PhD Opportunity

Date: 08/05/17

PhD Opportunity

Kilco are pleased to announce a 3 year PhD opportunity as part of their knowledge transfer partnership with Queen's University, Belfast. The research proposal is entitled "Using ambient mass spectroscopy to elucidate treatment strategies for bovine digital dermatitis".

Background and significance of research 
Digital dermatitis is the leading infectious cause of lameness in dairy cows, resulting in reduced animal welfare and economic loss. The condition primarily manifests as skin lesions on the heels of cows, and topical treatments appear to offer the best solution. The problem persists globally, however, suggesting that treatments still need to be refined. Categorical scoring systems are widely used in the assessment of digital dermatitis lesions, but fail to acknowledge that lesions with a broadly similar appearance may have a very different structure and composition, and require different treatment. Using methodologies adopted from human cancer research, and in particular employing ambient mass spectrometry, this PhD will seek to better understand variation within and between bovine animals in the molecular profile of digital dermatitis lesion tissue. In addition, effects of different topical treatments on molecular profiles and on key markers linked to inflammation will also be assessed. Profiling of digital dermatitis lesion tissue in this manner is novel and may also have applications for other ulcerative skin conditions in farm animals. 

Research aims 
This research aims to advance understanding of the nature of skin lesion changes associated with the development and effective treatment of digital dermatitis. Tissue from lesions with a similar visual appearance will be evaluated to determine the level of variation in molecular composition. Key changes (particularly in inflammatory markers) associated with different treatment strategies will also be assessed. 

To apply for this position please follow the link applications close 31st May 2017.

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