I am a comparative immunologist with an interest in animal health and vaccination in farmed animals. Throughout my career I have been involved in the development and efficacy testing of a variety of vaccines in teleost fish as well as their effect on the immune system of the fish with a focus on the adaptive immune responses and cytokine production.
My career as a researcher started more than 13 years in the Scottish Fish Immunology Research Centre at the University of Aberdeen where I carried out my doctoral studies under the supervision of Prof Chris Secombes. After completing my PhD in 2006 I continued working in the field of Fish Immunology for 6 more years during which I discovered a variety of cytokines in gadoid fish and carried out the first vaccination and challenge experiments in the UK against the bacterial pathogen Vibrio anguillarum.
For the last 4 years my research has progressed onto the study of the immune system of ruminants. Initially at the Roslin Institute, I characterised the monocyte populations of the peripheral blood of cattle and sheep, and was able to show an increased presence of a non-classical monocyte population during Mycobacterium infections in cattle. I was also involved in the identification of cross-reacting antibodies against the Th17 cytokine IL-17A.
I am currently working at the Moredun Research Institute as part of the Horizon 2020 project PARAGONE. Helmint parasites are a major problem in the ruminant farming industry and my objective in this project is the improvement of vaccines against parasites such as Teladorsagia circumcincta with the use of novel adjuvant technologies which are able to, not only induce an immunity against the pathogen, but also to boost the immune system allowing for a more efficient immune response against the parasite.