Professor Scott Wells

VETMD Vet Population Med
College of Veterinary Medicine
Twin Cities
Project Title: 
Mycobacterial Transmission Dynamics in Agricultural Systems: Integrating Phylogenetics, Epidemiology, Ecology, and Economics

The goal of this research is to develop a quantitative methodology for incorporating whole genome sequence (WGS) data into transmission models. In Minnesota, Mycobacterium bovis isolates are available from cattle and free-ranging white-tailed deer, the local wildlife species implicated in bovine tuberculosis (bTB) spread, as well as location and animal movement data. This will allow for study of epidemic transmission dynamics in this herd network and spillover/spillback effects in a wildlife system. In addition, Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis isolates are available from dairy cattle and dairy farm environments, along with associated data on individual cattle and dairy farms. Having developed detailed transmission models for these pathogens, it will then be possible to refine this methodology and determine the minimal data necessary for determination of transmission dynamics in complicated multi-scale systems. The results will allow for design of cost-effective data collection programs, which will be essential in many livestock-dependent low-income countries.

The specific roles for the University of Minnesota experts will include providing epidemiologic and ecologic modeling expertise as well as bovine tuberculosis and Johne’s disease expertise to this collaborative project. Their primary role will be to support the development of the Minnesota-based infectious disease transmission models. This will be accomplished in collaboration with study groups from Cornell University and the University of Glasgow.

Project Investigators

Dr. Juan Abrahante Llorns
Brian Nyokabi
Graduate Research Assistant Yuanyuan Wang
Professor Scott Wells
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