Cermaq researcher defends his PhD on intracellular bacteria – important for improved mitigation of fish diseases

In his doctorate theses, Øyvind Brevik has developed genotyping tools for identifying bacteria causing disease in fish. This knowledge is important for developing tools for disease mitigation in aquaculture.

Øyvind Brevik’s research relates to SRS, the most serious disease for Chile's salmon farming and the main cause of antibiotic use in Chilean farming.

It has been a busy autumn in Cermaq fish health research team in Bergen. Øyvind Brevik is the first of three researchers who will be defending his doctoral degree this fall. His research work is directly applicable in the industry and focuses on intracellular bacteria that create health challenges in a number of aquatic farming organisms. One of the bacteria is Piscirickettsia salmonis, which causes the disease "Salmon Rickettsial Septicemia" (SRS). SRS is the most serious disease for Chile's salmon farming and is the main cause of antibiotic use in Chilean farming.

"Intracellular bacteria cause several diseases that cause major problems in aquaculture worldwide. It has been shown that the development of disease-reducing measures, such as vaccines, are very challenging for these bacteria. In my PhD thesis, I have adapted methods for gene sequencing technologies for intracellular bacteria. Through this we have shown that SRS outbreaks in Chile are due to several isolates belonging to two different genotypes "says Øyvind Brevik.

This knowledge will be used in further vaccine development and testing, as well as providing a basis for better and more effective disease management.

Breviks has developed a methodology for how to best describe new pathogenic intracellular bacterial species and isolates in aquaculture. These methods can be used to map the bacterial transmission ways and how they affect farmed organisms.

"Research is central to Cermaq. We focus heavily on our own research activities and, not least, to take our own and others' research results quickly into use in our global businesses. This autumn, three of the five researchers in our research group in Bergen will defend their PhD. I'm incredibly proud of that. Both the research and the researchers are important to Cermaq and to the industry, "says Olai Einen, who heads Cermaq's global research work.

About the candidate:

Øyvind Jakobsen Brevik defended his PhD 7 November 2018 on the topic “Genetic characterization of intracellular parasitic bacteria in aquaculture species: Proposed best practice for intra and inter species delineation”.

The newly graduated PhD has studied three different intracellular bacteria (Francisella halioticida, Francisella noatunensis and Piscirickettsia salmonis), which are important pathogenic bacteria in international farming.

Øyvind Brevik is a fish health biologist from the University of Bergen. He has worked as a researcher in Cermaq Group AS's research department in Bergen for seven years. Øyvind has special research expertise in bacteriology, epidemiology, PCR methodology and diagnostics related to fish diseases. Over the past few years he has been author or co-author of 19 scientific publications. He has also been a supervisor for several master students at the fish disease group at the University of Bergen.

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