Projects and Publications

Publications are accessible through VetDoc 1 , the research documentation archives of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna.

1. Research studies in the area of avian adenoviruses

Different strains of avian adenoviruses can manifest as diverse symptoms in infected chickens and turkeys. The Clinic is conducting a broad range of studies regarding the epidemiology, genome organization, immunogenicity and morphology of these pathogens, with most of the research efforts being concentrated on chickens.

In addition to laboratory diagnostic technology, animal experiments are being conducted to determine the basis of the host-virus interaction, with the major objectives of the work being the development of new vaccines and programmes for combating diseases.

The results achieved in this area have a direct bearing on the participation of the Clinic’s director in the Adenovirus Study Group of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV).

2. Research studies in the area of avian hepatitis viruses

Avian hepatitis virus infections have only been described very recently. Therefore, there is little understanding as to its significance in poultry. The fact that this virus cannot be propagated in cell culture systems represents a considerable impediment to research efforts.

The objective of these projects is to improve the diagnostic methods so that epidemiological studies can be performed. A concomitant goal is to determine the host virus interaction.

3. The characterization of bacteria using MALDI-TOF-MS analysis

Matrix-Assisted-Laser-Desorption/Ionization – Time-Of-Flight-Mass-Spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS) is one of the newest methods for the characterization of pathogens, especially bacteria. Advantages of this method are rapid and reproducible characterization and the ability to process a large number of samples simultaneously.

The currently ongoing project involves using MALDI-TOF-MS to study a wide range of disparate bacterial pathogens in poultry. One of the primary goals is to establish a reference database so that diagnostic procedures can be expedited and better standardized. This will allow the linkages between individual pathogens to be determined. This project is tied in with the Centre of Excellence for Poultry (CEPO, www.cepofocus.eu).

4. Research studies related to the pathogenesis of histomonosis in poultry and the development of a preventive vaccination

Histomonosis or Blackheadin turkeys was first described in 1893. Disease occurrence due to Histomonas meleagridis was also reported in free-range laying hens, and not just in turkeys. Outbreaks are complicated by the lack of therapeutic and prophylactic substances. As a consequence of this state of emergency with regard to prophylaxis and therapeutic measures, diseased turkey stocks must be put to death.

The goal of the current project is to study and describe the pathogenesis of the disease and disease causing agents using a variety of methods. A central focus of the work is the development of a vaccine in order to combat the infection in a targeted way.

5. Research studies related to the physiology of the GI tract in chickens

This project is a collaboration between the University’s Clinical Unit for Poultry and the Institute of Veterinary Physiology of the Free University of Berlin. The Georgikon Faculty of the Pannonian University in Keszthely, Hungary, is involved via the Centre of Excellence for Poultry (CEPO, www.cepofocus.eu). This project will employ various methods, chief among them the Ussing chamber technique, to conduct foundational studies in the physiology of the GI tract in chickens. The goal is to establish baseline values about the physiological condition of the intestinal tract so that external influences may be better evaluated. Bacterial pathogens such as Campylobacter or salmonella, which manifest in a clinically asymptomatic way, will be a central focus of the research efforts. Models will be employed to determine the influence of clinically inconspicuous pathogens on the health of the GI tract.

6. Epidemiological studies about the spread of select pathogens in wild birds

Due to their biological make-up, wild birds are ideal vectors for spreading pathogens. An additional consideration with regard to the possible transmission of zoonotic pathogens is that humans have various opportunities for coming into contact with wild birds. This project is being done in cooperation with the Avian and Exotic Animal Clinic of the University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Medicine of Brno and the State Veterinary Institute in Jihlava.

The goal of this project is to ascertain the prevalence of certain infectious agents by using standardized methods, thereby creating a foundation for the subsequent steps of performing risk assessments and conveying targeted information to the population of affected regions. More Information on the website 2

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