Moredun was set up by a group of enlightened Scottish farmers in 1920 to find solutions to prevent and control infectious diseases of livestock and to make sure that new advances were communicated effectively to those that may benefit from them.
100 years on, Moredun is very proud to retain its strong connections to the farming industry and to conduct world leading research to promote the highest standards of health and welfare of farm livestock.
In our centenary year we are very keen to fund raise to develop new opportunities for early career researchers with a passion and interest in finding new solutions to combat livestock disease through research, innovation and knowledge exchange.
We will be setting up various initiatives to help us towards this goal and if you would like to help or find out more about the project please do get in touch with us at: Lee.Innes@moredun.ac.uk or firstname.lastname@example.org
ANNOUNCEMENT: EQUINE GRASS SICKNESS RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP
The Moredun Foundation and The Equine Grass Sickness Fund have joined forces to launch an innovative 3-year Fellowship to breathe fresh thinking and multi-disciplinary approaches into Equine Grass Sickness (EGS) research.
EGS is a devastating disease of horses and research started in the 1920s when the disease was causing the deaths of many working horses on farms. 100 years later and the cause(s) remains elusive, but the consensus is that it is likely to be multi-factorial. There are no treatments or vaccines to prevent disease and around 80% of horses contracting the disease do not survive.
The new research Fellow will be based at Moredun’s International Research Institute and a main objective of the Fellowship will be to set up a national database and sample biobank with the assistance of a UK wide network of vet ambassadors and horse owners. This will assist greatly in research going forward and will be a crucial resource available to all EGS researchers. An important aspect of the Fellowship will be to investigate novel strands of research using the latest technologies, with the assistance of a support network of senior researchers and fellows.
Recruitment for this post, which will suit an outstanding early research scientist, will begin shortly.
For further information and to get involved please contact: Beth.Wells@moredun.ac.uk
TEAM MOREDUN TACKLE THE LONDON MARATHON!
A team made up of staff from the Moredun Foundation communications group and The Equine Grass Sickness Fund are taking on the virtual London Marathon to raise funds for the new Equine Grass Sickness Research Fellow.
Beth Wells, Lee Innes and Amy Tyndall are hiking the length of the full marathon, whilst Hazel Rice and Kate Thomson have opted for half each!
The hardy team have 24 hours to complete the 26.2 mile challenge on Sunday 4th October.
Runner Vicky Sinksi is running the distance, finishing the last few miles walking alongside her grass sickness survivor, handsome gelding Alfie.
If you would like to sponsor the team, please visit Moredun's Virgin Money Giving page: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/TheMoredunFoundation
ANNOUNCEMENT: EQUINE GRASS SICKNESS APPOINT NEW FELLOW
We are delighted to announce that Dr Kathy Geyer has been appointed Equine Grass Sickness Research Fellow.
My background is in evolutionary ecology and I completed my PhD in 2011 at the University of Edinburgh, with a thesis on the interactions between parasite infection and ageing in wild Soay sheep living in the remote St Kilda archipelago.
The main themes of my research have been:
1. determining how and why individuals vary in defence against parasites;
2. studying how early-life events influence health and fitness;
3. understanding the causes and consequences of variation in ageing.
I have worked on Soay sheep in Scotland, Asian elephants in Myanmar, and pre-industrial humans in Finland. While using data on genetics, parasitology and immunology from the lab, my research largely applies multivariate statistical analysis to large, complex datasets in order to discern the patterns in messy data.
At Moredun, I am seeking to apply concepts and statistical techniques from ecology to problems in livestock disease.
Projects that I have embarked upon during my first year at the Institute include work on:
- The basis of the peri-parturient relaxation of immunity in both domestic and wild sheep;
- The effectiveness of targeted selective treatment regimes in controlling roundworm in sheep;
- How treatments for disease influence performance in beef cattle
I joined the Insitute in September 2019. I completed my PhD at Queen’s University Belfast, where I sought to understand molecules associated with parasite virulence in the helminth Fasciola hepatica and was successful in determining parasite protease inhibitors with novel and unexpected function. It was during my PhD that I became exposed to vaccine trials in livestock and gained a passion for developing novel therapeutic strategies.
My major research interests are in understanding how parasites invade their host and persist long-term, bridging both basic and applied science. More specifically, I'm interested in understanding parasite invasion and persistence at a molecular level, with a view towards identifying novel vaccine and drug targets. I am particularly keen to use and develop physiologically relevant in vitro models for exploring host-parasite biology.
By applying genetic modification technology (such as CRISPR/Cas9), I plan to use these models as a platform for understanding parasite gene and protein function. Through understanding how parasites work, we are best placed to identify points for disease intervention.
In February 2021, I will be beginning my position on Equine Grass Sickness (EGS) Research Fellow and I am very much looking forward to start working in such an incredibly exciting but scientifically challenging area of research. EGS is a devastating neurodegenerative disease which despite decades of research is still poorly understood. The actual cause of Equine Grass Sickness is still a mystery, but it appears that a multi-factorial approach is required to tackle such a highly complex disease and ultimately provide a better outcome for equine grass sickness cases. Together with the collaborative efforts from experts from different disciplines, as well as the establishment of a national database and sample archive (equine as well as environmental derived) as a valuable resource, we will hopefully get to the bottom of this elusive disease.
My PhD as well as previous postdoc positions mainly concentrated on elucidating the epigenetic modification DNA methylation, for the identification of potential drug/vaccine targets as well as lifecycle intervention strategies, in the medically important parasite Schistosoma mansoni. Additionally, I was part of the Wellcome Trust funded FUGI (The Flatworm Functional Genomics Initiative), a project aiming to characterise and understand the stem cell systems in schistosomes in order to establish immortal cell lines, as well as to advance the schistosome genome editing field by the development of CRISPR/CAS9 in this parasite. More recently, my personal interest in the complex host-parasite relationship has driven my research away from the parasites themselves, towards the interaction they have with their molluscan intermediate host.
In addition to my passion for parasitology or infectious diseases in general, I have always been very interested in and keen to improve animal welfare, as animals, especially horses play a big part in my life. Therefore, after working around 10 years in the field of medical parasitology in Prof Karl Hoffmann’s lab in Aberystwyth, a Horse Trust project here at MRI allowed me to move into a field of research I always wanted to be in. Since 2018 I have been working on the development a diagnostic ELISA for the detection of cyathostomins in equines, aiming to contribute towards sustainable parasite control in equines and to improve welfare of horses in general.