Richard J. Leach
Phone: (402) 762-4168
Dr. Leach's research focuses on the genetics behind immunology. To discover which regions of the genome play a role in the immune response, genetic markers (e.g., Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms [SNP]) are often associated with immune relevant traits, to discover genes and genomic regions responsible for increasing or decreasing an immune response post infection/vaccination. In addition, variance components are also estimated to allow for accurate heritability calculations.
Primarily working on beef cattle, Dr. Leach uses different methods to detect markers which can be used to select animals (such as: Genome Wide Association Studies, Linkage Studies and Genomic Selection), as such, he also develops statistical applications to enable the swift, reliable and concise analysis of large datasets.
In conclusion, using both, heritability estimates and significantly associated markers, selection of favorable animals can be made in a bid to decrease disease prevalence. Additionally, the regions of significance discovered, may contain genes which can be targeted to increase vaccine efficacy.