PhD defence

Trained innate immunity and transgenerational effects in chickens

PhD candidate Michel Verwoolde
Organisation Wageningen University

Mon 4 July 2022 16:00 to 17:30

Venue Omnia


The containment of infectious diseases has always been a significant focus area within the poultry husbandry sector. An important strategy to prevent the outbreak of infectious diseases is to strengthen the immune system. This will protect chicken from the negative effects of pathogens by preventing growth loss, antibiotic usage and minimize other related welfare problems. This research investigated if the immune system of a chick could be strengthened by stimulating the immune system of the mother hen, the so called ‘transgenerational effects’. We used a specific part of the immune system; the innate immune system. Little scientific evidence is available about how non-genetic transgenerational effects works, specifically via the innate immune system. A proposed mechanism is ‘trained innate immunity’. In this research, first indicating evidence of trained innate immunity and transgenerational effects in chicken is found. Transgenerational trained innate immunity has great potentials to be used in adapting current vaccination strategies and feeding strategies to strengthen the immune system of chickens.