VIDO Awarded $4 M for Industrial Research Chairs in Food Safety

Oct 14, 2004

Two new research chairs, together valued at $4 million over five years, will be created at the University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) to develop new vaccines for combating food-borne bacteria that can pose a serious threat to human health.

The recipients

Andrew Potter, Ph.D.

Andy Potter is Associate Director (Research) at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO), University of Saskatchewan, in Saskatoon, and has been active in the area of veterinary vaccine development for the past two decades.

He earned his B.Sc. degree at Carleton University in Ottawa and his Ph.D. degree in microbiology at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand in 1981.

In 1985, he joined VIDO as a research scientist where he initiated studies on the pathogenesis of respiratory disease infection in animals. He has worked on molecular approaches to disease pathogenesis in both Canada and Southeast Asia over the past two decades, and has developed a number of vaccines for use in livestock, including the first licensed recombinant product used in animals. He was awarded the KPMG High Tech Entrepreneur for the latter work.

More recently, he has been involved in the development of novel vaccine formulations to prevent the transmission of food and water-borne pathogens from animals to humans, including Escherichia coli O157, Campylobacter jejuni and Salmonella species.

He holds 41 issued patents, with an additional 13 pending, dealing with the development of vaccines and therapeutics for use in animals.

He has served as a mentor for more than 30 graduate students and post-doctoral fellows who currently hold positions in industry, academia and government worldwide, and has served as a member of public and private sector committees.

Wolfgang Köster, Ph.D.

Wolfgang Köster recently joined VIDO as a research scientist. He completed his undergraduate education at the University of Bielefeld, Germany, went on to study microbiology, biochemistry, genetics and plant physiology at the University of Tübingen in Germany, and attained his Ph.D. in Microbiology there.

He joins VIDO to lead VIDO's program in food safety in partnership with Dr. Andrew Potter. He has worked as a visiting scientist at the Institut Pasteur in the Department des Biotechnologies, Paris, and has lectured at the ETH Zurich, Department of Environmental Sciences, Switzerland. Prior to joining VIDO, he worked as a senior scientist leading the Drinking Water Microbiology group at the Swiss Federal Institute for Environmental Science and Technology in Dübendorf, Switzerland.

His many grants and awards include the European Space Agency (ESA) (co-applicant); the Cantarini Fellowship of the Institut Pasteur, Paris (visiting scientist); Fellowship of the "Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientific" (CNRS), France (visiting scientist); Canadian Bacterial Disease Network (CBDN) (invited speaker); Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research (AHFMR), Canada (invited visiting lecturer); and German Science Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) (post-doctoral fellowship and leader of projects).

Dr. Köster's main research interests include survival strategies and detection methods of microorganisms in different environments, disinfection methods, mechanisms of antibiotic resistance and biosafety issues (water, food, environment, problems of bioterrorism).