With support of £2 million from the BBSRC, we are announcing a call to generate new models for bovine tuberculosis (bTB) research that avoid the use of animals.
The current UK bTB epidemic is one of the biggest challenges facing cattle farming in the UK with serious economic and animal welfare consequences. The incidence is increasing, and the disease has spread from isolated pockets in the 1980s to cover large areas of the west and southwest of Britain.
A key challenge identified by the bTB research community is the lack of effective models to study infection and virulence. The current large animal and rodent models of the disease present many problems for researchers and there is a need for alternative systems.
We are inviting applications that aim to develop novel systems that can be used to study TB infection, virulence and host-pathogen interactions, including; in vitro, in silico, tissue engineering, lab-on-a-chip or other appropriate innovative models.
The BBSRC will be running a parallel programme with the focus on fundamental research and basic bioscience underpinning bTB vaccinology, strain diversity, and host-pathogen interactions.
Both the NC3Rs and the BBSRC calls encourage proposals that promote a One Health approach by utilising advances in human TB research to provide insights into bTB and vice versa.