The Avian Immunology group is interested in understanding host pathogen-interaction, with the aim of developing more effective vaccines against infectious diseases in poultry.
The main aim of our research team is to understand the role of host innate and adaptive immune responses in determining the outcome of viral infections in chickens.
Our current projects involve studying the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in the induction of a protective immune responses against viral infections such as Marek’s Disease Virus, Avian Influenza Virus and Infectious Bronchitis Virus in chicken. This information will be valuable in the development of more effective vaccine formulations or vaccination strategies. Our primary focus is to study the mechanisms involved in the induction of anti-virus CD4 and CD8 T cell responses and understand the role of both mucosal and systemic immunity in the control of viral infections in chicken.
Infectious diseases affect poultry meat and egg production and pose a serious risk to food security and consumer safety. Lymphocytes are important types of immune system cells, and are involved in controlling infectious diseases, including Marek's Disease, Influenza and infectious Bronchitis in poultry. We have identified a novel lymphocyte with immuno-modulatory properties in chicken and shown that these cells are involved in the pathogenesis of Marek’s Disease and Infectious Bronchitis. Better understanding of the disease has promoted better selection of genetically resistant chickens, and this will reduce financial loss due to the disease and control measures. In addition, we have demonstrated that activation of innate immune responses via toll-like receptors can inhibit viral infections, improve suboptimal vaccine formulations and reduce the severity of infections caused by Influenza Virus or Marek’s Disease Virus.