Pathology is the study of changes in animal tissues that occur due to disease. Some of these changes are visible directly with your own eyes (gross pathology). However, others require a light microscope (histopathology) and special staining or labelling techniques to see them.
Pathology helps scientists to identify which different types of cells are being affected and in which tissues, as well as identifying the different types of inflammation produced by an animal’s own white blood cells, in an effort to attack and hopefully resolve a particular infection.
As Moredun’s research focuses on infectious diseases of livestock, information provided by the pathologists is crucial to almost all of its studies. Moredun’s own specialist Pathology Unit employs three full time veterinary pathologists and a team of scientific support staff who apply their specialist skills to many of the research projects. Cutting edge techniques being developed by Moredun not only allow the accurate identification of the different causes of infectious diseases but also the different inflammatory cells involved and the potent chemicals (cytokines) that they release. These methods have already been used to analyse the diseased placenta from sheep with enzootic abortion (infection with Chlamydia abortus) and are helping to explain how pregnancy is disrupted, killing the developing foetus.
In addition, the Pathology Unit provides general support for all of Moredun’s research by supplying digital image capture and analysis of cell preparations and tissues.