May 15, 2017, Guelph, Ont. – Collaboration and innovations surrounding antimicrobial stewardship were the focus of a recent poultry research day at the University of Guelph.
Featuring a panel of industry and academic experts, the Poultry Health Research Network (PHRN) Research Day brought together researchers, industry, government, and producer representatives to discuss this timely topic.
The discussion comes at an important time, as the federal and provincial governments are coming together on a Pan-Canadian framework on antimicrobial resistance, said Dr. Shayan Sharif, PHRN leader and an immunologist at the Ontario Veterinary College.
Lloyd Longfield, Member of Parliament for Guelph, acknowledged the global challenge of antimicrobial resistance during a lunchtime address.
He noted, it’s great to meet people from all over North America who are looking at common issues, and asked how can “we work together using each other’s strengths” to solve some of these world challenges? “Antimicrobial resistance is one of those challenges.”
Longfield, who serves on the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food, as well as the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, added he’ll be asking for help from people around the room “to make sure we have the most current information for science-based decision making.”
The U of G is an agri-food centre of excellence and has been for more than 100 years, noted Malcolm Campbell, U of G vice president research, before introducing MP Longfield to conference attendees. “We partner with people right across the sector. We sit right in the middle of an innovation corridor.”
U of G is the third in the world for agriculture, he added. “That comes from the research impact of our faculty and the graduate students supervised by them.”
A number of those graduate students shared their ongoing research into questions surrounding antimicrobial resistance, vaccines and immunity, and rapid detection devices.
Students are the industry capacity of tomorrow, noted Helen Anne Hudson, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, Burnbrae Farms Ltd. “We are facing a huge shortage of human resources in the agriculture industry. We are in need of people trained in all facets. Events like this help students to network with industry and also find collaborations.”
“The student presentations provided not only an excellent overview of the work being conducted at the University of Guelph, but also highlighted the up and coming talent that will be important future leaders in the Canadian poultry industry,” added Steve Leech, National Program Manager, Food Safety, Animal Care and Research, with Chicken Farmers of Canada.
Leech also noted networking value for industry, producers, government and researchers.
“The research day is a great opportunity to interact with stakeholders that are all focused on different areas of antimicrobial stewardship, from primary researchers, to policy makers and farmers implementing on the ground,” he said. “The sharing of hurdles, opportunities and ideas helps to create relationships, and to define the research priorities that will help the industry succeed.”
Hudson agreed, adding, “Despite all of our efforts, we all tend to work to some extent in silos. It is important to break down these silos, share ideas and develop collaborations from them. Connecting researchers with other researchers or industry people who are working in the same fields or with different expertise is huge.”
Antimicrobial stewardship is a high priority issue in our industry generating a lot of interest as witnessed by the attendance at the research day, she added.
A panel discussion focused on antimicrobial stewardship in poultry provided an open forum for discussion with conference participants.
The University of Guelph has had a long-standing commitment to innovation in animal health and production, with one of the largest groups of poultry scientists and poultry experts in North America. The Poultry Health Research Network has been steadily expanding since its inception in 2012 and now includes more than 60 members from across the U of G campus, as well as industry and government researchers.
Find out more about the PHRN at phrn.net.