Adrian Philbey


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Personal profile

Current Research Interests

Emerging infectious diseases of domestic animals and wildlife, canine adenovirus in red foxes and dogs, salmonellosis in dogs and cats, staphylococcal infections of dogs and cats, yersiniosis in domestic and zoo animals, viral pathogenesis and oncogenesis.


Dr Adrian W. Philbey BVSc(Hon) PhD FRCPath MANZCVS(Path) CertProdAnimPath FHEA MRCVS

Adrian is a Senior Lecturer in Veterinary Pathology at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh.

He has a strong interest in the pathology of domestic animals and wildlife and is particularly interested in emerging infectious diseases, zoonotic diseases and cross-species transmission of infectious diseases. He is also interested in oncogenic viruses and mechanisms of oncogenesis, including tumour clonality. Other interests include alimentary, endocrine, renal and respiratory pathology, along with neuropathology, in domestic animals. Adrian is interested in infectious disease of red foxes, including canine adenovirus type 1 and Angiostrongylus vasorum, Borrelia burgdorferi and parasites in hedgehogs, salmonellosis in dogs, cats and garden birds, Staphylococcus pseudintermedius in dogs and cats, and Yersinia spp. in domestic and zoo animals. Currently, Adrian is involved in diagnostic pathology in a wide range of veterinary species, with a special interest in wildlife pathology, including otters, foxes and hedgehogs.

Adrian was born in New Zealand and grew up in Australia, where he attended James Ruse Agricultural High School. He completed a Bachelor of Veterinary Science degree at the University of Sydney, Australia, in 1986, graduating with First Class Honours and the University Medal. He was the recipient of the Australian Veterinary Association Prize for Veterinary Pathology, H.C. Moulder Prize for Veterinary Microbiology, Baker and Ridley Memorial Prize for Animal Husbandry, Australian Women's Veterinary Auxiliary New South Wales Division Prize in Veterinary Clinical Pathology, Jack Moran Prize in Meat Inspection, S.T.D. Symons Prize for Clinical Subjects and Beri Sinkovic Poultry Medicine Prize.

After graduating, Adrian joined the New South Wales (NSW) Department of Agriculture and initially worked as a Veterinary Officer in western NSW at the Rangeland Management Research and Advisory Unit, Cobar, investigating infectious diseases, plant poisonings and reproductive performance in sheep and cattle. He then worked as a Veterinary Research Officer and diagnostic veterinary pathologist at the Regional Veterinary Laboratory, Wagga Wagga, investigating a wide range of diseases in sheep, cattle, pigs, poultry, fish and wildlife. This included studies on yersiniosis in sheep, Histophilus somni in sheep, epizootic haematopoietic necrosis virus in rainbow trout, spironucleosis in king parrots and plant toxicities in sheep. He also conducted research on internal parasites and mastitis of dairy sheep at Leeton Field Station.

Adrian then moved to Scotland and undertook postgraduate research in molecular virology at the Leukaemia Research Fund Virus Centre at the University of Glasgow. The title of his PhD thesis was “The involvement of retroviruses in human T cell leukaemias and lymphomas”.

Adrian returned to Australia to work as a Veterinary Research Officer with the NSW Department of Agriculture at the Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute, Menangle. During this time, he was involved in diagnostic veterinary virology and pathology, and conducted research on viral haemorrhagic disease of rabbits, orf virus vaccines, bovine viral diarrhoea virus (pestivirus) vaccines and blindness in kangaroos due to Wallal virus. Adrian was part of the team that discovered Menangle virus in pigs, humans and flying foxes, and was awarded the Australian Veterinary Association Seddon Prize for this work.

After relocating to the United Kingdom in 2000, Adrian worked as a research scientist and molecular virologist at Moredun Research Institute, Edinburgh, for 2 years, studying jaagsiekte sheep retrovirus, the cause of a contagious lung tumour in sheep. He moved to the University of Glasgow Veterinary School in 2002, initially as a Lecturer in Veterinary Pathology, then Senior Lecturer in Veterinary Pathology. He was Director of Veterinary Diagnostic Services for 7 years and Academic Head of the Histopathology Laboratory. During this time, Adrian studied a wide range of diseases in domestic animals and wildlife, including infectious canine hepatitis and leptospirosis in foxes, salmonellosis in dogs, cats and garden birds, nephrosclerosis in calves and mammary tumours in dogs and cats. He established the Scottish otter mortality study in 2008 in collaboration with the International Union for Conservation of Nature Otter Group, International Otter Survival Fund and Scottish Natural Heritage.

Adrian was seconded part time as a Veterinary Investigation Officer with the Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) at the Veterinary Disease Surveillance Centre in Auchincruive, Ayrshire, from March to June 2011. He was Senior Veterinary Pathologist and Laboratory Leader of the State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at the Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute, Menangle, NSW, Australia, from July 2011 to June 2012. Adrian took up his current post as Senior Lecturer in Veterinary Pathology at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Edinburgh, in July 2012.

Adrian attained Membership of the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists (now Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists) by examination in Veterinary Pathology in 1991. He became a Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Registered Specialist in Veterinary Pathology in 2015.

Adrian has been Secretary of the University of Sydney Veterinary Students’ Society, Secretary of the Riverine Branch of the Australian Veterinary Association, Secretary of the New South Wales Division of the Australian Veterinary Association and Secretary of the Association for Veterinary Teaching and Research Work in the United Kingdom, as well as a local coordinator for the British Society of Veterinary Pathology. He was an External Examiner at the Royal Veterinary College, London, from 2007 to 2012, at the University of Edinburgh from 2009 to 2010, at the University of Cambridge from 2012 to 2016 and at the University of Liverpool from 2012 to 2016. Adrian was a member of the Sub-Committee on Animal Health Laboratory Standards and the Management Committee of the Australian Animal Pathology Standards Program from 2011 to 2012.

In 2009, Adrian presented courses on respiratory pathology of dogs and cats and endocrine pathology, and co-organised an immunohistochemistry course, for the British Society of Veterinary Pathology. In 2011, he participated in the Training Programme for the Certificate in Production Animal Pathology for Field Veterinarians coordinated by the University of Sydney, Charles Sturt University, NSW Department of Primary Industries and NSW Livestock Health and Pest Authorities.

Adrian was appointed a Clinical Research Associate of the Roslin Institute in 2013. He was a Scientific Associate of Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia, from 2013 to 2015.

Adrian has been an Editor of The Veterinary Journal since 2006 and was appointed joint Editor-in-Chief in 2016. The Veterinary Journal is an international journal of veterinary research that was established in 1875 and has a current Impact Factor of 1.680 (2015 ISI Journal Citation Reports).

Adrian’s current research interests include infectious diseases of red foxes, pathogenesis of adenoviral infections and yersiniosis in domestic and zoo animals.

He has an interest in investigating tumour clonality and developing animal models of necrotising enterocolitis.


Year 2

The Animal Body 4


Year GEP

The Animal Body


Year 3

Veterinary Pathology


Year 4

Veterinary Public Health


Year 5

Final Year Rotations, Student Selected Component 2


Adrian is involved in teaching practical classes in anatomy and histology to first and second year students, and graduate entry programme students, along with lecturing and teaching practical classes in veterinary pathology to third year veterinary students, at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, including alimentary, liver, pancreatic, endocrine and reproductive pathology.


He supervises final year veterinary students at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies during their veterinary pathology rotation, including autopsies, histopathology sessions, project presentations and tutorials.


Adrian has lectured on emerging infectious diseases for the One Health Master’s course and final year veterinary student electives at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.


He acts as a personal Tutor for veterinary students at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.


Adrian contributes to gross pathology presentations for academic and postgraduate staff at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.


Adrian supervise students and is Chair of the Board of Examiners for the Student Selected Component 2 (SSC2) Course at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.


Research students

David Walker

Epidemiology and pathogenesis of infectious canine hepatitis in red foxes

Administrative Roles

EBP Academic Staff, UG teaching staff

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), The involvement of retroviruses in human T cell leukaemias and lymphomas, University of Glasgow

Award Date: 1 Jan 2003

Bachelor of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney

Award Date: 1 Jan 1986


  • QR355 Virology
  • Veterinary Virology
  • Veterinary Bacteriology
  • RB Pathology
  • Veterinary Pathology


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