I am a scientist at the Moredun Research Institute (MRI). My first degree was in Biomedical Sciences at Sheffield (2000) and was followed by a PhD at the University of Edinburgh (2004) on Scrapie. 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 researchat MRI aims to exploit genomic tools to better underst and interactions between parasites and their hosts, focusing on sheep scab, which is causedby 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. MRI has been developing a sheep scab vaccine and my research within EPIC 3 will focus on modelling the transmission dynamics of sheep scab to better understand the degree of efficacy required from a sheep scab vaccine in order for it to be able to make a substantial impact on disease control.
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