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The Science of Artisan Cheese – Programme 2020

2020 Speakers:


Prof Johnjoe McFadden, University of Surrey: Development of a novel vaccine and compatible diagnostic for bovine TB

Johnjoe McFadden is Professor of Molecular Genetics at the University of Surrey. His principal field of research in molecular genetics, particularly of microbes that cause infectious diseases. He is also Director of the recently-formed Leverhulme Quantum Biology Doctoral Training Centre. His research work has focused on vaccine development and drug discovery in tuberculosis, including bovine TB. As well as his mainstream science research, McFadden writes popular science articles for newspapers in the UK and internationally on subjects ranging from GM crops to the evolution of altruism. He has written several books and is currently writing a book on Ockham’s Razor.

Want to get the most from this presentation? Read his group’s 2019 paper in Nature Scientific ReportsChandran_2019[1].


Prof Cath Rees, University of NottinghamUse of Actiphage to detect MAP in blood for the control of Johne’s disease

Dr Cath Rees is currently Associate Professor in Microbiology in School of Biosciences, at the Nottingham University Sutton Bonington campus. Originally she studied Biochemistry at Oxford, followed by PhD in Bacterial Genetics at Leicester University and has developed a research focus of applying molecular techniques to the study of applied microbiology, with specific interest in the study of Listeria and Mycobacteria. Recent research has resulted in the development of rapid, phage-based tests for the detection of mycobacterial pathogens including M. tuberculosis in humans and M. paratuberculosis and M. bovis in animals.  This has led to the establishment of PBD Biotech Ltd, where she also has the role of CSO.  In 2019 the company was awarded The Royal Dairy Innovation Award for research and development in the field of dairy farming.


Prof David Gally, The Roslin Institute: What we know about Shiga toxin producing E. coli strains in the UK: animal hosts, UK distribution, threat to human health and mitigation strategies

David Gally holds a personal chair in Microbial Genetics at the University of Edinburgh and has been part of the Roslin Institute since 2011.  His background is in Microbiology, initially bacterial physiology for his PhD and first Post-Doctoral position at the University of Michigan but he then moved into gene regulation during a second Post-Doctoral post in North Carolina and then returned to the UK supported by an MRC Career Development Fellowship which was focused on Escherichia coli and urinary tract infections.  He obtained a Lectureship in Bacteriology at Edinburgh Vet School in 1998 which soon led to a DEFRA Veterinary Fellowship to study the biology of enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) O157 in cattle, which has been the primary research of his group for over twenty years. They study the colonisation of cattle by EHEC strains and aim to understand the genetic factors that lead to effective transmission between animals and infection in humans.  Specifically, their recent work is making use of whole genome sequencing to define the subset of animal strains that are a zoonotic threat to human health and work to understand the advantage producing Shiga toxin may have for E. coli that colonise cattle. By analysing the genome content of both human and cattle strains they are able to predict the strains more likely to cause serious human disease and ongoing work is using machine-learning methods to do this. In partnership with researchers at the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh; the Scottish E. coli Reference Laboratory (SERL); the Moredun Research Institute (MRI); Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC); Public Health Scotland; Public Health England and the USDA, his team are studying the epidemiology and molecular biology of EHEC strains across the UK and are developing and testing a vaccine to limit the spread of EHEC from cattle to humans. He now leads a BBSRC Institute Strategic Programme on the ‘Control of Infectious Diseases’ in Livestock (2017-2022) at the Roslin Institute and has broadened his research focus to include epidemiological studies of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in enteric bacteria and microbiome-based approaches to limit antibiotic use and AMR emergence and spread.

Want to get the most from this presentation? See Dr Gally’s report on E. coli O157 super-shedding in cattle, published in November 2018.


Abby Rose, Soilmentor:  DIY tools for graziers to manage soil health and regeneration

Abby is one third of Farmerama, a podcast that shares the voices of smaller-scale farmers in the UK and beyond. Abby is certain that farmer-led technology is an important part of a resilient future and so develops simple technologies with farmers. She is co-founder of Vidacycle Apps, which creates digital tools to build ecology, profitability and beauty on farms around the world. Their tools are designed to support a paradigm shift towards regenerative farming where farmers are empowered through learning from their observations.  She also helps to run her family’s farm selling their natural wine and verjuice.

Want to get the most from this presentation? Check out the supporting information on the Vidacycle website.


Elisa Manzocchi, ETH Zurich, Institute of Agricultural ScienceDoes the herbage utilisation method affect the sensory properties of milk and uncooked pressed cheeses?

Elisa Manzocchi is a doctoral student in the Animal Nutrition group at the ETH Zurich (Switzerland). In her doctoral project, she investigates the effects of different herbage utilisation methods on the sensory properties of milk and uncooked pressed cheeses. In 2019, within the framework of a European transnational access program called SmartCow, she performed an experiment at the INRAE Herbipôle research farm in Marcenat and experimental cheese-making facilities in Aurillac (France).


Matthieu Bouchon, INRAE Herbipôle Marcenat-TheixDairy calves suckled by their dam: toward a compromise between milk production, calves’ growth and animal welfare?

Matthieu Bouchon is a study engineer at INRAE, Experimental Unit Herbipôle. He is in charge of the experiments on dairy cattle in grassland mountain areas, preserving their welfare and in connection with product quality and environment. A part of his work is dedicated to the co-designing of an “eco-citizen” dairy farming system and its testing. As a former advisor in robotic milking and then in pasture management, he has a strong interest in the use of commercial precision livestock farming tools to study dairy cattle performance and behaviour at pasture.


Chris Clark, Nethergill Associates: Coping with change, managing uncertainty

Chris Clark is a partner in Nethergill Associates, a business management consultancy currently assisting with the conjecturing and management of future farming uncertainties nationally. He is currently working on a Defra test and trails project in the north of England. A former farm tenant and farm manager, he now has thirty years of business management experience within his own farm business and advising SME’s outside of agriculture. Nethergill Associates has expertise in financial management, marketing and farm business planning. Chris is a co-author of the recently published Less Is More report, he is a member of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, the North Yorkshire Rural Commission and is Chair of the Nature Friendly Farming Network in England.

Want to get the most from this presentation? Read the Less is More report on hill farm profitability.