On January 18, the Contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP) team at ILRI Nairobi had the pleasure of hosting Prof. Joachim Frey from the University of Bern in Switzerland. Prof. Frey, the current chair of the International Organization of Mycoplasmology, and one of the world’s leading experts on CBPP gave a seminar to ILRI staff on ‘Molecular epidemiology of CBPP and detection of a major virulence attribute of M. mycoides subs. mycoides’
Frey stressed that science cannot be planned but must be carried out, this is the only way to find out something new. He shared his experiences and findings from his comparative experimental studies which were instrumental in revealing some of the major differences between the African and European strains of the disease.
Contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP) is an easily spread respiratory disease of cattle caused by the bacterium Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. Mycoides (Mmm). The disease continues to remain a huge threat to African farmers even after it has been eradicated in Europe, North America, Australia and most of Asia. The disease is among the major diseases that the Biotech theme carries out research on.
Some of ongoing ILRI projects in this area are:
- Accelerating CBPP research towards a better vaccine through application of synthetic biology
- Antimicrobials and improved diagnostics towards integrated control of CBPP
- Enhanced control of CBPP through the development of an inactivated vaccine – proof of concept
About Professor Frey
Frey was born in Zurich, studied chemistry and biochemistry at the Universities of Geneva and Uppsala (Sweden) and earned his PhD in Molecular Biology at the University of Geneva 1980. He worked as a research fellow at the Max Planck Institute in Berlin and the University of Geneva on plasmid incompatibility and genetic engineering of soil and water bacteria.
His research interests are the molecular mechanisms of pathogenic Mycoplasma species where he unravelled the uptake mechanism and metabolism of glycerol as a major virulence attribute of M. mycoides subsp. mycoides SC; of Pasteurellaceae, where he detected RTX toxins as predominant virulence attributes of Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae, and pathogenic Aeromonas species where he detected Type III secretion as the central virulence attribute of A. salmonicida subsp. salmonicida, the etiological agent of furunculosis of salmon, trout and char. He is member of the IOM since 1992 and is member of the international committee on systematics of prokaryotes, subcommittee on the taxonomy of Mollicutes.