Nathalie Bissonnette, PhD.
Helping to advance animal health research and encourage natural resistance to disease using an integrated approach in animal genomics.
Current research and/or projects
Dr Nathalie Bissonnette focuses her research activities on animal immunogenetics, immunotolerance and immunoregulation in response to nutrients, the environment and contacts with pathogens. This includes identifying genetic and epigenetic markers and environmental factors that influence the immune system. Her research helps formulate nutritional interventions that support natural resistance to disease. She uses advanced sequencing technologies and next‑generation genotyping to identify genetic and epigenetic markers, gene expression profiles (transcriptome) and network regulators (IncRNAs, microRNAs) that govern resistance or sensitivity to disease, particularly to bovine paratuberculosis.
Dr Nathalie Bissonnette joined Agriculture and Agri‑Food Canada’s Sherbrooke Research and Development Centre in 2001. She has used her expertise in molecular biology and animal genomics in numerous projects, primarily relating to pigs and dairy cows. Her work targets the following sector goals: (1) eliminating threats in the agriculture and agri-food value chain; (2) supporting a healthy agricultural sector.
Research and/or project statements
Uncovering susceptibility to paratuberculosis by studying the host’s genetics and the dynamics of the infection of strains with varied genetics (mixed genotype infection) to understand susceptibility to and disease progression – Growing Forward 3 (AAFC), Dairy cluster
Animal genomics for resistance to paratuberculosis – Project targeted by AAFC
Developing innovative strategies and analytical tools to identify cows affected by paratuberculosis, that is, infected by the mycobacterium avium ssp paratuberculosis – AAFC A‑Base
Neonatal nutritional interventions using bovine colostrum and/or vitamin D and copper (Cu) and their programming effects on the oxidative status, the maturing of the immune system and the development of intestinal microbial populations among piglets – Growing Forward II (AAFC), Swine cluster II
Understanding intestinal microbiota and immune responses of the host to probiotics and colostrum to improve the intestinal health of pigs – AAFC A‑Base
Developing food technologies and strategies to improve intestinal health and limit the use of antibiotics in monogastric animal production – Growing Forward III (AAFC), Swine cluster II
Molecular and biochemical characterization of the osteopontin bioactive molecule that is secreted in cow’s milk: Functional activities of genetic variants and isoforms – AAFC A‑Base
Professional activities / interests
- Member: GRESABO (research group on bovine health)
- Member: International Association for Paratuberculosis
- Member: Op+lait, research group on milk quality; FQRNT strategic group program
- Member: Dairy Cattle Breeding and Genetics Committee, Canada
- Member: Institutional Animal Care Committee
- Editorial board member: the journal Gene
- Member: Canadian Society of Animal Science
- Member: American Dairy Science Association
Interests: nutritional intervention, epigenetics, immunotolerance, immunization
Education and awards
Post-doc Agriculture et Agriculture Canada (1999-2000)
PhD/MSc. Radiobiologie/Oncologie (Université de Sherbrooke) 1998
Bacc Biotechnologie (Université de Sherbrooke) 1994
(1) Distinction: Merit list of the dean of the faculty of medicine, Université de Sherbrooke, 1997–1998; (2) Gordon Fisher award (1997), faculty of medicine, Université de Sherbrooke, for research excellence; (3) Jean-Pierre Caillé award (1997) given by the Université de Sherbrooke medical research council, awarded during Science Day; (4) Distinction: Merit list of the dean of the faculty of medicine, Université de Sherbrooke, 1991–1992, scholarship; (5) FCAR (funds for researcher training and research assistance), 1991–1992; (6) Scholarship for the Master of Science, Université de Sherbrooke, 1990–1991; (7) Scholarship for the health sciences research program 1989–1990, granted by the faculty of medicine, Université de Sherbrooke; (8) Scholarship awarded by the Université de Sherbrooke medical research centre (CRMUS), summer 1989; (9) Distinction awarded during the symposium in Ottawa, Canada, organized by the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Canada (PMAC), November 1989; (10) Award from the PMAC foundation, Scholarship for the Bachelor of Science, 1989.
International experience and/or work
Epidemiologic typing of strains of the mycobacterium avium ssp paratuberculosis (MAP) in collaboration with the animal mycobacterial infections team at INRA, France (http://mac-inmv.tours.inra.fr), to document the genetic diversity of MAP infections in North America.
Guest researcher (1994–1995), Université Pasteur (France), at the Institute of Genetics and Molecular and Cellular Biology.
Bissonnette, N., J.-S. Brouard, O. Ariel, N. Gévry, E. Ibeagha-Awemu, and F. Miglior. 2018. Discovery of expression quantitative trait loci associated with Johne’s disease using both RNA-seq and DNA variants. 11th World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production. February 10th-16th 2018, Auckland, New-Zealand.2018 - View publication details
Do D.N., Fomenky B.E., Dudemaine P-L., Bissonnette N. and Ibeagha-Awemu E.M. (2018) Weighted gene co-expression network analysis reveal gene clusters and pathways related to rumen development in calves. Proceedings of the 11th World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Productio, 11.945, February 11 to 16, 2018, Auckland New Zealand. 5 pages.2018 - View publication details
Brouard and Bissonnette. 2018. Is the GATK joint variant discovery approach appropriate for calling variants in RNA-Seq experiments? Plant and Animal Genome Conference XXVI, Jan 13th-17th 2018, San diego USA.2018 - View publication details
N. Bissonnette, Genetic association of variations in the osteopontin gene (SPP1) with lactation persistency in dairy cattle. 2017 Journal of Dairy Science. in press2017 - View publication details
Brouard, J.S., Boyle, B., Ibeagha-Awemu, E.M., Bissonnette, N. (2017). Low-depth genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) in a bovine population: Strategies to maximize the selection of high quality genotypes and the accuracy of imputation, 18(1), http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12863-017-0501-y2017 - View publication details
Do, D.N., Bissonnette, N., Lacasse, P., Miglior, F., Sargolzaei, M., Zhao, X., Ibeagha-Awemu, E.M. (2017). Genome-wide association analysis and pathways enrichment for lactation persistency in Canadian Holstein cattle, 100(3), 1955-1970. http://dx.doi.org/10.3168/jds.2016-119102017 - View publication details
Bissonnette, N., J.-S. Brouard, B. Boyle, and E. Ibeagha-Awemu. 2017. Low-Depth Genotyping-by-Sequencing (GBS) in a Bovine Population: Strategies to Maximize the Selection of High Quality Genotypes and Accuracy of Imputation. Plant & Animal Genome Plant & Animal Genome Conference, San Diego 2017/01/14 - 2017/01/182017 - View publication details
Fock-Chow-Thow et al. 2017. Comparison of commercial DNA extraction kits and quantitative PCR systems for better sensitivity in detecting the causative agent of paratuberculosis in dairy cow fecal samples. Journal of Dairy Science 100(1):572-581.2017 - View publication details
Do, D.N., Bissonnette, N., Lacasse, P., Miglior, F., Sargolzaei, M., Zhao, X., and Ibeagha-Awemu, E.M. (2016). "Genome wide association analysis and pathways enrichment for lactation persistency in Canadian Holstein cattle.", Journal of Animal Science, 94(Supp. 2). (Abstract)2016 - View publication details
Talbot, G., Lessard, M., Yergeau, E., Gagnon, N., Lo Verso, L., Lapointe, J., Bissonnette, N., Bueno Dalto, D., Ouattara, B., Guay, F., and Matte, J.J. (2016). "Effects of different sources and routes of administration of copper and vitamins A and D on piglets gut microbiota.", Journal of Animal Science, 94(Supp. 2). (Abstract)2016 - View publication details
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Adjunct professor, Université de Sherbrooke