On 6th June 2011 Professor John Fazakerley took up his post as Director of IAH. He succeeds Prof. David Paton who has been Acting Director since the retirement of Prof. Martin Shirley CBE last year.
Prof. Fazakerley is Group Leader and Professor of Virology at the Roslin Institute, also an Institute of BBSRC, within the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine at the University of Edinburgh. He and his research group study how viruses cause disease and focus on viruses spread by arthropods. “My research on viruses that are spread by vectors such as mosquitoes and ticks dovetails very well with the world-class Vector-borne Diseases Programme within IAH.” The viruses that Prof. Fazakerley currently studies include alphaviruses, flaviviruses and bunyaviruses; most of these are transmitted between wildlife reservoirs, livestock and humans by mosquitoes and ticks. Other IAH vector-borne diseases research includes bluetongue virus, which is circulated amongst ruminants by biting Culicoides midges, and African swine fever which can be spread by ticks.
“This is an exciting time to be taking over the reins of the IAH,” said Prof. Fazakerley. “Consolidation of the institute and construction of a state-of-the-art, high bio-containment laboratory complex at the IAH’s Pirbright Laboratory is well under way. This is in addition to recently completed animal facilities and an interim high bio-containment laboratory.”
“At IAH we have world-class staff and research programmes, and a new focus on viruses that threaten livestock, including poultry, and viruses that are zoonotic, affecting both livestock and humans. Viruses that threaten the health of livestock also threaten food security. With a changing environment and climate, viruses are the most likely emerging diseases of economic and medical importance.”
“IAH has a distinguished history and with all the new investment in facilities and staff, IAH is set to retain its position as a world-leading institute into the future.”