CGIL Seminar - “Genetic Improvement of Infectious Disease Traits: Connecting Animal Breeding and Epidemiology”

Date and Time


Microsoft Teams


Good afternoon CGIL,

This week we are happy to have Dr. Piter Bijma, Assistant Professor at Wageningen University & Research, presenting for us on Friday, September 29th, 2023. The seminar will begin at 1:30 PM EDT/EST on the virtual platform Microsoft Teams. The title of the presentation is: “Genetic Improvement of Infectious Disease Traits: Connecting Animal Breeding and Epidemiology”.

Speaker Biography: After finishing his MSc, Dr. Piter Bijma started his PhD at Wageningen University, focusing mainly on predicting the rate of inbreeding in selected populations, together with John Williams of the Roslin Institute, who became his de facto supervisor. Since his Ph.D. in 2000, Dr. Bijma has been working on several topics, mostly related to quantitative genetic theory, response to selection and breeding program design. In 2003, triggered by the work of Bill Muir of Purdue University, he started working on Social Genetic Effects (SGE) showing that SGE leads to hidden genetic variation, both in livestock and in natural populations. For this reason, SGE can contribute considerable heritable variation and fundamentally change response to genetic selection, as found for growth rate in pigs and survival in laying hens. Realizing that transmission of infectious disease is a typical case of social interaction, he entered into a very inspiring collaboration with Professor Mart de Jong of Wageningen University & Research. Together, they developed a quantitative genetic theory of infectious disease transmission and statistical methods to estimate the genetic effects underlying transmission. The results show that genetic selection against infectious diseases is much more promising than currently believed.

Information to attend: To join this seminar, please ensure you have downloaded the Microsoft Teams application to your computer, or join the meeting online by using the web browser version of Microsoft Teams. Please join the meeting with your microphone on mute and the camera turned off. After the presentation, you can unmute the microphone, and optionally turn on the camera, if you wish to ask a question. Alternatively, should you wish to pose your question in the chat function, it will be monitored and asked by the presenter.

Teams Link to attend:

*Recordings of previous CGIL seminars are available at:

Looking forward to seeing everyone there!
Samla Cunha and Kristin Lee

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