Research at the intersection of nutrition and immunology

The Meadow Brook Immunobiology Laboratory focuses on developing solutions to control mastitis in dairy cattle by investigating the interaction between nutrition and immunology during times of increased susceptibility to disease.

Generating knowledge

Lorraine Sordillo, PhD, Meadow Brook Chair in Farm Animal Health and Well-being, leads the laboratory. She is the first person to hold the endowed chair, and her research has been supported by more than $11 million in grants from agencies including the USDA and National Institutes of Health, as well as industry funding. Her research has resulted in five US patents aimed at mastitis therapy and control.

The laboratory’s work has generated an understanding of why cows succumb to mastitis and how bolstering the immune system influences the incidence and severity of the disease. The team’s work, which explores non-antibiotic approaches, has provided scientists and dairy producers a clear understanding of therapeutic targets to pursue.

Implications for human medicine

The application of molecular biology and genomics technologies to disease in farm animals and the increase of knowledge in vascular biology and inflammation provides a better understanding of diseases in humans including atherosclerosis and breast cancer.

Training the next generation

In addition to research, the endowed chair provides training for scientists and veterinarians that will address the problems of tomorrow. The laboratory has a staff of six including three PhD students that research ways to fight diseases that affect dairy cattle, of which mastitis is by far the most prevalent.