Dr. Peter Davies receives the Howard Dunne Memorial Award

We are extremely proud of our dear colleague and friend, Dr. Peter Davies who received the 2019 Howard Dunne Memorial Award at the 50th anniversary of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, in Orlando this past week.

Dr. Davies received the Howard Dunne memorial award at the 50th AASV meeting.

The Howard Dunne Memorial award is one of the most prestigious recognition given by the AASV recognizing an AASV member who has made important contributions and provided outstanding service to the association and the swine industry.

Davies was born and raised in Perth, Western Australia, but in his youth spent much time in the wool and wheat producing region around Newdegate where his grandfather was a pioneer farmer, and for about 50 years his uncle Des Cuff always kept a few pigs for fun. There, he became interested in “all creatures great and small,” and never considered a profession other than veterinary medicine.

He received a Bachelor of Veterinary Science with Honors from the University of Melbourne in 1975, and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Sydney in 1983. He has practiced as a clinical veterinarian in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. During 1984-1986, he worked as a livestock advisor on an agricultural and community health project for small farmers in the northeast of Brazil. During 1987, recognizing the importance of veterinary expertise and specialty with life balance, he became involved in swine research as a senior veterinary officer for the South Australia Department of Agriculture, from where he was recruited to work at the University of Minnesota in 1991.

Davies has educated veterinary students in swine health and production, epidemiology, and food safety at North Carolina State University, Massey University in New Zealand, and the University of Minnesota, where he was the Allen D. Leman Chair of Swine Health and Productivity during 2003-2009. He has been a dedicated advisor to numerous Masters and PhD students, shaping the future critical thinkers and evidence-based scientists. All mention his energy, enthusiasm, and unwavering support. Described as a lifelong learner, Davies has also facilitated lifelong learning opportunities for practitioners, including a peer group program titled Epidemiological Skills for Swine Practitioners. Davies and the current Leman Chair, Dr. Cesar Corzo, are collaborating to create an updated iteration of that program to commence later in 2019.

Davies has served on several National Pork Board and AASV committees, has provided leadership for AASV and Leman Swine conferences, and regularly has been an invited speaker at international meetings on swine health and pork safety.

Davies has an extensive body of research and publications in swine health, antimicrobial use and resistance, and zoonotic and food-borne pathogens, including Salmonellaand methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). He is now in the midst of a 5-year NIOSH funded, innovative and transformational study of infectious disease risks at the human-swine interface. Focused on MRSA, hepatitis E, and influenza, the research participants are practicing AASV members, together with a control group of companion animal veterinarians.

After serving on the International Scientific Committee of the International Research Center in Veterinary Epidemiology, Copenhagen, Denmark during 2000-2007, Davies is now a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, and is on the editorial board for the Merck Veterinary Manual.

When asked what it meant to him to receive the Howard Dunne Memorial Award, he responded:

“I am humbled and honored to have my name added to the list of Howard Dunne Award recipients – a list of AASV icons, mentors, and friends who have served and guided the swine veterinary community through the years. I am indebted to countless colleagues who have educated me along the way, and to the AASV for including me in its culture of exchanging experiences and lifelong learning – every conversation is an education!”

Congratulations Peter!

Best of Leman 2018 series: J. Patterson – Efficiencies of replacement gilt management

We launched a new series on the blog last year. Once a month, we are sharing with you a presentation given at the Allen D. Leman swine conference, on topics that the swine group found interesting, innovative or that lead to great discussions.

We can find all of the presentations selected from last year’s conference on the blog here.

Our fifth presentation is by Jennifer Patterson from the University of Alberta about how we can improve efficiencies of replacement gilt management.

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Comparison of individual, group and environmental sampling strategies to conduct influenza surveillance in pigs

In this new scientific publication from Dr. Jorge Garrido, PhD candidate from the Torremorell lab, numerous sampling strategies to monitor influenza were compared. the following individual, litter, and environmental samples were included in the study:

  • Nasal swabs
  • Nasal wipes
  • Oropharyngeal swabs
  • Oral fluids
  • Surface wipes
  • Udder wipes
  • Airborne particle deposition
  • Air
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The Resistome: What is it, and why should I care? Part 2

This is our Friday rubric: every week a new Science Page from the Bob Morrison’s Swine Health Monitoring Project. The previous editions of the science page are available on our website.

Last week, we talked about the resistome – what it is, and what it could mean for livestock production and public policy. If you need a quick reminder, check back to last week’s MSHMP report before continuing.

This week, we continue our list of five emerging trends about the resistome:

3. Growing animals experience dramatic changes in their resistome, even in the absence of antibiotic drugs. This is also true for human babies and children.In fact, the scientific literature is clear on this: the resistome (and also the microbiome!) of rapidly growing livestock animals is dynamic. For the swine world, this means that most of our antibiotic treatments are being given to animals whose resistance (and microbiome) profiles are already in a baseline state of flux. Contrast this to human medicine, where we have the luxury of studying resistance in very mature, stable populations; not so in swine medicine. While that means that our task might be more challenging, I am optimistic that it also presents exciting opportunities. Given that the microbiome (and resistome) of growing animals is already changing dramatically, do we have an opportunity to “nudge” it in one direction or the other? There is some evidence that the microbiomes of adult humans are surprisingly resilient, i.e., they may shift transiently but often return to their “normal” state. This resilience might be a good thing for most of us, but it makes it challenging to change our microbiomes permanently if we need to. Perhaps because growing animals’ microbiomes are not so stable, we can more easily nudge them towards a beneficial state, i.e., with more metabolically- and inflammatory-friendly microbes and fewer resistance genes? We don’t know yet, but it’s an intriguing question.

4. Resistance is even more complex than we realize, and this is a good thing. Given everything I’ve outlined above, it should be no surprise that some of our assumptions about antibiotic resistance are being challenged. This is a good thing, and I’m hopeful that eventually this newfound knowledge will allow us to protect antibiotic efficacy in the long-term. Bacteria will always find a way to resist our treatments, and therefore the antibiotic pipeline must run continually to keep up.If there are ways that we can manipulate bacterial populations to slow down their evolution towards resistance, this prolongs the efficacy of antibiotics that are already on the market. I think that the complex resistome dynamics that we can now leverage are likely to hold some solutions in this regard.

5. Resistome (and microbiome) data is exploding – faster than we can keep up. Given the relative ease with which we can now generate DNA sequence data, we are experience a “data deluge”. While data generation is a necessary step towards knowledge discovery, it is not a sufficient step. We need to make sure that we are taking the laborious and resource-intensive measures needed to turn this data into information, and then finally into applied benefit. This transformation requires a dedicated team of extremely diverse skillsets – and that team includes producers and veterinarians who can help us ask the right questions of the data, and can then help us turn the resulting information into on-farm benefit.

I’m sure this science report is a bit different than what you expected to read, but I hope it was a helpful essay on the resistome and all of its complexities.

If you want to read some of our livestock-related scientific literature that utilizes a resistome approach, I would encourage you to read the following research summaries:

Summary 1

Summary 2

There are also some podcasts and blogs about our work, which can be found here: podcast and blog post.

And finally, you can always see our latest research publications and activities at our website and Twitter accounts: www.thenoyeslab.org and @noelle_noyes

Thanks for reading!

Come and see us at the 50th AASV meeting in Orlando!

In 2 weeks starts the 50th annual meeting of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians in Orlando, FL. Once again, the swine group from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine will be well represented. This year’s theme is Celebrating 50 years of Progress.

Numerous faculty member, graduate students, researchers and DVM students will be presenting throughout the conference.

Continue reading “Come and see us at the 50th AASV meeting in Orlando!”