Professor, Team Leader (TB Immunology & Vaccinology), Animal and Plant Health Agency / Aberystwyth University
Key research areas: TB vaccine development for cattle, ante-mortem DIVA diagnosis, biomarker research to define predictors and correlates of protection and disease based on data-driven (e.g. transcriptomics, RNASeq) and hypothesis driven immunological research), antigen mining using ‘omics’ approaches. Combined with standard ‘wet’ immunology.
Current research: His current research interests are aimed at the investigation of immune responses against mycobacterial infections to support the development of vaccines and diagnostic reagents against bovine tuberculosis in cattle. His team are applying and testing a range of vaccine strategies including heterologous prime boost approaches using using virally vectored recombinant adenoviruses and Modified Vaccinia Virus Ankara-based vector systems. Part of this work is being undertaken in collaboration with the groups of Adrian Hill and Helen McShane at the Jenner Institute. For example, his team recently tested polyvalent virally vectored subunit vaccines for their protective efficacy in cattle and also compared the effects of mucosal and system delivery of recombinant adenoviral vaccines their immunogenicity in calves.
Supporting these objectives, his group is also engaged in the definition of immunological surrogates/predictors of protective and pathological immune responses through biomarker studies using, for example, genome-wide expression analysis of vaccine or infection-induced host responses. They recently identified a number of biomarkers that could support the ante-mortem diagnosis of bovine tuberculosis including Interleukin-22 and granzyme A. He is also interested in bovine TB in cattle in Africa, in particular the differences in the susceptibility to bovine tuberculosis between endogenous and exotic breeds in East Africa.