Hatching Innovation: Arkansas professor on a mission to mitigate poultry parasites

Meet Danielle Graham, an accomplished expert in poultry parasitology who is not only focused on advancing research but is also dedicated to cultivating the next generation of scientists.

As the American poultry industry continues to deal with the devastating High-Path Avian Flu (HPAI) outbreak, the vital work of agricultural researchers and scientists like Danielle Graham has never been more important to producers as the fight to protect their flocks from other types of threats — especially intestinal parasites.

Graham’s work at the University of Arkansas as an assistant professor of parasitology and (POSC)-poultry science revolves around the intestinal health of poultry, a critical aspect in the poultry industry to combat disease and prevent drug resistance.

A significant project that has captured Graham’s attention over the past year and a half involves Enterococcus cecorum. The long-term goal is a comprehensive understanding of how this specific pathogen transmits, providing insights crucial for developing effective disease mitigation strategies.

Using hatch cabinets to replicate commercial settings, Graham and her team are investigating the transmission of this bacterial pathogen. By seeding embryos with virulent Enterococcus cecorum and observing the dissemination during hatching, the research aims to test strategies to mitigate these bacterial pathogens in the hatching cabinet.

In a dynamic field shaped by a growing global population and increased demand for protein, Graham’s research goes beyond the conventional. Her efforts aim to reduce costs associated with poultry production, enhance sustainability, and elevate animal welfare concerning disease prevention. She emphasizes the urgency of research to identify methods that can effectively prevent diseases and improve the overall intestinal health and well-being of poultry.

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