Shigetoshi Eda, associate professor in the Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries, studies immunology and diagnosis of an infectious disease in animals, called Johne’s disease.
Johne’s disease occurs in domestic and wild animals worldwide. In the United States, the disease causes an estimated annual loss of $220 million to the agricultural economy. The heavy economic burden on the agricultural industry urged the scientific community to develop effective control measures for Johne’s disease.
Diagnosis and culling of test-positive animals is recommended for control of Johne’s disease; however, current tests suffer low sensitivity, long-turnaround time, and/or high cost. About 10 years ago, Eda, with an emeritus professor C.A. Speer, found a way to develop a highly sensitive diagnostic test for Johne’s disease and since then has worked with the University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF) to commercialize the method.
In February 2015, a veterinary diagnostic company announced their new diagnostic kit developed based on Eda’s invention. Major advantages of the kit include excellent sensitivity, high specificity, high throughput and short time required for testing. His work on Johne’s disease diagnosis has been supported by USDA and UT Institute of Agriculture.
Eda has published 45 scientific manuscripts, been awarded three patents, and received the UTRF Innovation Awards three times. He is currently working with Jie Wu in the UT Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science to develop an on-site diagnostic device for diseases and physiological conditions. The collaboration recently resulted in a license agreement with a private company. Eda hopes it will end up with another diagnostic product based on a technology invented at UT.