University of Saskatchewan

April 23, 2014   

Vaccine and Infectious Disease
Organization (VIDO) Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO)

A Century of Innovation on Campus

Healthy Horizons

A robust and varied life sciences research community provides unique opportunities for collaboration. For health research, work that begins in the field and barn can lead to further discoveries in human health.

Then and Now: Vaccines

1939: U of S innovation in vaccines begins at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) with the isolation of the Western equine encephalitis virus and development of a vaccine. Prior to this, the disease killed thousands of horses and dozens of people.

Photo: U of S Archives Photo: U of S Archives

Borne of the WCVM in 1975, the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO), develops several “world first” vaccines to protect livestock. Examples include the first effective vaccine against calf scours (developed in collaboration with WCVM) and the world’s first genetically engineered vaccine, to prevent shipping fever in cattle.

Its most recent success is the 2007 release of the first vaccine to combat E.coli O157:H7 in cattle, designed to protect water supplies from the deadly disease. The project was conducted in collaboration with the University of British Columbia.


Gregg Adams, Angela Baerwald,
and Roger Pierson Gregg Adams, Angela Baerwald, and Roger Pierson

Expanding Vaccine Research

VIDO scientists are working to develop singleshot
vaccines for newborns that will eliminate
both booster immunizations and needles VIDO scientists are working to develop singleshot vaccines for newborns that will eliminate both booster immunizations and needles

The International Vaccine Centre (InterVac), an ambitious new U of S research and development facility to be built on campus by 2010, will significantly enhance Canada’s capacity to develop vaccines for both humans and animals. One of the largest vaccine research labs in North America, InterVac will be an international research destination. Its leading-edge facilities are expected to position Saskatchewan at the forefront of health sciences around the world.

U of S Firsts: Human Fertility

2003: Gregg Adams (veterinary medicine), Angela Baerwald (graduate student, medicine), Roger Pierson (medicine) discover that contrary to traditional theory, the follicles on women’s ovaries develop dominant follicles (ie. are biologically prepared to release an egg) two or three times per menstrual cycle – though only one of these “follicular waves” ends in ovulation. The discovery, which involved researchers in both medicine and veterinary medicine and was chosen as one of the Top 100 Science Stories of 2003 by Discover magazine, has profound implications for contraception and fertility treatment.


Dairy Cows

Ovulation on Demand

Reuben Mapletoft has devised techniques that induce cows to ovulate at the same time, allowing producers to plan ahead for artificial insemination. He also developed a drug that causes cows to super-ovulate, allowing production of several fertilized embryos in each cow. The embryos can then be harvested, preserved and transferred to a surrogate cow. The method allows superior bloodlines to be easily shipped all over the world.



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