Professor Venugopal Nair
Despite the enormous success of the intensive livestock and poultry farming in increasing the production of cheap animal proteins, threats from several infectious diseases continue to challenge in the sustainability of animal production. Poultry industry is heavily dependent on the widespread use of vaccines against multitude of viral diseases that challenges poultry health and welfare. Continuous race between the pathogens and the host immune responses often necessitates the application of newer generations of more effective vaccines for successful control of many avian diseases.
Marek’s disease (MD) is one of the highly contagious and economically important neoplastic diseases of poultry which is estimated to cause economic losses up to £ 1billion worldwide. Despite the widespread and successful use of vaccines for the last 40 years, MD virus shows a continuous evolution of virulence. One of the aims of Dr. Nair’s research is to investigate the molecular mechanisms of for the continued increase in virulence. In collaboration, with Prof. Andrew Read, University of Edinburgh, Dr. Nair is examining the role of vaccines in driving MDV virulence.
As an excellent model for rapid-onset lymphomas, MD also offers the prospect of examining the molecular events and mechanisms of virus-induced oncogenesis in a natural disease model. With an aim to unravel the molecular mechanisms of MDV-induced neoplastic transformation, Dr. Nair group carries out in-depth analysis of the transcriptome, proteome and the interactome of MDV-transformed cells to understand the molecular pathways of oncogenesis. Dr. Nair’s group has established infectious bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clones of different MDV strains, which allow random or targeted mutagenesis to identify genes associated with pathogenicity. More recently, Dr. Nair’s group has identified several herpesvirus-encoded microRNAs that have profound influence of the biology of these viruses.
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