Location: Endemic Poultry Viral Diseases Research2019 Annual Report
1. Use a systems biology approach to elucidate host-pathogen interactions associated with infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) strain variation, immunosuppression, and pathogenesis. 2. Develop effective genomics and immune intervention strategies to prevent and control IBDV, including emerging very virulent and variant IBDV strains.
These two objectives include a combination of basic and applied research that will generate knowledge and help develop tools to improve our ability to prevent and control infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) whose presence fosters high level antibiotic use in poultry production to control secondary bacterial infections. These research goals are highly interrelated and will be accomplished with similar tools and approaches. Thus, experiments will often contribute to more than one objective and use an experimental and systems biology approach. The first objective includes the characterization of new variant and very virulent strains of IBDV which constantly emerge in nature as well as the elucidation specific viral and host factors that contribute to host adaptation, immunosuppression, transmission and virulence. The second objective complements the first with a more in depth focus on how the virus changes under immune pressure, the development of improved vaccines, and understanding genetics of host restriction and resistance to infection and disease.
The Endemic Poultry Viral Diseases Research Unit in Athens, Georgia received a program increase to establish this new project in fiscal year 2018. Due to critical vacancies in leadership and scientific expertise the project has been approved for a postponement by the Office of Scientific Quality Review (OSQR). We are in the process of hiring a new Molecular Virologist Catagory 1, a new Veterinary Immunologist Pathway Student Intern, and two Postdoctoral researchers through an outgoing interagency agreement with the Department of Energy, Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE). The project will be reviewed at the next National Program 103 OSQR review.