Laura Braden – ECD – Portland, Maine

I am a post-doctoral fellow at the Atlantic Veterinary College in the Pathology & Microbiology Department, under supervision of Dr. Mark Fast. My focus is on host- parasite interactions in teleosts, specifically concerning diseases pertinent to salmonid aquaculture. Projects that I am currently involved with include understanding host resistance to parasites, and developing vaccines and novel treatment strategies for viral and bacterial pathogens.

With the assistance of the Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) Early Career Development Grant, I was able to present my research at an international conference: the International Conference of Fish and Shellfish Immunology, in fall 2016, in Portland, Maine.

The project, which focuses on understanding immune responses of Atlantic salmon to the agent of ‘soft-flesh syndrome,’ Kudoa thyrsites, is critical to the aquaculture industry in British Columbia as economic losses caused by infection reach millions of dollars annually. Having the opportunity to present this work at an international conference of this calibre was invaluable, as it allowed me to engage in dialogue with world-leaders in fish immunology and aquatic animal health and make meaningful connections with experts in the field. Presenting research at conferences such as these is critical for gaining new insights into disease dynamics and fish immunology. Overall, the research was met with great interest, and I was able to network with a number of scientists for future collaborative endeavours.

I am very thankful to the CERC for their support, as without these funds provided by the grant I would have not been able to attend the conference.