Congratulations, Dr Chris Cousens has been presented with the NSA Scotland Silver Salver 2023, for her tireless research work on Ovine Pulmonary Adenocarcinoma (OPA, also known as Jaagsiekte) and acknowledging an outstanding contribution to the Scottish sheep industry.
Chris was presented with the award by NSA Scottish Region Chair Peter Myles at last week’s Royal Highland Show. Her work has played a pivotal role in controlling OPA, an infectious and fatal lung disease of sheep.
Through her work with the Institute Chris has been involved with all aspects of this disease from detailed molecular biology in the laboratory through to on-farm studies. She has almost 50 peer reviewed scientific papers on OPA as well as many pieces written for farmers and/or vets. She has also been a driving force behind the Scottish Government funding of a nationwide pilot on OPA and should be commended on her patience and unwavering support.
“I was surprised and honoured to be presented with the NSA silver salver. This is the first trophy I have ever won without a pony being involved! How nice to be recognised for my day job as a scientist at Moredun after so many years and so many challenges in our research to try to control OPA. Research, like everything else, cannot be done without a dedicated team of workers and supporters, therefore, I thank my colleagues, collaborators, the farmers that work with us, and also the funders of our research. Also, a special mention to Phil Scott FRCVS who not only instigated the ultrasound screening work but who has been doing all the hard graft scanning thousands of sheep. I am so happy that these days there are positive options for dealing with OPA.”
Over the years, building collaborations with other researchers, vets, and with farmers has been essential to gaining funding and moving the work forward. Whilst the OPA problem is not entirely solved, considerable progress has been made in understanding the disease and also, through ultrasound screening for OPA, in moving towards control options for affected flocks and potentially an accreditation-type scheme for flocks that are happily free of OPA. Chris and her colleagues have been instrumental in this work contributing much towards the development of novel strategies for the diagnosis and control of the disease.
Professor Julie Fitzpatrick, Scientific Director of the Moredun Research Institute and Chief Executive of the Moredun Foundation adds:
“We are delighted the research conducted by Chris and her team has opened up new possibilities to tackle OPA and that this long term research effort has been recognised by the NSA “
NSA Scottish Region Chair Peter Myles says:
“We are delighted to give this year’s Silver Salver to Dr Chris Cousens. We at NSA work closely with the Moredun family. It’s important the unsung heroes – the scientists like Chris get recognised for everything they do to benefit our sheep industry. I was very proud to present her with this prestigious award.”