Dr Erica Bickerton graduated from the University of Surrey with first-class honours in Medical Microbiology in 2006. She then joined The Pirbright Institute and completed her PhD with the University of Warwick, graduating in 2011. Erica won the British Poultry Council Scholarship Award in 2010 for work carried out during her PhD and is now an Institute Fellow, Head of the Coronavirus group.
Erica’s current research utilises molecular virology, next generation sequencing and reverse genetics to characterise the pathogenicity determinants of the gammacoronavirus, infectious bronchitis virus (IBV). Infectious bronchitis is the most economically important infectious disease affecting chickens in the UK and affects not only the production of meat-type birds but also the quality and production levels of eggs from layer and breeder birds. IBV is prevalent in all types of poultry flocks globally and continues to be responsible for economic losses and welfare problems in chickens. The aim of Erica’s research is to develop rationally attenuated vaccines for the better control of infectious bronchitis virus and other coronaviruses.
Erica has strong links to major veterinary pharmaceutical companies, is a member of The Pirbright Institute Animal Welfare & Ethical Review Board (AWERB) and was elected to the Microbiology Society virology division committee in 2014.