white turkey hen standing on grass

Beckstead Lab

Saving Thanksgiving, one turkey at a time.

Lab Focus

The Beckstead lab focuses on poultry parasites and the role that genetics, gut health, immunity, nutrition and stress have on the bird host.
The parasites of interest are Histomonas meleagridis (blackhead disease), Cochlosoma anatis, Tetratrichomonas gallinarum, and Eimeria species (coccidiosis).  Research projects include both in vitro and animal models.

Recent Research

The Beckstead lab is focused on the prevention and treatment of protozoal diseases in poultry.

Over the past year, the lab has tested over 70 products against

  • Histomonas meleagridis,
  • Cochlosoma anitis,
  • Tetratrichomonas gallinarum,
  • Heterakis gallinarum and
  • Eimeria sp.

in turkeys and chickens using the isolators in Scott Hall.

Research at the Talley Turkey Education Unit has included

  • two battery trials (72 cages) looking at various treatments for blackhead disease,
  • two trials identifying the effects of Histomonas meleagridis infection on the microbiome of the turkey,
  • one trial determining the effective dose of an industry coccidia vaccine on turkeys,
  • one genetic trial aimed at identifying turkeys that are resistant to blackhead disease,
  • two trials aimed at identifying biomarkers associated with feed withdrawal in chickens and
  • one pen trial that focused on determining if a feed additive can ameliorate the effects of a coccidia challenge in chickens.

Recent Publications


Current Lab Members

Dr. Beckstead
Robert Beckstead, Primary Investigator
Christina Sigmon
Christina Sigmon, Research Technician
Portrait of Elle Chadwick
Elle Chadwick, graduate student
Portrait of Katherine Cupo
Katherine Cupo, graduate student
portrait of Olivia Wedegaertner
Olivia Wedegaertner, graduate student

Did You Know?

Turkeys are the number three agricultural commodity in North Carolina. (NCDA&CS)