Edinburgh Research Explorer

Prof Elizabeth Glass

Personal Chair of Veterinary Immunogenetics

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Phone: + 44 (0)131 651 9243

Education / Academic qualification

1981Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), University of Edinburgh
“Studies on mononuclear phagocyte receptors”
1976Bachelor of Science, University of Edinburgh

Current Research Interests

Immunogenetics and functional genomics of disease resistance and immune responsiveness traits in livestock species.

Research Interests

The main aim of the Liz Glass lab is to improve the ability of livestock to withstand infection with pathogens by breeding more disease resistant livestock and by improving vaccine efficacy.  The group is focusing on early host-pathogen interactions as these likely determine the outcome of exposure to pathogens and vaccines, leading to protection or pathology. Currently the research team is mainly focusing on bovine tuberculosis (bTB) caused by the bacterium, Mycobacterium bovis, which resides within host bovine macrophages. Approaches include transcriptomics and functional assays to uncover the cellular and molecular pathways induced by infection in vitro.  Understanding their relationship to variable outcomes in vivo, could identify novel innate immune correlates of protection and thus aid the design of more effective vaccines. The group is also exploring the genetic basis of variation in the host’s response to infection by locating the genes involved, through SNP based whole genome association studies.  Understanding how variation in genes controlling immunity impacts on infection could identify new ways to direct the immune response for more robust host defence.

By identifying genetic markers of resistance and susceptibility, this translational research has the potential to impact on livestock breeding decisions to reduce the risk of individual animals contracting infections.  The research may also provide new avenues to modulate and direct immunity and thus influence vaccine design.

The research is funded mainly by the BBSRC and various industry sponsors.


Professor Glass gained a BSc in Biochemistry, followed by a PhD on the biology of macrophage receptors from the University of Edinburgh. She was awarded a Research Fellowship from the British Diabetic Association to investigate the role of macrophage receptors in diabetes.  She then went to the BBSRC Roslin Institute to research the role of bovine MHC in variable immune responses to antigens and pathogens.  She joined the University of Edinburgh in 2007, where she now holds a chair in Veterinary Immunogenetics running a group focused on genetic variation across the genome and its impact on infectious diseases of livestock.

Professor Glass currently leads research projects on topics that include the role of host genetics on vaccine responsiveness and resistance to pathogens that invade macrophages.

Her research has highlighted how comparative genomic approaches can shed new light on the co-evolution of host and pathogen.

She has published more than 130 papers and has been successful in winning many grants from the BBSRC, EU, Wellcome Trust and industry.

Collaborative Activity

Jayne Hope
Jo Stevens

David Gally

Georgios Banos

John Woolliams


Gary Entrican, Moredun Research Institute

Mike Coffey, SRUC

Brian Shiels, University of Glasgow

John Hammond, Pirbright Institute





Administrative Roles


I am a tutor for the Undergraduate Course: Clinical Immunology & Haematology 3A (MSBM09005) in the Deanery of Biomedical Sciences: Medical Sciences (Biomedical Sciences).

In addition I have supervised M.Sc. and PhD students, and currently have two PhD students in my group.

Research activities & awards

  1. Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology

    Activity: Editorial work or peer review of publicationsEditorial activity

  2. Gene study paves the way to breed more TB-resistant cows

    Activity: Public engagement and outreachMedia article or participation

  3. 10th International Veterinary Immunology Symposium

    Activity: Participation in conference, seminar or training courseParticipation in conference

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