Many of the rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa live below the poverty line and the livelihoods of smallholder farmers often depend on livestock. Cattle and especially dairy cattle are an important agricultural resource to smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africaproviding a source of protein to farm families as well as increased market opportunities through local sales. Infectious diseases are a major constraint on cattle productivity and create vulnerabilities for smallholder farmers in developing countries.
The purpose of this project is to improve cattle health on smallholder farms by advancing vaccine assessment technologies to characterize breed specific host responses to the foot-and-mouth disease virus and Theileria parva, the parasite that causes East Coast fever. It aims to use cutting edge technology available for assessing the quality of adaptive immune responses mediated by T cells, specifically, major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class 1 and class II tetrameter reagents to study bovine immune responses to infection and vaccination.
1. Characterization of MHC gene sequence diversity of pure-bred Holstein cattle and exotic and native breeds of cattle raised in sub-Saharan Africa.
2. Analysis of the peptide binding specificity of bovine MHC molecules enabling high-throughput discovery of candidate foot-and-mouth disease virus and Theileria parva antigens and epitopes.
3. Generation of boding MHC tetrameter technologies.
4. Analysis of T cell responses in cattle vaccinated with against foot-and-mouth disease virus and T. parva
1. Critical knowledge to develop vaccines for the control of foot-and-mouth disease and East Coast fever.
2. Platform technology that can be widely applied to vaccine formulation for cattle and other livestock species.
3. Capacity development through teaching, training and technology transfer between institutions on three continents.