Venugopal Nair has been working as the Head of the Viral Oncogenesis group and is one of the Senior Science Managers at Pirbright. As the Head of the Avian Viral Diseases Programme during 2010-17, he led the Institute’s programme of research on avian virology and immunology. He studied at the College of Veterinary & Animal Sciences, Kerala, India (B.V.Sc & M.V.Sc), National Institute of Virology, India (Diploma in Medical Virology) and the Tamilnadu University of Veterinary & Animal Sciences, India (Ph.D.).
After 6 years postdoctoral research initially at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and later at the Institute of Virology, Oxford, he joined The Pirbright Institute in 1994 to carry out research on avian oncogenic viruses. As the Head of the Viral Oncogenesis group, he carried out extensive research into the molecular mechanisms of virus-induced cancers. His research focus includes efforts to gain insights into the viral gene functions and their interactions with the host cell in driving neoplastic transformation to become cancer.
He has carried out extensive analysis of the dynamic changes of virus-induced cancer cells (looking at epigenomes, non-coding RNAs, transcriptomes and the proteomes) to develop an integrated profile of the molecular events in neoplastic transformation and make use of the advanced genome editing tools to dissect the molecular pathways in cancer. His research interests on viral diversity and evolution of virulence has demonstrated the potential role of vaccines in driving virulence.
He has published a number of scientific papers and book chapters, and his contributions to avian disease research were recognized through the admittance to the World Veterinary Poultry Association Hall of Honour (2013), and OBE in the New Year’s Honours list (2015). Prof. Nair awarded a 5-year Royal Society International Professorship in 2016 for collaborative research with Seoul National University for developing innovative control methods against avian diseases.