A Systems Biology Approach to controlling Nematode Infections of Livestock Marie Curie Training Network: Ireland


This project was led by Professor Torres Sweeney (torres.sweeney@ucd.ie).

The abomasal worm Teladorsagia circumcincta is one of the most important parasites affecting sheep production in temperate regions. While control of these parasites has been achieved by the use of anthelmintic drugs, public demand for meat products free of chemical residues, and the emergence of parasites resistant to anthelmintics has made reliance on these drugs problematical. Genetic selection for parasite resistance in domestic sheepis proposed as one method to reduce reliance on chemoprophylaxis. 

The project team

This Marie Curie Training Network was a collaborative venture between interested scientists across Europe focused on developing a systems’ based approach to selecting animals that are genetically resistant to disease. The training program brought together expertise in parasitology, genetics, immunology, animal breeding, animal husbandry, animal behaviour, microbiology, statistics, epidemiology and mathematical modelling. Through the Marie Curie ITN program, the successful candidates will participate in relevant workshops, and have the opportunity to spend periods of time in collaborating institutes.

The Irish research program

The student formed part of the UCD/Teagasc collaboration comparing the genetic factors underlying resistance/susceptibility of Texel and Suffolk sheep to T. circumcincta, and was based based in the School of Veterinary Medicine, UCD.