Advancing the health and well-being of animals and people


Fellow: Vince Richards
Mentor: Michael Stanhope

Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences
Email: vpr3@cornell.edu; Phone: 607-253-4228
Sponsor: USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)
Grant Number: 2013-67012-21020
Title: Population Genomics of Streptococcus agalactiae from Infected Bovine and Fish Sources
Project Amount: $150,000
Project Period: 09/01/13-08/31/15

DESCRIPTION (Provided by Applicant): Streptococcus agalactiae is an important cause of bovine mastitis and also an aetiological agent of septicaemia and meningo-encephalitis in saltwater and freshwater fish aquaculture species. Although there is considerable evidence for host-adaptation in S. agalactiae there is also potential for human-to-animal or animal-to-human transmission, as well as the possibility of emergence of human-pathogenic clones from an animal reservoir. There is therefore, a clear need for a better understanding of the evolution and transmission dynamics of S. agalactiae both within and across host species, including humans, agricultural and aquaculture species. The objectives of this project are to: (1) conduct comparative analyses of genomic sequence data obtained from multiple isolates of S. agalactiae sourced from cases of bovine mastitis and fish septicaemia, in an effort to identify genes in the dispensable repertoire and/or SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) in shared genes, that are linked to each of these hosts and different diseases, (2) use phylodynamic and population genomic techniques to estimate (i) direction and rate of bacteria migration among populations and (ii) changes in effective population size through time.