Early development of the avian mucosal immune system

Lead Research Organisation: University of Liverpool
Department Name: Institute of Infection and Global Health


Chickens are the most frequently reared livestock species in the world. In modern commercial production control of infectious diseases through vaccination and the use of microbial-based therapies such as probiotics are critical to protect the flocks. However, our understanding of the avian mucosal immune system is limited. It is increasingly clear that the intestinal microbiome, the microbial population of the gut, is key to the development of the immune system. The microbiome is usually inherited through maternal contact-in mammals during and immediately following birth. Chickens are increasingly reared in hatcheries where there is no maternal exposure meaning chickens do not acquire their microbiome from the hatchery environment or even its workers. As such these birds may have problems with normal immune development and potentially leave them more susceptible to infection and to poor vaccine efficacy. In this project we will determine how the early microbiome influences the development of the immune system, the integrity of the gut structure and the response to a major pathogen (Salmonella).


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M011186/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
2270323 Studentship BB/M011186/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2023 Amyleigh Watts