In the past, the effects of infectious diseases in livestock have been mitigated through traditional means, such as vaccination and modifying animal flow strategies. Yet these strategies cannot keep up with the continual evolution of emerging and re-emerging pathogens, the vast majority of which originate from animals and are zoonotic in nature. The scope of this problem must expand to include ecosystem health and the impact of animals on the ecosystem and the ecosystem on animal health and well-being. Likewise, a successful food system requires sustainable supplies of high quality, safe food sources that need to be protected from pathogens. The College of Veterinary Medicine, through our signature program in Population Systems, is placing increasing emphasis on surveillance, biosecurity, and new control and eradication strategies for economically significant diseases of food animal populations. This signature program also addresses population health issues that go beyond infectious disease, with researchers leading and joining collaborative research on land use strategies; sustainability; animal wellbeing, production, and fitness; physiology, and biomarkers, as well as food security more broadly.
To ensure that America's and Minnesota's producers, growers, and ranchers remain competitive in the global marketplace, we are providing leadership and innovative approaches in population systems research. We are dedicated to consumers' health as well, generating translational research outcomes that enhance their health and wellbeing. The Population Systems signature program highlights three focus areas: ecosystem health, livestock health, and global food systems.