FEB 08, 2017 10:30 AM PST

Biosecurity, Reproductive and Social Management of Cat Research Colonies

  • Director of Scientific Alliances, Thermo Fisher Scientific
      James Kehler VMD, PhD is a comparative stem cell biologist who thrives on developing productive collaborations to translate scientific discoveries into transformative products. He trained at the University of Pennsylvania, where he received his VMD in 2002, and PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology in 2004. James has worked as a visiting researcher at the National Institutes of Health for over 10 years, where he and his collaborators at NEI, NCI, NINDS, NIDDK and NIAAA developed animal and stem cell-based models of human diseases. He has run workshops on reprogramming and gene-editing both at the NIH, as well as internationally. James has worked and consulted for several stem cell companies from product development and management to directing custom reprogramming and gene-editing services. In 2016, James joined MTI-GlobalStem, now part of Thermo Fisher Scientific, as Director of Scientific Alliances, to foster collaborative research projects with academic, biotech and pharmaceutical partners.


    DATE: February 8, 2017
    TIME: 10:30am PT, 1:30pm ET

    The cat remains an important comparative species for studying the long-term safety and efficacy of emergent medical modalities, such as gene and stem cell therapies for correcting degenerative diseases. Many spontaneous mutations have been characterized in breed cats, and some key feline genetic disease models are now actively maintained in research colonies. Accurate diagnosis and control of endemic feline infectious diseases is important to reduce morbidity and mortality, as well as to limit confounding factors that could compromise research studies. The impacts of common feline pathogens on cat colony health will be discussed, as well as management options for controlling and eliminating endemic diseases. The use of assisted reproductive technologies in cats to prevent and break cycles of transmission of some pernicious viral agents will be covered. The collection and cryopreservation of viable gametes and embryos also provides an important protection against loss of important models due to disease or disaster. In addition, measures to accommodate the specific social and behavioral needs of cats will be presented both in the context of reproductive management and social well-being. Group housing designs and management options to maximize social interactions and minimize opportunities for aggression and injury will be discussed as well. This presentation should benefit participants with an interest in comparative laboratory animal medicine who are establishing or working with feline research models.

    Learning Objectives:

    • Participants should become familiar with the impacts of specific feline pathogens on cat colony health; diagnostic tests and treatment options available; and methods of elimination.
    • The audience should retain an understanding of available management tools and assisted reproductive technologies that can be used to eliminate endemic pathogens from closed cat colonies.

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