2016 - 2021

Nutritional regulation of genes associated with avian B cell receptors involved in innate and adaptive immunity

Principal Investigator: Juan Carlos Rodriguez-Lecompte, University of Prince Edward Island
Co-investigator: Shayan Sharif, University of Guelph; Bruce Rathgeber, Dalhousie University
Status: In progress


  • Characterize the impact of maternal nutrition on embryonic innate and adaptive immuno- responses and their consequences in post-hatch chicks’ immunity;
  • Describe the impact of the probiotic’s administration as nutrients on chicken embryos.


High production rates of chickens have, to a certain extent, depended on the use of antimicrobials in feed to control enteric and respiratory diseases, which lead to increased morbidity and a reduction in productivity. However, community perceptions and public health concerns challenge the feasibility of using antimicrobials to enhance production performance.  It is becoming apparent that intervention to strengthen the immune system of the chick in ovo has a dramatic effect on the immunity of the bird post-hatch, and thus the ability to resist disease challenge. However, it is not only the chick immune system that must be strengthened but also the adult bird.  Immunomodulation therapy may have potential as therapeutic strategy against pathogens and might have implication in early-life interventions in the future.  The general objective of this basic research program is to establish a chicken model of nutritional intervention to regulate immunity through nutrients.


$162,000 (CPRC $42,000, NSERC $120,000)

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