Anja Sipka, DVM, PhD

Faculty member

Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences

Senior Research Associate


Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences
Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
Ithaca, NY 14853

Office: 607.255.8202

Research Interest

Immune regulation in transition dairy cows with special focus on innate immune response during mastitis and metritis. Phenotype and function of bovine monocytes and monocyte derived cells in health and disease.

The long-term goal of my research is to define new strategies to improve and maintain dairy cow health by deepening the understanding of the cow's immune response and the dynamics of infections in the transition period and in lactation. A special focus lies on the link between metabolic disorders and immune function in transition dairy cows. I also study host-pathogen interactions in bovine mastitis using experimental intramammary infection models and in vitro models with primary bovine mammary gland epithelial cells.


  • PhD, Immunology Unit, University of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover, Germany 2009
  • DVM, College for Veterinary Medicine, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany 2006

Biography/Professional Experience

1/2016 – current Research Associate at Quality Milk Production Service, Animal Health Diagnostic Center, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

  • Research Projects: Characterization of immune status in transition dairy cows to improve udder health and control intramammary infections
  • Development of on-farm detection systems for mastitis pathogens
  • Service Work: Evaluation of milking parlor efficacy, udder health and mastitis incidence on dairy farms in New York State. Consultation of farmers on parlor performance, milking procedures and udder hygiene. Processing of milk samples for bacterial culture and interpretation of culture results.

5/2011 – 12/2015 Post Doctoral Associate at Cornell Program for Applied Research in Mastitis Cornell University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Ithaca, NY

  • Research Focus: Dynamics of the immune response during mastitis in late gestation and midlactation dairy cows.
  • Tasks and skills: Project manager of experimental E. coli infection trials with dairy cows; management of the research laboratory; characterization of leukocyte subsets by flow cytometry, immune. Histology, conventional and real time PCR. Planning and analysis of microarray based gene expression studies.

2/2009 – 3/2011 Post Doctoral Associate at Immunology Unit, University of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover, Germany

  • Research Focus: Regulation of the innate immune response in bovine mastitis and endometritis.
  • Tasks and skills: Culture and polarization of bovine macrophages in an in vitro model. Phenotypical and functional characterization of immune cells by flow cytometry. Gene expression analysis in leukocyte subpopulation and tissue by real time PCR. Organization and maintenance of the molecular biology lab. Supervision of master and doctoral students.

10/2006 – 1/2009 Doctoral student at Immunology Unit, University of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover, Germany

  • Doctoral thesis research in characterization of modulatory properties of the neuromediator Substance P on bovine immune cells.
  • Tasks Separa tainond skofil lsb: ovine immune cells and differentiation of bovine monocyte-derived macrophages. Gene expression analysis by quantitative real time PCR including novel design and validation of primers. Functional analysis of immune cells by flow cytometry.

4/2006 – 9/2006 Research assistant Clinic for Cattle, University of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover, Germany

  • Endocrine profiling of non pregnant and pregnant dairy cows. Execution of in-vivo-studies on endocrine profiles during the estrus cycle of dairy cows.


Sipka A, Pomeroy B, Hussen J, Eger M, Schukken Y, Schuberth HJ. Counts of bovine monocyte subsets prior to calving are predictive for postpartum occurrence of mastitis and metritis. Vet Res. 2017 Feb 21;48(1):13. doi: 10.1186/s13567-017-0415-8.

Pomeroy B, Gurjar A, Sipka A, Klaessig S, Salmon S, Quesnell R, Schukken YH. Intramammary immunization with ultraviolet-killed Escherichia coli shows partial protection against late gestation intramammary challenge with a homologous strain. J Dairy Sci. 2016 Sep 13. pii: S0022-0302(16)30626-9. doi: 10.3168/jds.2016-11149.

Anja Sipka, Brianna Pomeroy, Suzanne Klaessig, Ynte Schukken. Bovine natural killer cells are present in Escherichia coli infected mammary gland tissue and show antimicrobial activity in vitro Comparative Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases 2016 DOI: 10.1016/j.cimid.2016.08.001

Pomeroy B, Sipka A, Klaessig S, Schukken Y. Longitudinal characterization of bovine monocyte-derived dendritic cells from mid-gestation into subsequent lactation reveals nadir in phenotypic maturation and macrophage-like cytokine profile in late gestation. J Reprod Immunol. 2016 Aug 30;118:1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jri.2016.08.003.

Sipka A, Klaessig S, Duhamel GE, Swinkels J, Rainard P, Schukken Y. Impact of intramammary treatment on gene expression profiles in bovine Escherichia coli mastitis. PLoS One. 2014 Jan 14;9(1):e85579. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0085579. eCollection 2014.

Sipka A., Gurjar A., Klaessig S., Duhamel G.E., Skidmore A., Swinkles J., Cox P., Schukken Y., 2013. Prednisolone and Cefapirin act complementary in resolving experimental E. Coli mastitis. J of Dairy Sci. doi: 10.3168/jds.2012-6455. [Epub ahead of print]

Düvel A., Frank C., Schnapper A., Schuberth H.J., Sipka A. 2012. Classically or alternatively activated bovine monocyte-derived macrophages in vitro do not resemble CD163/Calprotectin biased macrophage populations in the teat. Innate Immun. 18(6): 886-96

Sipka A., Langner K., Seyfert H.M., Schuberth H.J. 2010. Substance P alters the in-vitro responsiveness of bovine monocytes and blood derived macrophages. Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 136(3-4): 219-26

Riccardo Tassi; Tom McNeilly; Anja Sipka; Ruth N Zadoks. Correlation of hypothetical virulence traits of two Streptococcus uberis strains with the clinical manifestation of bovine mastitis; Vet Res. 2015 Oct 23;46:123. doi: 10.1186/s13567-015-0268-y.

Pomeroy B, Sipka A, Klaessig S, Schukken Y.Monocyte-derived dendritic cells from late gestation cows have an impaired ability to mature in response to E. coli stimulation in a receptor and cytokine-mediated fashion. Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2015 Jul 2. pii: S0165-2427(15)00142-7. doi: 10.1016/j.vetimm.2015.06.016. [Epub ahead of print]

Monique Lind, Anja S Sipka, Hans-Joachim Schuberth, Andreas Blutke, Rüdiger Wanke, Carola Sauter-Louis, Katarzyna A Duda, Otto Holst, Pascal Rainard, Pierre Germon, Holm Zerbe, and Wolfram Petzl. Location-specific expression of chemokines, TNF-α and S100 proteins in a teat explant model. Innate Immunity 1753425914539820, first published on August 17, 2014 as doi:10.1177/1753425914539820

Piechotta M, Holzhausen L, Araujo MG, MHeppelmann, A Sipka, Pfarrer C, Schuberth HJ, Bollwein H. Ante partal insulin-like growth factor concentrations indicating differences in the metabolic adaptive capacity in dairy cows. J Vet Sci. 2014 Jun 20. [Epub ahead of print]

Renner L, von Soosten D, Sipka A, Döll S, Beineke A, Schuberth HJ, Dänicke S. Effect of conjugated linoleic acid on proliferation and cytokine expression of bovine peripheral blood mononuclear cells and splenocytes ex vivo. Arch Anim Nutr. 2012 Apr;66(2):73-85.

Sander A.K., Piechotta M., Schlamberger G., Bollwein H., Kaske M., Sipka A., Schuberth H.J. 2011. Ex vivo phagocytic overall performance of neutrophilic granulocytes and the relation to plasma insulin like growth factor-I concentration in dairy cows during the transition period. J of Dairy Sci. 94(4): 1762-71

Schukken YH, Günther J, Fitzpatrick J, Fontaine MC, Goetze L, Holst O, Leigh J, Petzl W, Schuberth HJ, Sipka A, Smith DG, Quesnell R, Watts J, Yancey R, Zerbe H, Gurjar A, Zadoks RN, Seyfert HM; members of the Pfizer mastitis research consortium. 2011. Host-response patterns of intramammary infections in dairy cows. Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 144:270-289.

Awards and Honors

06/2013- 07/2015: Fellowship from the German Research Foundation (DFG) Project SI 1987/1-1: The role of natural killer cells in modulating the immune response in bovine E. coli mastitis.

Professional/Academic Affiliations

  • Since 01/2016: Member of the editorial board for the Journal of Dairy Science
  • Since 01/2016: Member of the American Dairy Science Association