The Centre for Aquatic Health Sciences (CAHS) at the Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC) was established in the fall of 2003 with the overall goal to increase and expand the economic value created by Atlantic Canada=s aquatic food animal industries. The epidemiology (field-based) and disease intervention (lab-based) research activities contribute to this goal.
Recognizing the importance of a solid foundation in research for veterinary students, AVC has established a new program called VetSRA (veterinary student research awards). The program enhances the engagement of veterinary students in research and complements several other research-oriented opportunities for students, including the long-established NSERC-USRA (undergraduate student research awards) program.
Under the VetSRA program, students will work with faculty members on a variety of research projects, including salmon aquaculture.
Adele Doucet (Class of 2019) will work with Dr Larry Hammell, professor and AVC Associate Dean of Research, to assess the different transport media to culture Renibacterium salmoninarum, which causes BKD (bacterial kidney disease) in Atlantic salmon. Using samples taken from the kidneys of harvested fish with BKD, Doucet will investigate the optimal survival of bacteria cultured under different transport conditions.
Under the supervision of Dr Mark Fast, associate professor of fish health, Tyson Hay (Class of 2020) will participate in a study to determine whether therapeutic feeds are effective in controlling multiple infections in Atlantic salmon. He will examine therapeutic diets for salmon that have been exposed to sea lice and co-infected with ISAv, and investigate host immune responses under different conditions of use.
Working with Dr Sophie St-Hilaire, Canada Research Chair in Integrated Health Research for Sustainable Aquaculture, Kris Valerio (Class of 2020) will examine antibiotic treatment efficacy against ulcer disease in Atlantic salmon raised in net pens. Valerio will help St-Hilaire and her team assess treatment responses and whether certain factors were associated with success or failure. She will also work with an aquaculture company in British Columbia for several weeks.
AVC students also have other opportunities to work on research projects in terrestrial and aquatic animal health supported by faculty research programs and organizations such as NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) and Merial.