Morris Animal Foundation Supports Texas A&M Researchers

The Morris Animal Foundation recently awarded more than $100,000 to two principal researchers--one with an equine specialty--at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) to further their research on animal health advancements. Noah Cohen, VMD, MPH, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, professor at the CVM, was awarded $64,217 over the period of two years for his research on "Recognizing Age-related Differences in Immune Response of Foals."

Cohen's research focuses on why newborn foals' neutrophils (major white blood cells) are less capable of functioning than those of older foals. Neutrophils play a critical role in protecting newborns against invading bacteria; bacterial infections are leading causes of disease and death in foals. Cohen and his research team are working to decipher which genes and their regulatory elements might explain the difference between the function of neutrophils in newborn and older foals. Scott Dindot, PhD, assistant professor at the CVM; Kyle Kuskie, veterinary technician at the CVM; and Jessica Nerren, PhD, associate research scientist at the CVM are collaborators on this project.

"We hope to be able to better understand which biological pathways and cellular processes reduce the function of foal neutrophils so that we can devise means to improve their immunity at birth," said Cohen. "This information will help us to better protect them against the bacterial infections that are their leading causes of disease and death.

"The Equine Infectious Disease Laboratory at Texas A&M University is dedicated to control and prevention of infectious disease of horses and foals, and this grant will help us to continue that goal," he added. Moreover, the study findings likely will be relevant to neonates of other species (including human beings).

Morris Animal Foundation helps to support research to prevent, diagnose, treat, and even cure diseases in companion animals, horses, and wildlife. Recipients of the awards are selected through a rigorous review process carried out by Morris Animal Foundation's scientific advisory boards. Since 1973, Morris Animal foundation has funded 67 studies at Texas A&M.

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