Immunizing chicks against coccidia. Click image
for caption and other photo information.
feature about Lillehoj's research (Jan 99)
Wins Award for Poultry Research
By Rosalie Marion
January 22, 2004
NEW ORLEANS, La., Jan.
22Hyun S. Lillehoj, a microbiologist with the Agricultural Research
Service (ARS), was recognized by the
agency today as an Outstanding Senior Research Scientist of 2003.
ARS is celebrating its 50th anniversary as the U.S. Department of Agriculture's principal
in-house scientific research agency.
Lillehoj has pioneered novel technologies for the development of nonchemical
methods to control avian coccidiosis, a major parasitic disease that costs the
U.S. poultry industry more than $700 million annually. Coccidiosis is caused by
multiple strains of Eimeria, a genus of tiny, one-celled protozoan
parasites that infect the birds' intestines.
Lillehoj, honored with other ARS scientists at a ceremony here today, will
receive a plaque, a cash award and additional funding for her research
Lillehoj works at the Animal Parasitic Diseases
Laboratory in the Animal and
Natural Resources Institute, located at ARS Henry A. Wallace
Beltsville (Md.) Agricultural Research Center (BARC).
During two decades with ARS, Lillehoj researched multiple approaches to
blocking the spread of avian diseases. She produced recombinant chicken
antibodies and recombinant chicken cytokines for immunotherapeutic use against
coccidiosis and other poultry diseases. Her focus on cytokines--hormonelike
chemicals that immune cells secrete to fight parasites--has led to potential
umbrella protections against the multiple Eimeria strains that infect chickens.
She has also used recombinant Eimeria antigen to vaccinate chickens
against coccidiosis. The antigen is a two-timing protein made by
Eimeria. The antigen's betrayal lies in the fact that it helps the
parasite enter host cells while evoking an attack response from the chicken's
Dr. Lillehoj has assembled a team of scientific collaborators
worldwide to test and validate new technologies to defeat costly avian
diseases," said Edward B. Knipling, ARS acting administrator. "Her
studies looking into the interactions between parasites and hosts have led to
the development of novel, internationally recognized, immunological and
molecular biological concepts in the control of coccidiosis."
Lillehoj and ARS coworkers are the named inventors on six patents aimed at
benefitting the poultry industry--three issued, and three pending. Several of
the team's patents are now licensed by industry.
Lillehoj received her doctorate in immunology in 1979 from
Wayne State University School of
Medicine, Detroit, Mich., where, in 1980, she was a
National Institutes of Health post-doctoral
fellow. In 1975, she earned a master of science degree in microbiology from the
University of ConnecticutStorrs. She
received a bachelor of science degree in biology in 1974 from the
University of Hartford, Hartford, Conn.