Moredun scientists have been awarded a share of £8m in grants to help improve the health and welfare of livestock.

Scientists at the research institute, which conducts recognised research on the infectious diseases of livestock, have gained funding for three projects.

Awarded through the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Animal Health Research Club (ARC), the projects will focus on resistance to cryptosporidiosis in cattle, diversity in immune responses to a worm vaccine in sheep and improving the understanding of inflammatory responses in sheep footrot.

The projects are being conducted in collaboration with The Roslin Institute, Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland, the University of Glasgow and the University of Nottingham.

More than £1.1m has been given to researchers at Moredun, The Roslin Institute and the University of Edinburgh, who will collaborate in a project titled “Host factors in determining resistance to cryptosporidiosis in cattle”.

Scientists at Moredun and the University of Glasgow have been granted more than £650,000 for research into the project “Dissecting variation in host responsiveness to a recombinant vaccine designed to control teladorsagiosis in sheep”.

Almost £700,000 has been granted for the third project, “Understanding inflammatory processes in ovine footrot to inform rational vaccine design”. The project is a collaboration between researchers from the University of Nottingham and Moredun. These endemic diseases are of significant economic and welfare concern to the livestock industry.

Julie Fitzpatrick, scientific director at Moredun, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded research funding through this initiative to help tackle some very serious diseases that significantly impact on the efficiency of livestock production. Moredun’s approach has always been to work in collaboration with the livestock industry to ensure our outputs are relevant to the needs of farmers.”

Celia Caulcott, BBSRC executive director, innovation and skills, said: “By targeting these livestock diseases, the ARC projects have the potential to protect farmed animals and food supplies, and save UK farmers and the wider economy millions of pounds a year.”

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