Poultry industry is one of the fastest growing sectors critical for global food security. Diseases caused by viral pathogens continue to threaten the sustainability of growth in this sector. With significant expansion of the poultry population, particularly in parts of Asia and South America, there is the increased risk of emergence and re-emergence of several viral pathogens, including zoonotic viruses such as avian influenza. My research interests are in understanding virus biology and diversity, virus-host molecular interactions in pathogenesis, as well as in the development of novel vaccines and diagnostics for control of avian diseases. I am particularly fascinated by the molecular mechanisms of induction of cancers by oncogenic viruses, in the events that lead to neoplastic transformation and in studying regulation of gene expression, both at genetic and epigenetic levels in cancer cells.
I am currently the Head of the Avian Viral Diseases programme at the Pirbright Institute, and also hold positions at Jenner Institute, Imperial College London, and the University of Liverpool. I am also a Member of the Oxford Interdisciplinary Bioscience Doctorate Training Partnership.
With the aim of developing international collaboration in the field of avian diseases, I have initiated the Global Alliance for Research on Avian Diseases (GARAD) network and opened a Joint UK-China Research Centre for Avian Disease in Shandong province in China. With the increasing interest in the diversity of viruses in bat populations and its similarities in birds, we have also recently initiated the Birds and Bats Network.