Research interests in my laboratory and in those of the colleagues with whom we are connected are focused on understanding and trying to control selected bacterial infections of animals.

We are especially interested in type A Clostridium perfringens as the cause of enteric disease in animals. A major focus is necrotic enteritis in broilers. There is a need for an effective way to control this infection and, as society increasingly frowns on the use of antimicrobial drugs because of resistance issues, we have focused on understanding immunity to this infection. We have defined some of the important immunogens in this infection, and shown that immunization with them enhances immunity in broilers. Currently, we are working on Salmonella vaccine vectors as vectors for C. perfringens antigens. Other work being done on C. perfringens in necrotic enteritis is a characterization of plasmids associated with disease and use of comparative genomic hybridization to understand better the strains involved.

We are interested in the role of type A C. perfringens in enteric disease in other species, including neonatal piglets, emphysematous abomasitis of calves, necrotizing enteritis in horses, and haemorrhagic enteritis in dogs. Our approach includes whole genome sequencing and analysis.

A long-term interest has been Rhodococcus equi, an important bacterial pathogen of foals. We have been especially interested in the pathogenicity island found on the virulence plasmid, and how this interacts with chromosomal genes to interfere with the usual process of killing by foal macrophages. We have also been interested in immunity of foals to this infection. Work on R. equi currently involves collaboration with Jose Vasquez-Boland's research group in Edinburgh.

We are always interested in finding energetic graduate students to work in these or related areas, especially if they bring their own stipend funding. The lab and department is well equipped to do the really interesting work required to understand how bacteria cause disease, and how to prevent them from doing so.  


John F. Prescott, MA VetMB PhD, Professor, Department of Pathobiology, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada

John F. Prescott graduated VetMB from the University of Cambridge, England, in 1973 and PhD from the same University in 1977. He has worked at the Ontario Veterinary College as a bacteriologist since 1976, initially as an Assistant Professor and clinical bacteriologist and since 1979 as a teacher and research worker. He was promoted to Professor in 1988. From 2003-2008 he was Chair of the Department of Pathobiology.

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