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Transboundary Diseases

This is a laboratory-based course that is designed for technicians who work within a diagnostic laboratory and are responsible for implementing and validating diagnostic techniques. This course is not suitable for research or group leaders. The course focuses on transboundary disease diagnostic techniques comprising serological, molecular and virological assays, quality assurance and laboratory contingency planning. Applicants should have an understanding of virology and related methodologies.

What you need to know

Cost: £1,350 tuition fee.

Duration: 1 week.

Accommodation: The Pirbright Institute has access to basic accommodation in shared houses at an additional cost of £30 per night (excluding food). The number of rooms is however limited and availability is on a first come first served basis and cannot therefore be guaranteed. The alternative is for course delegates to use local Bed & Breakfast accommodation which we can help to organise.  

Biosecurity: The laboratory operates at BSL3 containment level and delegates will be expected to adhere to stringent biosecurity regulations, including a shower upon exiting the laboratories daily followed by a strict three-day quarantine period. Further information will be provided.

Places are limited.

Course pre requisites

All applicants are required to demonstrate their ability in English language. This will ensure their Health and Safety in the high containment facilities and allow participants to gain the most benefit from this training course. Where English is not the first language of the applicant, a formal qualification is required. The standard is set as an overall IELTS score of 6.5 with no less than 6.0 for listening, reading and speaking, and no less than 5.5 for writing.  Alternative qualifications at a similar level are acceptable, e.g. TOEFL, CEF.  If you do not hold a formal English language qualification, we may be able to conduct a free online English language test and Skype interview if required, in order to ascertain English language ability. Please email before applying if you require further information.

Participants requiring a visa to enter the UK will need a standard visitor visa.

Learning objectives

The course will offer a thorough understanding of the work undertaken in a diagnostic laboratory accredited to ISO/IEC 17025. In addition, the course will provide an overview of the transboundary diseases studied within the reportoire of the reference laboratories at the Pirbright Institute (AHS, ASF, BTV, Capripox, Morbillivirus and FMD). An overview of the laboratories quality management system will be delivered and applicants will participate in a laboratory contingency planning exercise. The course will be delivered through a series of seminars, practical demonstrations and hands-on practical work using a single virus as an example for each technique. The training will take place within the BBSRC National Virology Centre: The Plowright Building in the high containment laboratories.

Course description

Topics to be discussed include:

Transboundary diseases
ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation

Dealing with non-conformities
Laboratory contingency planning

Practical Diagnostic tests
Virus isolation
Real-time (RT-)PCR
Sequencing set-up

Course material containing seminars and standard operating procedures will be provided at the end of the course.

About the trainers

The transboundary disease training course will be hosted by the Non-Vesicular Reference Laboratories (NVRL), led by Dr Carrie Batten. Dr Batten has over 12 years of experience in transboundary diseases and has contributed to over 70 publications. She has also led OIE twinning projects with a number of African countries and provided training and guidance to many others.

The NVRL is the OIE and national reference laboratories for AHS, ASF, capripox and morbilliviruses.

At The Pirbright Institute, named OIE experts in these transboundary diseases lead independent research groups for their respective viruses. As well as providing national capabilities, the NVRL provides support for the research groups and undertakes the validation of novel diagnostic techniques which can then be incorporated into the diagnostic repertoire of the laboratories.

The NVRL maintains all front line diagnostic tests to ISO/IEC 17025 quality accreditation and continues to add new tests to this accreditation scope.

How to apply

Email your completed application form to

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