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Southbank, Victoria, Australia, 2014/06/12 - 2013 Science and Innovation Award winner, Dr Abdul Jabbar, has used his Dairy Australia award to research bovine theileriosis (BT) a tick-borne disease that is similar to malaria in humans - DairyAustralia.com.au.
The Federal Government awards are popular among young scientists. Winners from across agriculture, fisheries and forestry are awarded a grant of up to $22,000 each to fund an innovative research project that will benefit Australia’s primary industries. Dairy Australia sponsors the dairy category.
To date there have been no treatments or vaccines available for BT in Australia and no accurate diagnostic tests available for livestock producers. However Dr Jabbar’s project has improved the understanding of the disease prevalent in Australian cattle.
The University of Melbourne Senior Lecturer in Veterinary Parasitology has created a rapid, cost-effective diagnostic tool that will allow for the regular monitoring of BT in Australia.
“In 2011 we were approached by a senior veterinarian to investigate an outbreak of haemolytic anemia in beef cattle near Seymour, Victoria. In this study, we found that the outbreak was associated with pathogenic strains of Theileria orientalis - the causative agent of BT in Australia and first time reported theileriosis in Victoria,” Dr Jabbar said.
“Very little was known about the epidemiology, diagnosis and economic impact of theileriosis, therefore we decided to investigate.”
Over the past twelve months and with a team of five researchers, Dr Jabbar has used his 2013 Dairy Australia award to research diagnosing herds against the disease.
“This project will help not only to diagnose but also to regularly monitor BT in Australia,” Dr Jabbar said.
“We have developed a high throughput assay or diagnostic tool - for the rapid diagnosis of BT. Using this, we can detect two virulent and two avirulent strains of Theileria orientalis. This diagnostic tool will be available to cattle farmers nationally through diagnostic laboratories.”
During the course of the project Dr Jabbar also assessed whether BT has an impact on milk production and the reproductive performance of dairy cows. “Results of this study revealed that clinical BT can cause significant milk production losses in dairy cattle,” he said.
The Federal Government awards encourage science, innovation and new technology and help to advance the careers of promising young innovators and scientists through the national recognition of their research ideas.
Dr Jabbar said that the Dairy Australia award allows for young researchers to develop their career and address important industry projects.
“The current project has played a pivotal role in the development of my research career. I am planning to extend my research activities in the field of tick-borne diseases of livestock,” he said. “In the next 12 months, my focus will be to publish the papers originating from this project and also write review articles on the subject.”
Dairy Australia Manufacturing Capability and Innovation Program Manager Dr Mani Iyer said that the Dairy Australia award helps to propel innovative young people into dairy industry careers.
“The award provides a great opportunity for both Dr. Jabbar and the Australian dairy industry,” Dr Iyer said. “Dr Jabbar’s research into BT can have a real impact on the future of the dairy industry. Dairy Australia is proud to support young innovative talent.”
Since 2001 more than 180 young Australians aged 18 to 35 have benefited from a Federal Government award with successful recipients using their funding for a range of activities including research projects, industry visits, study, training and development, or conferences and workshops.
For more information on the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry’s Science and Innovation Awards visit daff.gov.au/scienceawards
Dairy Australia is the national services body for the Australian dairy industry. The company acts as the collective investment arm of the industry, investing in essential research, development, extension and industry services.
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Dairy Australia Media Enquiries: Justine Lovell Communication Advisor
P: +61(4) 2104 0430 - E: jlovell[.]dairyaustralia.com.au.