ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — The University of Georgia Research Foundation has received nearly $1.6 million to work on developing disease-resistant livestock.

The funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will support a team of researchers from the University of Georgia and the U.S. Department of Agriculture in their efforts to develop a new technology to breed chickens resistant to Newcastle Virus.

Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar Steve Stice, an animal and dairy professor in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Science, says disease and death in livestock are serious problems, especially in under-developed countries.

The team plans to look into applying a process called cellular adaptive resistance, which uses stem cells to create disease resistance in animals. The approach is a direct offshoot of previous work by Stice and fellow researcher Franklin West.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.