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SPirE - Sharing Pirbright's Expertise

The Pirbright Institute is an international centre of scientific excellence in the study of viral infectious diseases.  The Institute plays a crucial role in protecting the UK and international communities from viruses that have huge socio-economic impact through a unique combination of fundamental research, applied science, and state-of-the-art facilities (including biosafety levels 3 and 4).  

With extensive support from Pirbright’s subject matter experts (Science, Estates Management Services, Health Safety and Biosafety, Quality Assurance), Project SPirE aims to Share Pirbright’s Expertise in Disease Control, Biocontainment Engineering and Biosafety through a portfolio of training courses that combine instructor-led classes and eLearning (including virtual reality).

Project SPirE lead

Project SPirE is led by Dr Lynda Moore, Head of Academic Affairs and Training at The Pirbright Institute.  Lynda is a microbiologist with postdoctoral research experience from the University of Sydney, Australia, in vaccine development for a range of pathogens. 

As senior lecturer in veterinary microbiology at the University of Bristol Vet School, she also held a range of roles including Head of Teaching, Head of Veterinary Admissions and Chair of the Health Sciences Faculty Quality Assurance of Teaching team.  Since moving to Pirbright in 2012, Lynda has built up the externally facing training offered by the Institute, with both face-to-face courses and eLearning. 

Project SPirE now provides the opportunity to enhance this still further, expanding from science and into the fields of biosafety and engineering to really tap into the full range of expertise at this high security, high containment site.

Disease control

Training in Disease Control is led by Dr Tamara Jabbar.  Tamara is responsible for the development of training courses targeting researchers and/or veterinarians interested in enhancing their knowledge of exotic viral diseases.  The courses aimed at veterinarians are specifically designed to boost their workplace awareness of clinical signs, diagnostic tests, and control measures, and may be used to support their Continuing Professional Development.

Tamara obtained her foundation degree in Veterinary Medicine and gained hands on experience in many exotic diseases and exotic animal species.  She holds a master’s degree in Theriogenology, and in 2012 she attained her PhD from the University of London for the development of a bluetongue virus vaccine at The Pirbright Institute.  She then went on to work as a lecturer in animal management at NESCOT college before returning to Pirbright as a researcher in the African swine fever team.  Later, Tamara joined the Development Team at Pirbright, where she was involved in the design of the new, state-of-the-art animal facilities.

Courses under development (early 2021):

  • African Swine Fever virus for research scientists
  • African Swine Fever virus for veterinarians
  • Foot and Mouth Disease virus for veterinarians
  • Bluetongue virus for veterinarians
  • Lumpy skin disease virus for veterinarians

Biocontainment engineering

Training in Biocontainment Engineering is led by David Hamer.  David is responsible for the development and delivery of specialist training courses aimed at engineering professionals overseeing the safe operation of high containment facilities (in particular at biosafety levels 3 and 4).

Previously, David was a Senior Maintenance Owner for three years at The Pirbright Institute, where he managed both scheduled planned preventive and reactive maintenance activities across the site, as well as conducting project management.  

Before joining the Institute, David spent 29 years in the Royal Navy as an Engineer, leaving as a Commissioned Officer within the training branch.

Courses under development (early 2021):

  • HEPA filtration: maintenance
  • Microbiology safety cabinets: operation and maintenance
  • Fumigation and sealability
  • CMR calibrations
  • Autoclaves: operation and maintenance

Biosafety

Training in Biosafety is led by Dr Adrian Zagrajek.  Adrian is responsible for the development and delivery of specialist training courses aimed at biosafety professionals overseeing the operation of high containment facilities (in particular at biosafety levels 3 and 4).  

Adrian holds a PhD in Infection and Immunity (Virology) from the University of Edinburgh and, before joining Project SPirE, he spent 5 years at The Pirbright Institute working as a postdoctoral research scientist studying vector competence for human biosafety level 3 viruses (e.g. chikungunya, dengue, Rift Valley fever).  During this time, Adrian was also involved in managing a number of high containment facilities.  

In 2017 Adrian contributed to “Safe working with arthropods: Containment and control for work with uninfected, infected and transgenic animals in research”, the first UK industry guidance on working safely with insects in high containment laboratories.  Adrian is a Member and a registered Biosafety Practitioner of the Institute of Safety in Technology and Research (ISTR).

Courses under development (early 2021):

  • Organisational management
  • Biorisk management
  • Competency management
  • Biocontainment
  • Disinfection, sterilisation and waste management
  • Movement of infectious materials
  • Emergency response and contingency planning
  • Working with animals

eLearning development

The development of eLearning resources is led by Hugh Vaughan.  Hugh works closely with the three Training Officers and subject matter experts, designing and developing a portfolio of courses that complement the specialisms of The Pirbright Institute.  Hugh has worked in eLearning and digital media his entire career.  

Prior to working at Pirbright he worked in the Web Services department at the Guildford College Group (now Activate Learning) for 14 years.  He is a multi-disciplined, versatile learning technologist with strong design and creative skills, adept at managing and developing multiple systems and creating high quality digital learning assets using a variety of content generation tools for use in courses and online.  

Recently he has been working on more immersive projects using virtual reality.

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