Under the leadership of Pirbright’s Dr Elma Tchilian the Comparative and Veterinary Immunology Group (CVIG) has been revived and is actively engaging in opportunities to showcase the research of its members and bring knowledge of comparative and veterinary immunology to a wider audience.
Research at The Pirbright Institute is focused on viruses of livestock and viruses that spread from animals to humans – known as zoonoses – and as such scientists at Pirbright have a vested interest in human and animal immunology, especially in researching potential vaccines for diseases like African swine fever, bluetongue and others.
Speaking about the increased activity from the CVIG, Dr Tchilian, who is currently working on a swine influenza model, was animated: ‘We are enthusiastic and determined to change the perception of veterinary immunology and to bring together people who work on human, mouse and veterinary immunology’. Dr Tchilian also noted that the British Society for Immunology (BSI) has been extremely supportive during the revival of the CVIG, which has been an Affinity Group of the BSI for more than 25 years. The BBSRC UK Veterinary Vaccinology Network (VVN), which is chaired by the Director of the Institute, Dr Bryan Charleston, has also provided support for the CVIG.
As part of their efforts the CVIG organising committee meets for monthly teleconferences and is planning at least one meeting per year. Currently two meetings have been planned that address fundamental aspects of veterinary immunology and the crossover with human immunology.
The first of these is the CVIG relaunch meeting: Frontiers in human and veterinary antibody discovery, 26 and 27 November 2018 at Pirbright. This is being planned in collaboration with the VVN and the International Veterinary Vaccinology Network (IVVN), which have both provided travel grants for the meeting. The second meeting, Non-conventional T cells in health and disease, will take place on 11 January 2019 at The Tower Hotel in London. The CVIG is also hoping to organise a large conference on animal and human health for 2020.
The revival of the CVIG was recently featured in Immunology News, the magazine of the BSI.