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Karin Orsel


Associate Professor (Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases)
Production Animal Health (PAH)
Adjunct, Cumming School of Medicine

Contact Information: 

+1 (403) 210-6127
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Dr. Orsel completed her DVM at the Utrecht University in 1996 and she started to work as a veterinarian in several veterinary practices in The Netherlands. In February 1997 she started her job at the ambulatory clinic of the Department of Farm Animal Health in Utrecht. After being actively involved in an epidemiologic study during the epidemic of foot and mouth disease in 2001, she started her PhD on this topic from February 2002-February 2007. She obtained a MSc degree in veterinary epidemiology and economics in 2004. She joined UCVM in February 2008, with a main focus on Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases of Cattle. In her capacity as epidemiologist, she is often a member of a multi-disciplinary team to tackle global and ecosystem health challenges.

Teaching : 

Graduate Teaching:

I have been actively involved in delivery of graduate courses on epidemiology, both in the Veterinary Sciences as well as in the community health science program.

Undergraduate teaching:

Course coordination: VETM 520 Advanced Health Management

Core instructor: VETM 344: Fundamentals of Epidemiology, VETM 420 Health Management,

Participation: VETM 461 Outbreak investigations, VETM 462 Foreign Animal Disease, and VETM 531 Small Ruminants

Rotations: practice liaison for Veterinary Agri-Health Services and Feedlot Health Management Services in delivery of the herd health rotations in cattle health. Member of the One-health team delivering rotations and educational opportunities for DVM and BHs students in UofC's fieldschool in Tanzania.

Research / Scholarly Activities: 

As a veterinary epidemiologist, my main interest is in studying disease transmission and identifying risk factors for multi-factorial diseases. My research focuses on both beef and dairy cattle, especially, infectious diseases, lameness and painful procedures. One of the key findings in dairy cattle is that lameness is a prevalent disorder in Canadian dairy farms, and the complex interaction between animal and environmental factors impacts the prevalence. In beef cattle, besides lameness my research also focuses on the potential for food and water intake behaviour as indicators for early disease detection in feedlot systems. A second focus is on disease detection in wildlife and disease transmission at the wildlife-livestock interface. It was discovered that Johne’s disease is present in a wide variety of wild species native to Alberta, and test adaptation was needed for optimization of disease detection. To expand on the Ecosystem approach and supportive of a One-Health approach, I am an active member of the team, supporting research, education and teaching in the University of Calgary’s fieldschool in Tanzania.

In addition to research, Dr. Orsel is a board member of the UCVM Animal Care Committee, member of the Research Committee, Third Year Teacher’s Committee and Curriculum committee. She is also on the organizing committee for UCVM’s International Beef Conference and is a co-organizer of several other conferences (Muskoxen health conference, CAVEPM conference). Besides her scientific presentations, Dr. Orsel also regularly presents for producer groups, such as Alberta Milk Producer, Hooftrimmers associations etc.

Graduate Program Affiliations : 
Veterinary Medical Sciences
Research personnel and trainees : 

Primary supervisor

  1. Manar Eltantawy. Parasitism in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. MSc, supervisor, Vet Med Sci, UCVM, Sep 2016 – present.

  2. Chris McMullen. BRD in feedlot cattle. MSc, supervisor, Vet Med Sci, UCVM, Sep 2016 – present.

  3. Kajal Devani. Development of Genetic Selection Tools for Female Longevity and Sustainability. PhD, supervisor, Vet Med Sci, UCVM, May 2016 – present. AFC-Growing Forward2 funded.

  4. Jessica Davis. Occurrence and economic impact of beef lameness in Alberta feedlots. MSc, supervisor, Vet Med Sci, UCVM, Sep 2015-present. Welfare chair funded.

  5. Casey Jacob. Digital dermatitis in dairy cattle. PhD, co-supervisor. Vet Med Sci, UCVM, Feb 2013-present. AB milk funded.

Committee member:

1.      Caroline Corbett. Within herd transmission of MAP in dairy cattle.

2.       Alessa Kuczewski: Developing a producer driven control program for Bovine Leucosis Virus

3.      Daniela Melendez Suarez: painfull procedures in beef calves

4.      Monica Rincon Garcia: the role of the respiratory virome in Bovine Respiratory Disease

5.      Domonique Carson: Non-staphylococci and their role in mastitis prevention 

Past students under Karin's Supervision:

1.      Adam Chernick. Genetic and antigenetic evolution of bovine viral diarrhea virus. PhD, co-supervisor, Vet Med
Sci, UCVM, Sep 2012 – Aug 2016, ALMA-funded

2.      Laura Solano. The influence of management practices on hoof health, lameness and cowlongevity on Alberta dairy farms. PhD, supervisor, Vet Med Sci, UCVM, Sep 2011 June 2016, DFC/ALMA-funded

3.      Taya Forde. Heightened resolution in wildlife health monitoring and outbreak investigations through the use of molecular and genomic tools. PhD, supervisor,Vet Med Sci, UCVM, Sep 2010 – Aug 2015, ACA grants in biodiversity, UCVM Entrance Award, Killam and NSERC top up

4.      Barbara Wolfger. Automated detection of diseased animals in commercial feedlots in southwest Alberta. PhD, supervisor, Vet Med Sci, UCVM, Sep 2011 – April 2015, AI-Biosolutions funded. PhD defence april 8th 2015

5.      Robert Wolf. Prevalence of Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis in Alberta dairy farms and the effectiveness of control strategies. PhD-candidate, supervisor, Vet Med Sci, UCVM, Sep 2010 – present, AI-biosolutions funded. PhD defence Dec 16th 2014

6.      Mathieu Pruvot. Prevalence and contact-structure analysis for transmission of important production limiting diseases of cattle and elk in southwest Alberta. PhD defence Jul 28th2014. supervisor, Vet Med Sci, UCVM, Sep 2009 – July 2014, AI-Biosolutions/ALMA funded. Open Doctoral Scholarship, UCVM Entrance Award and the UCVM Professional award. Awarded with the Dean’s award of excellence Sep 2012

7.      Jillian Steele. Risk factors associated with gastrointestinal parasitism in West Greenland caribou. MSc, co-supervisor, Vet Med Sci, UCVM, Sep 2010 – Dec 2012, IPY-funded. UCVM Entrance Award