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Aisha Fong

Position/Title: M.Sc. by thesis
Office: ANNU 043

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B.Sc Animal Biology, University of Guelph, 2019.


I am currently a MSc student in the Center of Genetic Improvement of Livestock under the supervision of Dr. Christine Baes. My research falls under the Resilient Dairy Genome Project and is on the effect of the gene IL10Rα on Johne’s disease in dairy cattle. My committee members are Dr. Niel Karrow and Dr. Flavio Schenkel. Other activities in this project are being researched by Colin Lynch, Emma Hyland and Renee Bongers.

Johne’s disease is a chronic wasting disease in dairy cattle caused by Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP). There is no cure and it leads to major economic loss in the Canadian dairy industry. A recent study has shown that the gene IL10Rα plays a role in the pathogenesis of Johne’s disease. My thesis involves the analysis of mRNA in bovine mammary epithelial cells (MAC-T cells) after 48h exposure to live MAP bacteria compared to MAC-T cells where IL10Rα was knocked out. I will be examining the genes that were differentially expressed between each cell line in order to gain a better understanding of the role of the IL10Rα gene in Johne’s disease. One of the goals of this project is to incorporate the results into the national genetic evaluation system as part of the resilience index.

About me:

In 2019 I obtained my B.Sc with honours studying Animal Biology at the University of Guelph. Throughout my undergraduate degree I took many courses on animal production systems and animal health. I was employed during the summers as an assistant dog breeder at Castilleja Labradors where I learned about the fundamentals of animal breeding. This led me to develop my passion for animal breeding and genetics. In my free time, I enjoy reading, going on hikes, and trying not to kill my numerous house plants.