Pirbright’s insectary facilities are among the best in the world. They allow us to research vector-borne viral diseases, including those spread by midges, mosquitoes, and flies.
Vector-borne viral diseases such as Rift Valley fever virus and bluetongue virus have devastating effects on human and livestock health, which has a knock-on effect on food and economic security.
At Pirbright, our research focuses on understanding vectors, how they spread disease, and how we may be able to control that spread.
With two insectaries, the Phillip Mellor Insectary and the high containment IS4L insectary, our scientists can study the lifecycle stages of insect vectors all year round, and investigate factors that influence disease spread, such as climate change.
Pirbright has one of the largest insectary facilities of its type in the UK, our researchers have the use of multiple temperature and humidity-controlled insect rooms which can be programmed to simulate dusk, day, dawn and night cycles. There are also large, walk-in, controlled temperature chambers available for experiments requiring different conditions to standard rearing.
Entomology, the study of insects and their relationship with people and the environment, has been a continuous focus of research at Pirbright since the 1960s. Much of the research has focused on understanding why certain species of midges and mosquitoes transmit viruses, while others do not.
The facilities we have at Pirbright create environments which are perfect for breeding a wide range of insects, this provides a vast amount of the data used to respond to virus outbreaks in the UK and overseas. Our insectaries are environments where vectors can be safely and securely used by researchers to learn more about viruses and the diseases they cause. We also offer expertise and access to some of vectors we breed to those outside of the Institute.
To find out more about our facilities why not read our most recent ‘Day in the life…’ article and hear from one of our researchers who works in the Philip Mellor Insectary or watch our video to find out how we rear Culicoides biting midges in our facilities.We have received substantial investment from UK Research and Innovation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council Grants (BBSRC) to provide state-of-the-art facilities.