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Université de Montréal
The udder and its response to infection

About This Course

Welcome to the Bovine Mastitis MOOCs series!

As you know mastitis is a very costly disease on dairies. It is a complex, multi-factorial health problem and, all around the world, a large number of scientists, and their graduate students, are conducting research on this disease.

For that reason, experts from more than 20 countries have decided to work together to produce this series of three MOOC, designed for graduate students, to give them the knowledge they need to initiate their research program. Of course, these MOOCs will also be useful for dairy practitioners, teachers, and for individuals that already have a solid scientific background, and are interested to learn on bovine mastitis.

This first MOOC (of a duration of 15 hours) covers the basic knowledge on the mammary gland and its response to infections. We will discuss, mammary gland anatomy and physiology, immune response, the role of genetics, and pathophysiology, or, if you prefer, the changes occurring in mammary tissues following an infection.

This MOOC will soon be followed by two others MOOCS, that will cover bovine mastitis epidemiology and diagnostic, and finally, mastitis control.

We hope this series of course will answer all your questions and will be useful for your professional development.

Welcome to the first MOOC on "The mammary gland and its response to infection"!

Simon Dufour, DMV, Ph.D.
Professor, Université de Montréal
MOOCs series main designer

Target audience

This course is designed primarily for graduate students conducting a master or doctoral project on udder health. The objective is to equip them with the knowledge they will need to conduct their research.

This course could also be useful for veterinarians, as they provide an opportunity to deepen the basics and access to cutting-edge knowledge for continuing education. The same applies to teachers in agriculture and animal health. Similarly, anyone with a scientific background and an interest in udder health will find high-level notions within the course.

Course area

  • Animal health
  • Veterinary science
  • Udder Health

Course content

Module 1 : Udder anatomy and physiology

  • The general anatomy and structure of the mammary gland including teat anatomy;
  • The physiology of the mammary gland including:
    • Development of the mammary gland prior to first lactation and prior to subsequent calvings;
    • Secretory activities during the milking phase;
    • Involution of the mammary gland at drying off.

Module 2 : Udder immunology

  • Bovine humoral and innate immunity;
  • Mammary gland local immunity.

Module 3 : Host genetics

  • Quantitative genetics;
  • Genomics.

Module 4 : Pathophysiology

  • Mammary tissues response following intra-mammary infection;
  • Involvement of neutrophils, plasma protein, cytokines, and bacteria in tissue damage.

Project Team

Main Designer

Simon Dufour Faculté de médecine vétérinaire - Université de Montréal
Simon Dufour, DMV, Ph.D
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Université de Montréal, Canada
Scientific Director, Canadian Bovine Mastitis and Milk Quality Research Network

Simon Dufour is the scientific director of the Canadian Bovine Mastitis and Milk Quality Research Network and epidemiology professor at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the Université de Montréal, Canada. Simon holds a DVM and a Ph.D. from University of Montreal. Before engaging in research he has worked with Canadian dairy producers for 10 years as veterinary practitioner, an experience that helped him developed an excellent understanding of the dairy industry. His consuming interests are the epidemiology of mastitis pathogens, the development of tools for monitoring mastitis, and the development of novel practices for controlling mastitis.

Scientific Expertise

Kasey Moyes College of Agriculture and Natural Ressources
Kasey Moyes, Ph.D.
University of Maryland, Department of Animal and Avian Sciences, USA

Kasey received her B.S. at Michigan State University, her M.S. at the University of Connecticut, a Ph.D. at the University of Illinois and completed a post-doctoral research assistantship in Denmark at Aarhus University. She is currently a tenure-track assistant professor in the Department of Animal and Avian Sciences at the University of Maryland. Kasey current teaching responsibilities include the courses: ‘Principles of Animal Science’ and ‘Physiology of Lactation’. Her research primarily focuses on nutritional immunology and risk of disease in dairy cattle, with an emphasis on bovine mastitis.

Isis Kanevsky-Mullarky Dairy Science
Isis Kanevsky-Mullarky, Ph.D.
Virginia Tech, Department of Dairy Science, USA

Isis obtained both her B.S. (1996) and M.S. (1998) from the University of Vermont, and her Ph.D. in pathobiology and immunology from Pennsylvania State University (2003). She completed her post-doctoral studies in Saranac Lake, NY at the Trudeau Institute, an independent, nonprofit, biomedical research organization where she conducted infectious disease research using mouse models. As a faculty member in the Department of Dairy Science at Virginia Tech, from 2006 - 2016, her research focused on enhancing immunity to prevent infections such as Staph. aureus in both dairy cattle and human populations. Currently, she is an adjunct professor at Virginia Tech and Principal Scientist at Pfizer.

Gina Pighetti Institute of Agriculture
Gina Pighetti, Ph.D.
University of Tennessee, Institute of Agriculture, USA

Gina obtained her B.S. in Dairy Production, Business Minor (1991), her M.S. (1994), and her Ph.D. (1998) in Pathobiology at Pennsylvania State University. She is currently an associate professor in Department of Animal Science at the Institute of Agriculture of University of Tennessee. Dr. Pighetti’s research aims to improve dairy cow health, productivity, and milk safety by providing solutions for controlling mastitis. Her research primarily focuses on identifying genetic markers that can be used not only for selection, but also for determining the functional mechanisms that contribute to greater susceptibility. She also collaborates with other members of her department to develop new candidates for vaccines against mastitis, as well as minimize the impacts of stress on immunity and disease resistance.

Chris Luby University of Saskatchewan
Dr. Chris Luby, VetMB, MSc, PhD, Dipl ACVIM
University of Saskatchewan, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, Canada

Chris is an assistant professor in the Western College of Veterinary Medicine's Department of Large Animal Medicine and a board-certified large animal internal medicine specialist at the WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre. Originally from the south west of England, Dr. Luby received his VetMB degree from the University of Cambridge in 2002 and then finished an MSc degree and a residency in food animal medicine, surgery and production medicine at the University of Missouri in 2006. He completed a PhD in Veterinary Microbiology and joined the WCVM faculty in 2010 and is responsible for teaching food animal production medicine with an emphasis on the dairy industry. His primary research interest is in bovine mastitis with focus on host-pathogen interactions and novel mastitis control measures.

Technopedagogical Expertise

Caroline De Coninck
Educational Advisor | Educational Support Services, Université de Montréal

Julien Contamines
Educational Advisor | Educational Support Services, Université de Montréal

Pedagogical and Administrative support

Suzie Savard
Manager | Center of Expertise in Continuing Veterinary Skills Development, Université de Montréal

Robert Gérin-Lajoie
Special Projects Advisor | Educational Support Services, Université de Montréal

Project Coordination

Hélène Poirier
Agronomist | Knowledge Transfer Agent | Canadian Bovine Mastitis and Milk Quality Research Network


Sylvie Denault
Media Technician | Center of Expertise in Continuing Veterinary Skills Development, Université de Montréal

Cédric Joyal
Media Advisor | Educational Support Services, Université de Montréal

Jean-Christophe Schaffner
Media Technician | Educational Support Services, Université de Montréal

Transcription, translation and writing

Mahjoob Aghamohammadi, M.Sc. student, Université de Montréal
Emilie Belage, M.Sc. student, University of Guelph
Coralie Goetz, Ph.D. student, Université de Montréal
Catarina Krug, Ph.D. student, Université de Montréal
Ibtissem Doghri, Postdoctoral Fellow, Université de Montréal

Course schedule

The course is free and accessible throughout the year except during the months of June and July in order to update the content.

Each module contains:

  • A video capsule to introduce the trainer and the objectives of the module.
  • Video capsules, animated by an expert trainer, presenting theoretical notions and concrete examples.
  • Short quiz to deepen the participants’ understanding of the concepts presented.

After completing the MOOC, the participants are invited to complete a final exam that can be used for certification purpose. A fee of $50 is asked if the participant needs an official course completion certificate.


Completion of the quizzes and of the final evaluation is optional for those who register to this MOOC, but do not wish to obtain a certificate of completion.

For those who want to receive recognition for the successful completion of this course, a certificate of completion will be delivered following success (see modalities for certificates) to the final evaluation (minimum score 60%) and payment of a $50 fee*. This certificate may be used to obtain 15 hours of continuing education from your professional order, if applicable. It should be noted that this training is not associated with an equivalence in university credits. In all cases, eventhough the certificate is payable, access to the course remains free of charge.

* Note that the amount of $50 associated with the completion certificate covers the costs related to the animation, improvement, and management of this MOOC. Your comments and suggestions also allow us to improve this project, and provide later versions that will better meet your needs!

NSERC Université de Montréal

We acknowledge financial support by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC),
through the CREATE in Milk Quality program, and by Université de Montréal.

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  2. Institution

    Université de Montréal
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