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Targeted treatment of gastrointestinal nematode infections in grazing ruminants


Project Description

Project summary:

Recent work has indicated worrying levels of anthelmintic resistance (AR) in gastrointestinal nematodes (GIN) of cattle, sheep and goats. This should prompt a re-evaluation of current GIN control strategies. Attempts to slow the development of AR in grazing livestock increasingly focus on targeted selective treatment (TST), whereby only some individuals within a herd are treated, and untreated animals provide refugia for drug-susceptible worms. This project will evaluate TST strategies in different farming systems to achieve pragmatic and economically realistic solutions. The work will involve data collection on farms and exploration of alternative strategies under climate variation and change using simulation models. The most promising approaches will be discussed with farmers in focus groups and refined in the light of constraints to their adoption, prior to being trialed on selected farms. Results will integrate new understanding of the biological principles of AR development with on-farm realities to develop robust recommendations for the optimal application of TST in Ireland in support of sustainable cattle production. The student will be based between QUB and the Teagasc beef research centre in Grange, Co. Meath (https://www.teagasc.ie/animals/beef/grange/) and farm work will focus on cattle across the island of Ireland. There is potential to extend the work to other systems, e.g. by linking with other QUB-led projects in France and Africa to build a comparative understanding of TST strategies under different climatic and farm system conditions.

Supervisors:

Professor Eric Morgan and Professor Nigel Scollan (Queen’s University School of Biological Sciences/Institute for Global Food Security), Dr Orla Keane (Teagasc) and Dr Theo de Waal (University College Dublin).

Entry requirements:

Candidates should have a 2:1 or higher Honours degree or equivalent in a relevant life sciences subject.

1. A 1st class or 2.1 honours degree in Biology, Zoology, Veterinary Science, or another life science, or a Master’s degree in one of these disciplines;
2. IELTS 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component, if required.

How to apply:

Candidates must apply online via https://dap.qub.ac.uk/portal/user/u_login.php. As well as a complete application form, applications must include (a) a letter of interest; (b) a two-page CV clearly showing how the candidate’s experience meets the project research requirements; and (c) two appropriate references.

When applying, please specify the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences, School of Biological Sciences, with Professor Eric Morgan as lead supervisor and Walsh Fellowship as source of funding. Candidate are encouraged to contact Professor Morgan with their intention to apply and for more details of the project.

Funding Notes

This project is funded by Teagasc through a Walsh Fellowship of €22,000 per annum for 3 years, which will cover tuition fees (£4,327 Home/EU for 2019/20) and the remainder for living costs. International applicants can apply, but if successful will have to pay the difference (£15,973) between 'Home/EU' and 'International' fees from the total fellowship amount.

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