Scottish Partnership for Animal Science Excellence

Evans, Robinson

The Strategic Partnership for Animal Science Excellence (SPASE) underpins the Scottish Government’s intention to support the agriculture and the livestock sector by harnessing the existing skills in its Research programmes by consolidating and expanding on links with the HEI sector. The group at Glasgow (Professor Neil Evans, Dr Jane Robinson and Dr Nicola Craig) are collaborating with Drs Jacqueline Wallace and Clare Adam of the Rowett Institute in Aberdeen on a project within this partnership entitled ‘Early life malnutrition and appetite, body composition and reproductive potential’. This work addressed the hypothesis that early life malnutrition leading to low birth weight has far reaching adverse consequences for growth, carcass composition and reproductive performance which, if understood, may be amenable to postnatal dietary modification and correction. The work involves the  investigation of changes in gene and protein expression for key regulators of energy balance and reproductive function within the brain and pituitary gland and the effects of nutrient signalling on other selected body systems in the sheep. 


A systems modelling approach to the persistence and control of E. coli O157


This project forms part of the Scottish Government funded consortium Strategic Partnership for Animal Science Excellence (SPASE).

Escherichia coli O157 is an important zoonotic pathogen of humans, with a high incidence in Scotland relative to many other countries. It has a major reservoir in cattle that means that tackling infection in these animals can be an important route to control.

This project will develop state-of-the-art multiscale systems models that can capture the interacting mechanisms of persistence in individuals, herds and the environment. This will be achieved by 1) building and parameterising mathematical models that capture individual variation (including supershedding) at multiple scales to determine the key factors and their interrelationships that allow the persistence of E. coli O157 infection in the national herd; 2) applying these models to determine optimal control strategies, taking into account the transmission dynamics and ecology of the pathogen; and 3) to use these models to predict the impact of controls in cattle on incidence in humans.