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Can we learn about human IBD by studying paratuberculosis?

On September 19, 2014 the FIVM seminar series returns with Dr. Marcel Behr of McGill University discussing diagnostic tests, risk factors, and host resistance to Crohn’s disease and paratuberculosis.

The UCVM Research Office is pleased to announce the return of the Frontiers in Veterinary Medicine (FIVM) Seminar Series featuring internationally recognized researchers within the areas of veterinary and comparative medicine.  A different UCVM strategic research priority area is highlighted every month.

Last year’s speakers presented innovative research on diverse topics from gene editing in livestock, to parasites in our food, to developing professional skills in veterinary students, The attendance and interest in the FIVM series last year was outstanding and we hope to build on that success with an exciting line up of topics planned for the 2014-2015 year Once again, the ABVMA has approved these seminars for one hour of Continuing Education credits.

On Friday September 19, 2014 the FIVM series begins with a question posed by Dr. Marcel Behr of McGill University: “Can we learn about human IBD by studying paratuberculosis?” For over a century, the similarities between Crohn’s disease in humans and paratuberculosis in livestock have stimulated the hypothesis that there might be an etiologic link; however, convincing human data has been difficult to come by.

In his talk, Dr. Behr will discuss diagnostic tests, risk factors, and host resistance to Crohn’s disease and paratuberculosis, and ask whether large mammal models need to be reconsidered when aiming to assess this potential link.

As the Director of the McGill International TB Centre and Microbiologist-in-Chief at the McGill University Health Centre, Dr. Marcel Behr utilizes genomic tools to study how mycobacterial diseases evolve and spread among people and animals.  In conjunction with public health investigators, he uses molecular biology to create DNA fingerprints of bacteria, allowing us to better track the spread of organisms within the community. Dr. Behr studies the epidemiology of tuberculosis in the Canadian Inuit, as well as the genesis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis from an environmental mycobacterium similar to Mycobacterium kansasii.

“Small mammal models of Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis infection need not aim to recapitulate paratuberculosis,” says Behr.  “They allow us to validate diagnostic tests prior to their application to human samples and permit the investigation of selected host determinants of resistance to infection and disease.”

The impact of Dr. Behr’s research can been seen through scientific papers, the development of new diagnostic tests, and the elaboration of policies for the control of paratuberculosis. Learn more

All faculty, staff, students, and trainees are encouraged to attend this important UCVM event!