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Moredun ISSUE 2 | SPRING 2011

magazine

Moredun hosts landmark FMD conference Moredun and AHDA Partnership announced Moredun PhD student presents research at the House of Commons

www.moredun.org.uk


Contents

Director’s Comment

In this Issue: p1-2

News

p2-3

Pentlands Science Park and Moredun Scientific

p4

Improving the Diagnosis of endemic livestock diseases

p6

The future for FMD control in the UK

p8

Moredun’s chlamydial research – applications and partnerships

p10

Out and About

p12

Focus On... Moredun’s Educational Group

p13

Moredun and Heriot Watt explore future opportunities

Welcome to the Spring edition of the Moredun Magazine. As the weather becomes warmer we look forward to seeing many of you at the upcoming agricultural shows and livestock events across the UK. Food security remains a very important global challenge and there is a pressing need to apply new technologies and knowledge to help ensure sustainable, safe and healthy food supplies, while reducing the impact on the environment. Moredun’s research to prevent and control livestock disease plays a leading role in improving the health, welfare and efficiency of livestock production thus reducing waste and environmental impact. In this issue we highlight some of our new research which aims to develop accurate and rapid diagnostic tests to enable early identification of infected animals, which is crucial to the development of effective disease control programmes. The two diseases highlighted are sheep scab and Johne’s, both of which are major current concerns to livestock producers. The tragedy of the Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak in 2001 is one that still haunts many people today, and we need to work together to look at the best options to contain and

control the disease, should another outbreak occur. Moredun hosted a landmark conference in March, bringing together a wide range of representative groups to debate the significant role vaccination could play in controlling future outbreaks. Highlights from the meetings are reported on page 6. This event marks the start of Moredun’s Research Horizons Initiative, which will bring key players and opinion leaders together in order to debate the issues of the day and, even more importantly, to plan the technological and societal approaches that will be required to deal with them. Sharing knowledge has always been a key part of Moredun’s work and we are delighted to report on some of the achievements of our Education group who volunteer their time to develop and present interactive exhibits and talks to encourage more public interest and debate in new research developments. The relevance of Moredun’s work to help tackle human disease is also highlighted in this issue, with research conducted by Moredun scientists helping to explain the link between Chlamydia and ectopic pregnancy in women, featuring on page 8. We also collaborated with the BBC to help make a programme looking at novel therapies to treat allergic disease, see page 1. We do hope you enjoy the articles and features in this issue and thank you for your continued support.

Julie Fitzpatrick Scientific Director and Chief Executive

Moredun Magazine Moredun magazine is produced twice a year and is available free of charge.

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Designed and Produced by Moredun Communications Centre © 2011.

Please contact: Moredun Communications Team, Pentlands Science Park, Bush Loan, Penicuik, Midlothian EH26 0PZ

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Moredun Magazine | Spring 2011

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The Moredun Foundation is a company limited by guarantee, registered in Scotland No. SC151865. The Moredun Foundation is a charity registered in Scotland, No: SC022515 Address: Pentlands Science Park, Bush Loan, Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland, EH26 0PZ. Cover image: Kevin McCollum


NEWS

Moredun and AHDA Partnership announced Moredun is delighted to announce the launch of a new partnership with the Animal Health Distributions Association (ADHA). AHDA is an association drawn from animal health product distributors across the UK. Typically these distributors stock and sell licensed animal medicines to livestock farmers, smallholders and companion animal owners. Moredun is keen to engage with animal health distributor companies and support the learning of the SQPs that they employ. As Suitably Qualified Persons (SQPs) can prescribe POM-VPS medicines, Moredun recognises the very important role these individuals have in

maximising the health and welfare of livestock animals in the UK. In May 2011 Moredun and AHDA will launch a membership partnership which will involve AHDA covering the cost of Moredun membership to SQPs employed by AHDA distributor members. This will result in over 1,500 SQPs throughout the UK benefiting from complementary membership of Moredun and receiving up to date uncommercial and independent information on a range of infectious diseases in livestock. Maggie Bennett, Communications Manager of the Moredun Foundation, is delighted that this partnership has been formed. She commented, “SQPs play a vital role in

Disease Detectives is an overwhelming hit!

supplying animal health products to farmers and in disseminating information about effective disease control. We are therefore delighted to be working with AHDA to support SQPs in their continuing professional development.” She added, “This new partnership will ensure a much closer relationship between Moredun and the AHDA and will be further developed by Moredun speakers at AHDA conferences and regional SQP CPD events in the future.”

Comments and Feedback

Disease Detectives returned to the Real Life Science Studio at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in February to find more budding scientists.

Excellent – clear, concise, very informative, well pitched, approachable, friendly - very impressed.

The highly acclaimed interactive exhibition encourages children and adults alike to help Inspector Moo investigate the case of Buttercup the poorly calf. Moredun’s STEM Ambassadors are on hand to explain how different pathogens (bacteria, viruses and parasites) can cause disease, how we can discover which one is the culprit and why this is important to ensure effective treatment. Disease Detectives ran on both Saturday and Sunday afternoon and was a huge hit with all ages. A large number of enthusiastic children and adults took part, helping us diagnose Buttercup and make her better!

Well resourced, fun, educational… ...enthusiastic staff!

Very informative and interactive.

Level aimed at young children. Lots of information delivered in an easily understandable way. The staff were excellent, patient and informative. The props were great.

Once again Disease Detectives managed to provide an interactive, educational and fun environment which received great feedback from the public.

Staff friendly, explained things well and activities interesting (especially for accompanying adult!)

Moredun scientist lends expertise to BBC’s Bang goes the Theory It is not every day that you appear on national TV, but Dr Lee Innes, Communications Director and Principal Research Scientist at Moredun took her turn in front of the camera as part of a feature for Bang Goes the Theory. The popular BBC science programme ran a story on the theory behind the Hygiene Hypothesis and how new therapies involving

worms are being developed to help control allergies. Dr Innes, whose background is in Immunology and Parasitology, discussed with the presenters the ideas behind why children brought up on farms are less likely to suffer from allergies. The piece was filmed on a farm in East Sussex owned by Moredun Foundation members and featured in episode 6 of the popular BBC science programme aired on 22nd April (18th in England and Wales).

Moredun Magazine | Spring 2011

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News

Rachael Baker, one of Moredun’s current PhD students, was one of only four Biological and Biomedical Sciences students from Scotland recently invited to present and discuss their research at the House of Commons. Rachael’s work on Teladorsagia circumcincta, the most common parasitic nematode of sheep in the UK, impressed the judges of the SET for BRITAIN competition, and she was invited to attend a special event in Westminster on 14th March. SET for BRITAIN is a national poster competition and exhibition to promote earlycareer researchers. The competition attracts a large number of high calibre entries and aims to help politicians understand more about the

Photo | Kevin McCollum

Moredun PhD student presents research at the House of Commons UK’s thriving science base and see at first hand examples of the high quality research being undertaken in British institutions. During the course of the day, Members of the House of Commons and House of Lords visited the exhibitions in the Marquee and Rachael got the opportunity to discuss her work with the politicians as well as leading scientists. Rachael commented, “explaining my research to scientists and politicians from a broad spectrum of backgrounds and interests was a really valuable experience. It was interesting to get a feel for what other people viewed to be the big questions that come out of my experiments”. We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Rachael on her success in this national and prestigious competition.

Moredun Scientific provides new service Moredun Scientific is a commercial arm of the Moredun Group and provides contract research and testing services to the animal health industry. Faecal egg counting service Gut roundworm infections (gastrointestinal nematodes) are a major impediment to cattle and sheep livestock production efficiency. Current control is achieved by routine dosing of susceptible stock with drugs (anthelmintics) but this is threatened by the development and spread of drug resistant parasites. The development of resistance by ovine gastrointestinal nematodes to the anthelmintics that are used to control them is a major threat to the sustainability of sheep farming. It is recommended that flocks are monitored to decide when to treat with anthelmintics and what parasites to treat against. Faecal egg count monitoring provides valuable information relating to which parasites are present and the seasonal patterns of worm

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infection on your farm. This information can aid in the decision of which treatments may be needed and those which would be most suitable. Monitoring can potentially help reduce the amount of drench used over a grazing season by providing a guide to the appropriate drenching times and minimizing off-target usage. Moredun Scientific is planning to introduce a faecal worm egg counting service later this year. The test involves a count of the number of worm eggs present in a defined quantity of faecal matter. Moredun Research Institute has significant expertise in veterinary parasitology and scientists from the parasitology group will support Moredun Scientific in the set up and delivery of the service. If you are a veterinarian or a Suitably Qualified Person (SQP) involved in the supply of veterinary products for worm control we would be very interested to learn more about your potential requirements for diagnostic services and tell you about our plans in this area.

New Managing Director At the start of the year we were pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Willie Donachie as the new Managing Director of Moredun Scientific. He succeeded Juan Escala who left the company to take up a new opportunity. Willie will continue to maintain a key role within the Moredun Research Institute where he is Deputy Director. Professor Donachie has been involved with the animal health industry for over thirty years. He has specific research interests in bacterial diseases of livestock, and vaccine development has been a major component of his research, involving close links with commercial companies.


Pentlands Science Park

Positive year for Pentlands Science Park

Pentlands Science Park is home to the Moredun Group as well as a number of other diagnostic, biotechnology and technology transfer companies. PSP provides property and facilities management services including security, engineering, information technology, catering and conference facilities. Despite the challenges of the tough economic climate and the harsh winter weather, Pentlands Science Park (PSP) has had another strong year and has maintained close to 100% occupancy. Negotiations are ongoing which should result in a lease of the remaining vacant space and we are very pleased that the Park is still seen as an attractive and effective place to be located, and that our tenants benefit from the links with Moredun and the full range of support services provided by PSP. The rental income of circa £1.7million is a crucial part of Moredun’s finances and strong profits by PSP has, again, enabled it to make a gift aid payment to the Moredun Foundation to fund a research studentship and help towards debt repayment. As well as being the home of Moredun, PSP has over 20 commercial tenants involved in R&D in life sciences and their activities. The Park is one of the major employment centres in Midlothian and over 450 people work on the site. As a result of the high occupancy,

PSP is continuing to look at options for expanding the science park in a financially sustainable manner to meet the demands of the area’s strong life science sector and the immediate animal bioscience cluster. PSP tenants’ companies have continued to perform well, notably Angel Biotechnology, the contract research manufacturer, which has secured several major contracts and business funding recently, and has supplied stem cell product for ReNeuron which is being

used in clinical trials on stroke patients in Glasgow. PSP has works hard to improve the quality and efficiency of its services to provide added value and help tenants control costs. The efforts of the staff were much appreciated in keeping the Park open and safe through the worst of the winter weather. PSP leads the Moredun Environmental Management System which has ISO14001 certification and had a very positive annual audit at the end of March 2011. As a result of these activities, our environmental performance has improved and we are seeing savings in several areas. PSP continues to be an active stakeholder in the Edinburgh Science Triangle project and member of the UK Science Park Association.

The big freeze of December 2010, picturesque but challenging!

Moredun Magazine | Spring 2011

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Research

Photo | Kevin McCollum

Improving the diagnosis of endemic livestock diseases Dr Mark Dagleish

Moredun President for Vet Deer Society Dr Mark Dagleish, Head of Pathology at Moredun, has been appointed the 30th President of the Veterinary Deer Society. The Veterinary Deer Society is a specialist division of the British Veterinary Association and aims to provide a forum for discussion and the exchange of ideas on all matters pertaining to deer. Dr. Pete Goddard, Secretary of the Society commented, “We are delighted to have appointed Mark Dagleish as our President this year. Mark has had considerable involvement with the VDS over many years, given presentations on a number of deer-related topics and has been an enthusiastic member of the society’s Executive Committee. He played a leading role in the Society’s successful 2010 conference and has been planning a number of initiatives to facilitate the engagement of VDS members who are distributed throughout the UK and beyond.” Dr Dagleish commented, “I am both delighted and honoured to take up this position, and the VDS Committee and I am here to support and further the role of veterinary surgeons working with deer”. Mark succeeds Dr Hugh Reid, also from Moredun, who was appointed President in 2009.

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The accurate diagnosis of disease is pivotal to providing a sure basis for treatment. Moredun scientists are therefore dedicated to developing new and improved diagnostic tests in order to prevent and control the infectious diseases of livestock. Here are examples of just two of the research programmes at Moredun that have been successful in developing novel diagnostic tests.

New diagnostic test developed for sheep scab Moredun scientists have developed a new blood test for sheep scab. This new test can accurately diagnose sheep infested with the sheep scab mite before clinical signs are seen, which will have a massive, positive impact on the health and welfare of UK sheep. Sheep scab is caused by the mite Psoroptes ovis and is, arguably, the most important ectoparasitic disease of sheep in the UK. Since

its deregulation as a notifiable disease in 1992, sheep scab has become endemic throughout the UK. The disease is highly contagious, causing considerable irritation and is a major welfare concern. As the incidence of sheep scab continues to increase throughout the UK, even those flocks with good treatment regimes are continuously battling against reinfestation. The reality is that all sheep keepers are at risk of scab. While injectable macrolide endectocides or macrocyclic lactones are effective at treating sheep scab at present, there is concern that the mites will become resistant to these chemicals as well. Moreover, their frequent use for the control of scab will only intensify the development of resistance of gastrointestinal nematode worms. During the early stages, infestations are not obvious and animals often appear clinically normal. This subclinical stage can last for several weeks during which animals can act as a vector of infestation. For control or


RESEARCH

eradication programs to be successful, it is crucial that all infested animals are identified, including subclinical cases. Moredun scientists have recently developed a diagnostic test capable of accurately detecting sheep scab in infested animals. Moreover, the test can detect infested animals at a much earlier stage and before the onset of clinical symptoms which will be important in the control of this parasite. The new ELISA test is based on the detection of host antibodies specific to a recombinant mite antigen. The test is both sensitive and specific, with no cross reactions observed with other ecto- or endo-parasites. The patent for this new diagnostic test has now been protected and the test is currently being used on a number of farms to determine its most appropriate application. Moredun is currently in discussions with a number of external diagnostic companies to determine how this test could be commercially developed. Moredun scientists are also developing a lateral flow (pen-side dipstick) test for scab which would provide a much more rapid result without the need for laboratory analysis. As new controls to deal with the increasing incidence of sheep scab in Scotland were introduced by the Scottish Government in December last year, it is hoped that this new diagnostic test may be a useful tool to aid the control of sheep scab in the future.

Improved diagnostic test for Johne’s disease in cattle under development Johne’s disease is a chronic enteritis of ruminants caused by Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (Map). It is endemic

in Europe and the USA and responsible for significant economic losses to the livestock industries through premature culling, lost productivity, infertility, susceptibility to disease, lost export markets and direct expenditure on diagnosis and control. The disease is spread mainly by the ingestion of contaminated faeces from an infected animal. Young animals are more susceptible to infection and can become infected by ingesting faeces, contaminating the teats and udders of the dams or pasture and feed. Infected dams also can pass on infection via contaminated colostrum or milk and across the placenta to unborn animals. Following infection there is a long incubation period before the animals show clinical signs. Animals in this stage of the disease are said to be ‘subclinically infected’. The characteristic clinical signs of disease are diarrhoea (in cattle), loss of body condition and severe wasting culminating in death. The diagnosis and control of Johne’s disease is problematic, particularly with respect to subclinically infected animals. More often than not the disease is introduced to a farm through the introduction of subclinically infected animals showing no signs of disease. Most Johne’s control programmes in cattle

in the UK rely on regular screening of the herd using an enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), which detects antibodies to Map in the blood or milk. This test works well for animals in the later stages of disease when the antibody levels are high but is unreliable for detecting subclinically infected animals where antibody levels are too low to detect. Another

problem with this test is that it will detect cross reactive antibodies in animals infected with other mycobacteria, which gives rise to false positives. Bacteriological culture and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests can be used to confirm diagnosis. However, culture is too slow as the bacteria are very slow growing (10-16 weeks for cattle isolates and 18 months or more for some sheep isolates). PCR is more rapid but is not as yet used for routine diagnosis in the UK. Since subclinically infected animals shed Map intermittently, these tests will not reliably detect subclinically infected animals. Researchers at Moredun have therefore been

working towards improving the existing diagnostic tests to overcome the problems of false positives and the detection of subclinical animals. The group has therefore developed a new diagnostic test for Johne’s disease based on the existing Bovigam gamma interferon ELISA (originally developed for the detection of bovine tuberculosis). This new blood test would be particularly useful for checking breeding stock and replacement animals to reduce the probability of introducing subclinically infected animals into herds. Using state-of-the-art proteomics technology, Moredun scientists have identified Map-specific proteins that have been incorporated into a gamma interferon ELISA. Two small groups of subclinically infected and healthy animals were tested using this new gamma interferon ELISA and the test was successful in statistically differentiating between the two groups of animals. The next step is to further evaluate the ability of the test to detect early subclinical Map infections in a field situation. Although further work is needed to determine the sensitivity and validate the test, the results so far are promising. For further information please visit: www.moredun.org.uk/research

Moredun Magazine | Spring 2011

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The future for FMD control in the UK Landmark conference discusses role of vaccination Ten years on from the worst FMD outbreak in UK history, scientific experts and industry representatives have attended a landmark conference held at Moredun in March to discuss the significant role that vaccination could play in any future outbreak of disease.

in the UK, a policy which sees animals vaccinated to control the disease and then enter the food chain may provide a viable alternative to the mass cull of animals seen during previous epidemics here. Breakout sessions at the conference gave delegates the opportunity to discuss the practicalities of vaccine manufacture and

distribution, when and how the vaccine could be used, challenges vaccination may present to the processing industry, likely consumer reaction and impact on exports, amongst others. Simon Hall, Chief Veterinary Officer for Scotland said: “This seminar has provided a shared understanding of protective vaccination

More than 100 invited delegates representing farmers, auctioneers, food processors, retailers, scientists, consumers, pharmaceutical companies, vets, Scottish and UK Governments, devolved administrations and animal health – attended the conference, titled “FMD – Vaccine to Live”. The tragedy of the FMD outbreak of 2001 left a scar on the industry that still haunts all those who were affected either directly or indirectly. The conference was a timely opportunity both to take stock of the lessons learned from that epidemic, and to look forward at how future control models may look, given the diagnostic advances that are now available and the new international and European framework for Foot and Mouth disease control. Should the worst happen, and another FMD outbreak occur in Scotland or elsewhere Nigel Miller, President of NFU Scotland addresses delegates

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THE FUTURE OF FMD: Conference Report

Breakout sessions provided a good forum for discussion and debate

in the face of a foot and mouth disease outbreak, and has been a good opportunity for us all to work together to identify solutions to perceived problems which may impede vaccination. A variety of stakeholders have come along today which has helped ensure that we look at this issue from a number of different angles” Professor Julie Fitzpatrick, Chief Executive and Director of Moredun commented: “The threat of foot and mouth disease remains a serious one. Detailed pre-outbreak planning is essential to minimise the effects of what can

Julie Fitzpatrick, CEO, Moredun

be a devastating disease. Moredun fully supports the results of the official enquiries into the 2001 outbreak, which recommend strongly that future contingency plans should incorporate emergency protective barrier or ring vaccination as an adjunct to the slaughter of clinical cases, as this would lead to a considerable reduction in the number of animals requiring to be slaughtered.” Dr Peter Nettleton, leading veterinary virologist, added: “Foot and Mouth vaccination is the modern alternative to mass slaughter. The use of vaccination to resolve the next outbreak could help to prevent the tragic scenes, social upheaval and psychological trauma that were witnessed 10 years ago.” Nigel Miller, President of NFU Scotland, said: “The Vaccine to Live event was designed to stimulate sensible discussion on how we can exploit the new diagnostic tools that are available to us, and how we can open the door to a Vaccine to Live policy within Scotland and the UK. “There is a real opportunity to build these innovations and flexibilities into our future contingency planning, to allow us to make improvements and avoid the tragedy of 2001.

But to make it work we need buy-in; from farmers being prepared to vaccinate their animals, processors being prepared to handle meat and milk from vaccinated animals and consumers both at home and across Europe being prepared to buy it. “Fundamentally, we must find a way to avoid the scenes of mass slaughter of 2001. The economic disruption caused by culling livestock from huge areas, and the scars that left on

Dr Alf Füssel

both individuals who were directly affected, and the wider countryside, is not something any of us want to see again. It is our duty as an industry to equip ourselves with the tools to ensure those scenes are not repeated.” All the presentations from this event, as well as reports from each of the breakout sessions can be found on Moredun’s website: www.moredun.org.uk/events/fmd-vaccineto-live

Simon Hall, CVO, Scotland

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Research Moredun’s chlamydial research – applications and partnerships encourage any farmer who receives a positive EAE result from a vaccinated ewe that has aborted to consult their vet and local VI centre, who will then contact the vaccine provider and Moredun in order to investigate the situation.

Emergence of Chlamydia-like bacterial organisms in UK cattle

Moredun is world renowned for its research into Chlamydia and the disease it causes in sheep. However, Moredun’s expertise in chlamydial biology has been applied to look at the effects of the organism in two other species – cattle and man. Work on C.abortus in sheep continues Enzootic abortion of ewes (EAE or chlamydial abortion) is a major cause of lamb mortality across the world and accounts for around 44% of diagnosed infectious abortions in UK sheep annually. While uncontrolled EAE in a flock can lead to abortion levels between 5-10%, with abortion storms of up to 30%, vaccination can bring abortion down to 2% or less. There are two vaccines available to control EAE in the UK – Enzovax® produced by Intervet / Schering Plough Animal Health and CEVAC Chlamydia® produced by CEVA Animal Health, both of which are based on the same

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vaccinal strain of Chlamydia. In 2010, Moredun scientists found that some ewes that had been vaccinated against EAE still aborted due to chlamydial infection. After detailed investigations Moredun scientists concluded that the probable cause of these abortions was the ‘vaccinal strain’ of Chlamydia. No vaccine is ever 100% effective and sheep that have been vaccinated with either Enzovax® or CEVAC Chlamydia® can abort at the next lambing. This may be because the ewe was already infected before she was vaccinated (sometimes described as having a latent infection) or because of the incorrect storage or administration of the vaccines. Moredun scientists can now confirm that the ‘vaccinal strain’ of Chlamydia may also play a part in these abortions. Moredun is actively working with both Intervet / Schering Plough Animal Health and CEVA Animal Health to investigate this situation further. They would like to

While there is a great deal of information available on chlamydial organisms affecting ruminants, in particular Chlamydophila abortus that causes EAE and Chlamydophila pecorum that has been linked with a variety of diseases in sheep and cattle, much less is known about an emerging group of Chlamydia-like organisms affecting cattle. Although, it is some 25 years since the first identification of a Chlamydia-like organism in a case of infectious cattle abortion, it is only in the last few years that it has become clear that there are many other related organisms, such as Parachlamydia, associated with cattle abortions. Such organisms may in part be responsible for the underdiagnosis (65% of submitted cases) of infectious abortions in cattle.


RESEARCH

Recently, work conducted at Moredun identified the presence of Chlamydia-like organisms in 27% of samples obtained from infectious cattle abortions in Scotland, indicating the endemic presence of these organisms in the UK. Analysis of these samples showed that the majority are closely related to Parachlamydia. Most recently, undiagnosed samples from cases of bovine abortion on a Scottish farm were sent by SAC to Moredun for further investigations. This analysis again revealed the presence of Chlamydia-like organisms closely related to Parachlamydia. Moredun now aims to continue investigations into these emerging pathogens in UK cattle and to determine the link with disease. We will communicate our findings on our website and in future editions of this magazine.

Moredun helps explain link between Chlamydia and ectopic pregnancy in humans Moredun scientists working with colleagues from the University of Edinburgh have discovered that women who have had a chlamydial infection are at greater risk of an ectopic pregnancy because of a lasting effect of the infection. A new study, published in the American Journal of Pathology, provides evidence for the first time of how Chlamydia can increase

the risk of an ectopic pregnancy – which occurs when an embryo implants outside the womb, in the fallopian tube. A team of researchers, based at Moredun and the University of Edinburgh, have found that women who have had the sexually transmitted infection are more likely to produce a particular protein (PROKR2) in their fallopian tubes, which makes a pregnancy more likely to implant in the fallopian tube rather than the uterus. Ectopic pregnancy occurs in 1-2% of all pregnancies in Europe and the USA. In the Western world, it remains the most common cause of maternal mortality in the first trimester of pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy also causes acute symptoms such as pelvic pain and vaginal bleeding, and long-term problems, such as infertility.

Gift Aid – boost our income by 25% at no cost to yourself! If you are a UK taxpayer, Gift Aid offers a simple way to increase the value of any money you may donate to the Moredun Foundation by allowing us to reclaim the tax on your donations and membership subscriptions from the Inland Revenue, provided you pay Income or Capital Gains tax.

Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the UK. It can be treated but often goes undiagnosed because it can occur without symptoms. Chlamydial infection is also associated with pelvicinflammatory disease, and ocular trachoma (a contagious infection of the conjunctiva and cornea that can lead to blindness if left untreated). These findings are not only important in the context of ectopic pregnancy, but may have wider implications in helping to explain the association of Chlamydia with other diseases. For further information please visit: www.moredun.org.uk/research

This means that Moredun’s voluntary income could be boosted by as much as 25% with no extra cost to you. Signing up to gift aid will also allow Moredun to claim 25p of every pound you donated or gave as part of your membership subscription over the last four years from the Inland Revenue too! To those of you who have already signed and returned your Gift Aid declaration form - thank you – Moredun has received over £20,000 from the Inland Revenue so far, which is a tremendous amount. A gift aid declaration form can be downloaded free of charge from our website, just log onto: www.moredun.org.uk/donate or you can fill in and return the gift aid declaration enclosed with this mailing. If you have any questions or would like more information about how you can support our work please contact Maggie Bennett at the Foundation office.

Moredun Magazine | Spring 2011

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Out and About Bugs versus Drugs

Moredun Scientists at the Disease Detectives exhibit during the Edinburgh Science Festival

‘Bugs vs. Drugs’ is the new interactive educational exhibition produced by Moredun’s Education Group for 2011. Launched in April at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, as part of the Edinburgh International Science Festival, it was hugely successful, attracting a large number of visitors and fantastic feedback from the general public. 86% of feedback rated the exhibit excellent or good for entertainment and 92% rated the exhibit excellent or good for educational value. The Botanics estimated that between 800-900 people visited the studio during the two days. The exhibition highlights the relevance to everyday lives of Moredun’s work in disease control and diagnostics . It tells the tale of Sophie Scientist, Vernon Vet and Farmer Fred who are all working to keep Flossie the Sheep and her friends healthy. Children learn how bugs become resistant to drugs, why this is a problem, and what we can do to prevent this from happening.

Forthcoming Shows & Events 2011 • • • • • • • •

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18 May Welsh Sheep, Machynlleth (Powys) 26 May Beef Expo (Newark) 1 June Scotland’s Beef Event (Fochabers) 8 June North Sheep, Hexham 23 – 26 June Royal Highland Show, Edinburgh 4 July Northern Ireland Sheep, Ballymena 6 October Winter Beef Management Event, Balbuthie (Fife) 16 November Agri Scot, Edinburgh


Photography | David McIntyre

OUT AND ABOUT

Moredun’s Patron HRH The Princess Royal

Photography | David McIntyre

At a special event showcasing some of Moredun’s partnerships with the farming, veterinary, scientific, government, commercial and public understanding of science sectors, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal praised the research efforts of the Moredun Foundation and Moredun Research Institute, and stressed the importance of continued collaboration in the fight against livestock diseases.

HRH tours Moredun’s laboratories

Knowledgescotland January 2011 saw the launch of a short film showcasing the work of the Scottish Research Institutes. Produced by Greenroom films in association with Moredun as part of the knowledgescotland project. The film can be viewed on Moredun’s web site: http://www.moredun.org.uk/knowledgeexchange/engaging-with-policymakers/knowledgescotland-projects

Work Shadowing Scheme Following the success of the pilot Work Shadowing Scheme in 2009, 13 scientists from the Scottish Research Institutes were placed with colleagues within various departments of the Scottish Government over three days in January 2011. The Scheme aims to foster closer links between scientists and policy makers. Feedback from both groups was again very positive.

Enlightenment at the Science Festival The beautiful images already exhibited in various places across Scotland returned to Edinburgh this April as part of the International Science Festival. They were enjoyed by many in an outdoor location on the roof of the Waverley Centre and in the City Arts Centre.

For a full evaluation and further information, please see the Work Shadowing Evaluation Reports: http://www.moredun.org.uk/knowledgeexchange/engaging-with-policy-makers Moredun Magazine | Spring 2011 11


Focus On... Focus on our Education Group

Sharing knowledge and interacting with others has always been a key part of our work. Accordingly, the Moredun Foundation is renowned for its outstanding work in engaging with the farming and veterinary community - but did you know that we are also actively involved in communicating our work to the general public and in particular, school children? At Moredun we believe that it is important that school children are actively encouraged to get involved in science. As a result we are involved in a number of initiatives to help support the development of Scotland’s next generation of pioneering scientists. At the forefront of this commitment is our Education Group. Run by a strong team of STEM ambassadors, who volunteer their time to young people interested in science, technology, engineering and maths, this small but enthusiastic group of scientists and communicators helps drive Moredun’s work in this area. Our Education Group has a lot of experience in developing interactive displays to help enhance children’s curiosity. Each year they bring these exhibits to life as part of

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Edinburgh’s International Science Festival. The exhibitions have also been enjoyed at numerous agricultural shows over the past 10 years. We now have a collection of 7 exhibits covering a wide variety of topics that not only reflect Moredun’s work but also have a strong public relevance. Important and relevant messages coupled with a large helping of fun mean that our educational work is a growing success, winning awards at events and attracting excellent reviews.


FOCUS ON...

Moredun and Heriot Watt explore future opportunities Moredun is proud of the many partnerships and collaborations it has formed in order to ensure that the livestock of today and tomorrow are healthy, productive and well-suited to purpose.

As part of our continuing commitment in this area our education resources are now being utilised as part of a local school outreach programme. Our exhibits and STEM ambassadors are already proving a success as Moredun becomes involved in primary schools’ science weeks. In the long term, it is hoped that our exhibits will provide teachers with the background information and lesson ideas to help them bring topical science to life in the classroom. Our future aim is for our work to generate discussions and encourage science learning in classrooms across the country. For more information about our work and our latest education initiatives please email us at: education@moredun.org.uk

Staff from Moredun and Heriot Watt University met recently (24th and 25th February) to discuss and explore future opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborations. The two day exchange event held at Peebles Hydro brought together scientists from a range of different disciplines across the two organisations and aimed to kick start Moredun’s new partnership with Heriot Watt. Participants took part in speed collaboration sessions and listened to a series of talks throughout the two days. These discussions not only sparked potential interest in future collaborations but also highlighted outputs and lessons learnt from past interdisciplinary partnerships. A collaboration wall was built up over the duration of the workshop highlighting research questions, themes and topics of common interest. Several scientific themes emerged from the wall, notably diagnostics; microsystems and nanotechnology; imaging; and host-pathogen interactions and modelling. It is hoped that these themes will drive new projects and attract funding for future research which will be beneficial to both organisations. “I found the workshop really inspiring and can see great potential in linking the physical and life sciences to help address some of the questions we have in animal disease research”

Heriot Watt and Moredun scientists at workshop

Provisions have been made to help ensure that the discussions and achievements made during the workshop will be built upon and that this new collaboration will continue to move forward. The event proved that Moredun’s expertise in disease pathogenesis, control and management coupled with Heriot Watt’s strength in modelling, engineering and technology makes for an exciting partnership and one of great potential and benefit. Collaborations will help fulfil the need for effective and timely diagnostics and therapeutics, ultimately enhancing Moredun’s work towards safeguarding animal health and welfare. “The workshop was very intense but very energising. I greatly enjoyed having the time to think about science and to explore new collaboration approaches. I can see great potential in this interaction between Moredun and Heriot Watt”

Thank You As a registered charity Moredun is indebted to donations from its members and supporters to help ensure that vital areas of our work can continue. Special thanks must go to the following organisations, all of whom have made donations to Moredun in the last twelve months. Their support is greatly appreciated.

Bayer Animal Health Border Union Agricultural Society BDO Canada LLP Buckland Charitable Trust Hybu Cig Cymru (Meat Promotion Wales) Janssen Animal Health Novartis Animal Health Perth Ram Society

Pfizer Animal Health Quality Meat Scotland Romsey Agricultural & Horse Show Society Scottish Blackface Sheep Breeders Swinton Charitable Trust Volac International Limited Welsh Assembly Government

Moredun Magazine | Spring 2011 13


www.moredun.org.uk

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