I am a scientist at the Moredun Research Institute (MRI), a veterinary research institute with a mission to ‘lead in livestock health solutions for global food security’.
I was born in Liverpool and grew up in Norwich; my first degree was in Biomedical Sciences at Sheffield (2000) and was followed by a PhD at the University of Edinburgh (2004). I have held postdoctoral positions at the Institute for Animal Health, the Division of Pathway Medicine (University of Edinburgh) and at MRI and my research interests lie in the combination of genomic technologies, bioinformatics and network science to answer complex biological questions.
My research at MRI aims to exploit genomic tools to better understand interactions between parasites and their hosts, focusing on sheep scab, which is caused by infestation with the ectoparasitic mite Psoroptes ovis. Infestation results in profound inflammation and leads to the development of the skin lesions (scabs) by which the disease is known. Little is known regarding the mechanisms by which the mite instigates skin inflammation and my research has identified a number of the mite factors involved, which represent vaccine and drug targets.
I also have an interest in improved detection of disease, in particular with rapid diagnosis of disease at the pen- or bed-side. My research in this area has developed novel tools and intellectual property for combined blood typing and disease detection in human donor samples, rapid detection of neonatal sepsis, the detection of ectopic pregnancy and sub-clinical diagnosis of sheep scab infestation.