Prof Fazakerley Takes Up Post As IAH Director

UK - Professor John Fazakerley has took up the post of Director of the Institute for Animal Health (IAH) yesterday, 6 June.
calendar icon 7 June 2011
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Yesterday, 6 June 2011, Professor John Fazakerley takes up his post as Director of the Institute for Animal Health (IAH), which receives strategic funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). He succeeds Professor David Paton, who has been Acting Director since the retirement of Professor Martin Shirley, CBE, last year.

Professor Fazakerley is Group Leader and Professor of Virology at the Roslin Institute, also an Institute of BBSRC, within the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine at the University of Edinburgh. He and his research group study how viruses cause disease and focus on viruses spread by arthropods.

He said: "My research on viruses that are spread by vectors such as mosquitoes and ticks dovetails very well with the world-class Vector-borne Diseases Programme within IAH."

The viruses that Professor Fazakerley currently studies include alphaviruses, flaviviruses and bunyaviruses; most of these are transmitted between wildlife reservoirs, livestock and humans by mosquitoes and ticks. Other IAH vector-borne disease research includes bluetongue virus, which is circulated amongst ruminants by biting Culicoides midges, and African swine fever, which can be spread by ticks.

Professsor Fazakerley added: "This is an exciting time to be taking over the reins of the IAH. Consolidation of the institute and construction of a state-of-the-art, high bio-containment laboratory complex at the IAH's Pirbright Laboratory is well under way. This is in addition to recently completed animal facilities and an interim high bio-containment laboratory.

"At IAH, we have world-class staff and research programmes, and a new focus on viruses that threaten livestock, including poultry, and viruses that are zoonotic, affecting both livestock and humans. Viruses that threaten the health of livestock also threaten food security. With a changing environment and climate, viruses are the most likely emerging diseases of economic and medical importance.

"IAH has a distinguished history and with all the new investment in facilities and staff, IAH is set to retain its position as a world-leading institute into the future," Professor Fazakerley concluded.

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