials.

In addition, the research team will collaborate with Colorado State University (CSU) to test a novel tool developed by CSU to quantify the amount of antimicrobial-resistant genes in milk samples.

“This is a novel approach that has not been tested before in milk samples,” said Dr. Sanchez, “so our research team is very excited about this opportunity and extremely thankful to Zoetis for providing the funds.”

“Antimicrobial resistance has been recognized by the World Health Organization and the United Nations as one of the main challenges in population health in the coming years,” he said. “Data generated from these projects will be used to prepare a national proposal of antimicrobial use and antimicrobial resistance in dairy cattle.”

The Zoetis Investment in Innovation fund provides $100,000 annually to the five Canadian veterinary colleges for research projects that are chosen for funding on a competitive basis.

Anna MacDonald
AVC External Relations Officer
Atlantic Veterinary College
(902) 566-6786
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