Chickens are a major source of food, both meat and eggs, in the UK and nearly everywhere else. Just like us, chickens are susceptible to many diseases that have strong effects on their health and welfare. Some of these diseases can also be a threat to human health, like bird flu and Campylobacter.
Professor Kaufman and colleagues are interested in the immune responses of chickens, in order to understand why some chickens are resistant to a particular disease while other chickens are susceptible. For their research, they use commercial veterinary vaccines, given to billions of chickens around the world, as probes for immune responses. Their research may provide the basis to breed chickens that are more resistant to disease and/or can respond better to vaccines.