Benjamin Bridgeman

School of Veterinary Science
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Molecular and immunological analysis of New Zealand isolates of Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae

Research Description
Pneumonia in sheep is a complex disease involving multiple pathogens, including bacteria (Mannheimia haemolytica), mycoplasma (Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae), and viruses (Parainfluenza virus type 3). Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae strains are recovered from the lungs of lambs with chronic non-progressive pneumonia. Single strains of M. ovipneumoniae are not highly pathogenic, however colonisation by mixed strains increases pathogenicity. Only a few immunologically reactive proteins of M. ovipneumoniae have been described which is a knowledge gap and an impediment to understanding the factors that influence pathogenicity and for developing vaccines. The aim of this project is to identify and characterise immunogenic proteins produced by M. ovipneumoniae and to study their interactions with host cells. The methodology applied will include cultivation of mycoplasmas, a combination of protein separation tools and immunological tools to identify immunogenic proteins. The identity of the immunogenic proteins will be assisted by the use of techniques such as mass spectrometry. Recombinant mycoplasma proteins will also be produced in E. coli expression vectors. This materal plus other proteins from related mycoplasma species will be further analysed with the aid of bioinformatics tools. Hyperimmune sera raised against selected proteins may be produced and its inhibitory effects to M. ovipneumoniae growth investigated using in-vitro culture systems.

Personal Description
I have completed all of my study at Massey in Palmerston North. I started with a BSc in Genetics and then a Graduate diploma in Ecology and a Masters in Zoology. My goal is to be employed as a full-time researcher.

Dr Rao Dukkipati
Dr Neil Wedlock
Dr Axel Heiser
Dr Alan Murray
Professor John Munday