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Pakistan-US Science and Technology Cooperation Program
Phase 7 (2017 Deadline)

Capacity building for vector-borne neglected diseases of livestock
US Partner: Frank Moore, University of Southern Mississippi
Pakistan Partner: Aneela Durrani, University of Veterinary & Animal Sciences, Lahore
Project summary
This project will experimentally assess the risk of introduction of foreign pathogens from ticks that parasitize migrating birds. It will develop an antibody-based diagnostic assay for tick-borne neglected diseases of livestock and make this tool available for clinicians.

Progress Reports

2018: Tick-borne diseases affect many regions of the world and constitute serious current animal and public health problems. Various tick species are able to transmit a combination of more than 20 different emerging and resurging disease agents, all capable of causing significant diseases in both animals and humans. Microorganisms that occupy an arthropod tick vector are collectively called the tick microbiome; however, the collection of commensal, symbiotic, and pathogenic microbes associated with ticks is more specifically termed the “pathobiome”. Our long-term goal is to help develop new strategies to disrupt tick-pathobiome interactions by manipulating the tick’s microbiome and innate immunity genes. Understanding the mechanistic interactions between tick vectors and the pathobiome may help in developing strategies to combat tick-borne infections. To elucidate the functional role of ticks’ immune genes in maintaining the microbiome and pathobiome, we utilized a high-throughput next generation sequencing approach. In this study, we identified pathogen-induced tick immune genes, and validated their gene expression in the tick salivary gland tissues. Additionally, we generated a proteomic profile of tick genes to be used for targeted proteome analysis in proposed experiments.