Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

9. Immune competence and disease resistance

Our research aim and focus

The immune system is critical for animal health and welfare. The research aim is to identify and study markers associated with immune competence in order to evaluate animal health and to understand functional details of host immunity to infectious diseases.

Our primary focus areas

  • Immunological markers for robustness and disease resilience/susceptibility. Identification of relevant biomarker panels and improved characterization of robust animal phenotypes with special focus on development of the immune system in the young animal and the influence of e.g. bacterial metabolites.

  • Cellular and functional immunology. Detailed comparative understanding of cellular immune mechanisms in mammals and birds by the use of multi-parameter single cell analyses by flow cytometry.
  • Optimization of vaccine-induced protection. Studies of innate immune receptors with the aim of using their ligands for targeting of antigen-presenting cells in vaccine adjuvancy.

  • Passive immunity (colostrum and maternal antibodies). Improving health of the young animal by interventions supporting transfer of passive immunity from mother to offspring.

  • Host-pathogen interactions. Studies of basic interactions in order to understand details of pathogenesis and immune development in order to identify critical periods and windows of opportunities during the animal’s productive life.

  • Mucosal immunity (respiratory/gastrointestinal). Identification of important immune components involved in protection against pathogens entering via mucosal surfaces as well as understanding the gastrointestinal and respiratory immune signatures of the healthy immunocompetent host.

Theme group coordinator

Tina Sørensen Dalgaard

Associate Professor Department of Animal Science - ANIS Gut and host health (GHH)

Our research perspectives

Deciphering of important biological markers/traits for immune competence is critical in the evaluation of the animal’s ability to cope with infectious pathogens from the environment and a tool for improving resilience.

Moreover, detailed understanding of immunological mechanisms at cellular level will aid the development of new disease control strategies.