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Caitlin McAllister

Position/Title: MSc. Coursework Student
Phone: 226-230-3108
Office: N/A

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MSc. Animal Bioscience (Coursework) ~ In progress

BSc. Animal Biology, OAC. University of Guelph, 2017-2021.

Advisor: Dr. Niel Karrow

About Me

I was raised in a small town in West Grey, ON. and graduated from Sacred Heart High School in Walkerton ON, in 2017. I have dreamed of becoming a veterinarian since I was very young, and Guelph was my dream school. I was lucky enough to be accepted into Animal Biology, the program of my choice. In my fourth year I took part in the undergraduate research courses ANSC 4700 and 4710 under Dr. Karrow and worked on a lavender dose-response challenge on zebrafish with the help of Kristen Lamers, the results of which were insignificant. It was through these two courses that I decided to do my master’s before applying to vet school as, although I still wish to be a vet, I have discovered that I very much like research due to the real-world applications of helping people and animals through new discovery.  My non-academic interests include figure skating, guitar, my blog PetiScience and walking my dog.

Research and Future Interests

I am currently a MSc. by coursework student studying Animal Physiology in the lab of Dr. Niel Karrow. During the Fall21 semester I have been working under the instruction of Dr. Karrow, and post doctoral researcher Umesh Shandilya on a project involving a live-MAP (Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis) immune challenge on bovine mammary epithelial cell lines (MAC-T cells).

The genes TLR4 and IL10RA have been shown in two previous studies from the Karrow lab to be involved in the immune response of MAC-T cells to MAP-lysate (Shandilya et al. 2021, Mallikarjunappa et al. 2020). When these genes are knocked out, expression changes occur in cytokines, small proteins that play key roles in immune signaling and inflammation which gives insight into the roles of the genes. To gain more understanding of how TLR4 and IL10RA effect MAP-susceptibility the current study incorporated knockouts of both and measured the cytokine response to live-MAP through multiplexing analysis. The results are pending. This research is relevant to understanding the pathology of Johne’s disease, an inflammatory bowel ailment of cattle caused by MAP. It may also bear relevance to humans, as Crohn’s disease might be attributed to MAP. On an industry level, Johne’s is economically damaging, sheds in manure and milk, and is an animal welfare concern.

In the winter semester, my advisor has suggested I do a metanalysis study on Johne’s disease, which I am very interested in. After I complete my degree, I hope my career will allow me to pursue veterinary medicine and whether in research or practice or something else entirely I know the skills I’ve gained here will help me in whatever I choose to do.