During the last fifty years or so, disease control in the pork industry has evolved mainly relying on antimicrobials, vaccines, elimination (depopulation, repopulation, eradication, modified early weaning), and/or regional control depending on the disease.
Professor Harding received his DVM, at Ontario Veterinary College, in 1988. Later in 1997 his MSc, from the University of Minnesota. He is also a Diplomate, American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP) — Swine Health Management, since 2008.
Dr. Harding teaches undergraduate students in all 4 years of the veterinary program. This includes core courses in swine production and diseases, as well as an advanced swine production medicine elective for students interested in pursuing careers in food animals. In the final year of the program, clinical rotations are available to encourage students to apply knowledge gained through didactic classes to real life situations. Dr. Harding consults with veterinarians throughout western Canada on challenging issues pertaining to emerging and common diseases impacting the swine industry, particularly related to diagnostic methods. Dr. Harding was awarded the Pfizer Carl J. Norden Distinguished Teaching Award in 2009.
The theme of Dr. Harding's research is emerging and re-emerging diseases of pigs. Earlier in his career, he co-discovered porcine circovirus type 2, and characterized its impact and epidemiology in affected farms. More recently, his research has focused on other novel diseases and syndromes, most notably "Brachyspira hampsonii" colitis and Periweaning Failure-to-Thrive Syndrome (PFTS). In addition, his current research aims to understand mechanisms associated with severity of reproductive PRRS, as well investigating prenatal immunologic programming associated with intrauterine growth retardation. Dr. Harding was awarded the Pfizer Animal Health Award for Research Excellence in 2010.