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Matthew Sylte

Research Veterinary Medical Officer


Matthew J. Sylte
National Animal Disease Center
Research Veterinary Medical Officer
Phone (515) 337-6828
Fax (515) 337-6190
P.O. Box 70
1920 Dayton Ave.
Ames, IA  50010


B.A. Microbiology, Kansas State University (1988-1992)
D.V.M., Kansas State University (1992-1996)
Ph.D., Immunology, University of Wisconsin-Madison (1997-2002)
Post-Doc – Pennsylvania and Michigan State University (2002-2004)
Post-Doc – ARS Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory (2004-2007)

Research Interests:

Campylobacter jejuni spp. jejuni, (C. jejuni) and C. coli are commensal bacteria in the lower gastrointestinal tract of chickens and turkeys, where they causes no clinical disease, but are major food-borne pathogens of humans. Consumption of Campylobacter-contaminated chicken and turkey products is the most likely route of transmission to humans. In chickens, different pre-harvest strategies (e.g., administration of probiotics, antibiotic-free feed additives, vaccines or lytic bacteriophages) have been tested for their ability to affect intestinal colonization by C. jejuni. These strategies have not yet been evaluated in turkeys. My primary research objectives are to develop and test novel, non-antibiotic therapies (e.g., vaccines or immunomodulators) for pre-harvest reduction of the food-borne pathogen Campylobacter spp. in commercial turkeys, and to characterize the intestinal immune response (e.g., transcriptome and proteome) of turkeys before and after intestinal colonization by Campylobacter jejuni, C. coli or other Campylobacter species. Current vaccine strategies being used include oral recombinant attenuated Salmonella-vectored Campylobacter antigens and oral polyanhydride nanoparticles containing a recombinant Campylobacter protein and adjuvant. A secondary research objective is the development of turkey-specific reagents (e.g., antibodies against turkey cytokines, chemokines, immunoglobulin molecules or leukocyte markers) to facilitate characterizing the mucosal immune response to Campylobacter colonization in turkeys. An additional secondary research objective is to characterize the dependence of butyrate-producing bacteria in the development of peripheral-derived regulatory T cells (pTreg) in the intestinal lamina propria of turkeys, and to examine whether probiotic, butyrate-producing bacteria in the cecum of turkeys affects susceptibility to Campylobacter spp. colonization. Hatching of gnotobiotic turkey poults will be used to mono- or poly-associate turkeys with butyrate-producing bacteria.


  1. Develop and test non-antibiotic strategies (e.g., vaccines, probiotics, prebiotics, immunomodulators or others) to control pre-harvest colonization of turkeys by Campylobacter jejuni, C. coli or other Campylobacter spp.
  2. Use next-generation sequencing (RNA-Seq) and proteomics to characterize the mucosal immune response before and after intestinal Campylobacter spp. colonization in turkeys.
  3. Develop and validate turkey-specific monoclonal antibodies for various cytokines, chemokines, immunoglobulin molecules or leukocyte markers.
  4. Examine the dependence of the microbe-produced short chain fatty acid butyrate on the development of pTregs in the large intestinal lamina propria of turkeys and how these cells affect intestinal homeostasis and susceptibility to Campylobacter spp. colonization.

Honors and Awards:

1992 – Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, Beta chapter of Kansas, (Kansas State University)
2004 – Phi Zeta Veterinary Honor Society, Zeta chapter (Michigan State University)
2004 – Diplomate of American College of Veterinary Immunologists (Immunology specialty)

Current Laboratory Personnel:

Matt InbodyBiological Science Laboratory Technician
Ella MeyerStudent Trainee Biological Sciences (ISU)

Recent Publications: Complete list of published work:


  1. Sylte MJ, Suarez DL. Vaccination and acute phase mediator production in chickens challenged with low pathogenic avian influenza virus; novel markers for vaccine efficacy? Vaccine. 2012; 30(20):3097-105.
  2. Avellaneda G, Sylte MJ, Lee CW, Suarez DL. A heterologous neuraminidase subtype strategy for the differentiation of infected and vaccinated animals (DIVA) for avian influenza virus using an alternative neuraminidase inhibition test. Avian diseases. 2010; 54(1 Suppl):272-7.
  3. Liu Y, Mundt E, Mundt A, Sylte MJ, Suarez DL, et al. Development and evaluation of an avian influenza, neuraminidase subtype 1, indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for poultry using the differentiation of infected from vaccinated animals control strategy. Avian diseases. 2010; 54(1 Suppl):613-21.
  4. Jadhao SJ, Lee CW, Sylte MJ, Suarez DL. Comparative efficacy of North American and antigenically matched reverse genetics derived H5N9 DIVA marker vaccines against highly pathogenic Asian H5N1 avian influenza viruses in chickens. Vaccine. 2009; 27(44):6247-60.
  5. Sylte MJ, Suarez DL. Influenza neuraminidase as a vaccine antigen. Current topics in microbiology and immunology. 2009; 333:227-41.
  6. Sylte MJ, Hubby B, Suarez DL. Influenza neuraminidase antibodies provide partial protection for chickens against high pathogenic avian influenza infection. Vaccine. 2007; 25(19):3763-72.
  7. Toro H, Tang DC, Suarez DL, Sylte MJ, Pfeiffer J, et al. Protective avian influenza in ovo vaccination with non-replicating human adenovirus vector. Vaccine. 2007; 25(15):2886-91.