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by Callie Rainosek

Strengthening Foal Immune Systems, Preventing Pneumonia Dr. Noah Cohen

Dr. Noah Cohen, professor and associate department head for research and graduate studies in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM), is leading the search for an effective strategy to prevent diseases caused by Rhodococcus equi (R. equi), a bacterium that commonly causes diseases in foals and in humans and animals with suppressed immune systems. R. equi may not always cause disease in an infected animal, but when it does, pneumonia is most often the disease that develops. R. equi frequently infects the lungs of foals, causing severe symptoms, such as fever and coughing, which can potentially lead to death. In addition to disease in the lungs, R. equi can affect bones, kidneys, the intestinal tract, and other parts of the body. To combat this potentially deadly pathogen, clinicianscientists like Cohen are working to develop strategies other than antibiotics that stimulate the patient’s immune system to help protect them from infection. 72 •

• Winter 2017

Coming to the CVM In 1988, Cohen came to the CVM as an assistant professor in veterinary public health. However, his interest in applying epidemiology to large animal medicine soon led him to a residency in large animal internal medicine at the CVM. “I was honored and excited about my residency,” he said. “There were outstanding equine internists at Texas A&M, including Drs. Kent Carter, Joe Joyce, Tom Kasari, Bill McMullen, Dub Ruoff, and Allen Roussel. I knew that the excellent clinical training would enable me to identify critical questions for research. The opportunities and clinical questions seemed endless.” Before he started his residency, Cohen had the opportunity to meet Dr. Ronald J. Martens, the department head of what is now the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences. Several years before Cohen came to the CVM, Martens founded the Texas A&M Equine Infectious Disease Laboratory (EIDL) to combat infectious diseases such as those caused by R. equi. Martens’ work in infectious

CVM Today - Winter 2017  
CVM Today - Winter 2017  

A semi-annual publication for the faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends of the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical...