Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Cell & Molecular Biology (PhD)

Degree Level



Biological Sciences


Sami Dridi

Committee Member

Rachel Hawken

Second Committee Member

Robert Wideman

Third Committee Member

Adnan Alrubaye

Fourth Committee Member

Nicholas Greene


avian, bacterial infection, bone, molecular mechanism


Bacterial chondronecrosis with osteomyelitis (BCO), a leading cause of lameness in broiler chickens, is characterized by infection, inflammation, and bone attrition. There are currently no effective treatments and positive diagnosis is only possible through necropsy evaluations. Lameness is also a rising animal welfare and economic concern, making prevention and detection of BCO all the more critical. These challenges are exacerbated by a lack of mechanistic understanding of BCO’s etiology. The question I asked during my dissertation was how bacteria induce bone attrition in BCO pathology. My research has shown that mitochondrial dysfunction is characteristic of BCO conditions along with autophagy machinery dysregulation. This autophagy dysregulation is also seen to a result of in vitro infection with known BCO-isolates and affecting bone cell viability. The local bone and systemic blood profile of cytokines, chemokines, inflammasomes, and relevant FGFs were also evaluated. This revealed a unique signature of BCO detectable within circulation and in local bone. Additionally, this signature was made up of factors which negatively affect bone cell viability. It was also shown that primary avian chondrocytes exhibiting optimal phenotypes could be successfully isolated form chicks. These primary cells could provide an improved, highly relevant model for in vitro analysis of avian bone diseases and infections. Finally, the potential roles of two factors regulating energy and lipid metabolism were preliminarily explored as a future target for BCO research. These findings provide novel insight into mechanisms of etiology and means of non-invasive detection while also improving upon current methods of avian growth-plate research