Scott Pirie


Accepting PhD Students

Personal profile


Scott graduated from the “Dick Vet” in 1989 and returned following a 2 year period in equine practice in Ireland. Following a spell in the University first opinion clinic, he joined the Equine Medicine department of the Equine Hospital. Throughout his career at the “Dick Vet”, Scott has undertaken both clinical and research activities; the latter including a 3 year PhD program investigating equine allergic airway disease and a 3 year research sabbatical studying Equine Grass Sickness. His clinical activities include all aspects of equine internal medicine, with a particular focus on equine respiratory and gastrointestinal disorders. He is a diplomat of the European College of Equine Internal Medicine (ECEIM) and recognised Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and European specialist in this field. He has published extensively in the clinical and scientific literature and his current research activities are focussed on equine grass sickness, post-operative ileus and innate immunity in the equine lung.

Current Research Interests

Aetiopathogenesis of equine airway disease and characterising the equine pulmonary innate immune response. Equine dysautonomia, primarily in relation to the investigation of aetiologic pathways.

Scotts currently active areas of reseach include the following:

(1) studies on equine grass sickness with a particular focus on the potential aetiological role of ingested pasture-derived mycotoxins;

(2) studies of the innate immunity of the equine airway, with a particular focus on the role of the alveolar macrophage in determining disease susceptibility;

(3) studies on the role of intestinal macrophage activation in the initiation and maintenance of gut motility disturbances following gastrointestinal surgery (post-operative ileus).

Research Groups

Studies on the equine airway innate immunity - David Hume's group (Developmental Biology Division)

Studies on the equine intestinal macrophage - David Hume's group (Developmental Biology Division) and Neil Mabbotts group (RI Neurobiology Division)

 Role of mycotoxins in Equine Grass Sickness - Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA)

Collaborative Activity

Current external collaborators include the following:

FERA (the role of mycotoxins in the aetiopathogenesis of Equine Grass Sickness);

University of Montreal, Cornell University and University of North Carolina (studies on post-operative ileus prevention and management strategies in North America).

Visiting and Research Positions

2003 to 2006 - Dubai Millennium Research Consortium Veterinarian, research activity at the Central Veterinary Research Laboratory, Dubia (6 months per year)

1998 to 2001 - PhD studies at University of Edinburgh

2009 - Clinical Research Associate of Roslin Institute

Research students

Anna Karagianni; Characterisation of the equine monocyte/macrophage. EBRC/Zoetis funded. 2010-2013. Principal co-supervisor. Period of study commenced October 2010 – concluded Sept 2014.

Dominique Lefebvre; Studies in equine postoperative ileus and colic. Self funded. 2014-2020. Co-supervisor. Period of study commenced April 2014. First University of Edinburgh distance PhD programme.

Zofia Lisowski; Targeting the macrophage and mast cell in equine postoperative ileus. Horserace Betting Levy Board funded. 2014-2017. Co-supervisor. Period of study commenced July 2014.

Carola Daniel; Design and validation of an ex vivo, whole-organ joint model using abattoir derived post mortem specimens. Period of study commenced July 2014.

Luanne Hunt; Do mycotoxigenic fungi cause equine grass sickness? Horse Trust funded. 2016-2020. Co-supervisor. Period of study commenced Dec 2016.

My research in a nutshell

My previous research activities have predominantly focussed on allergic lung disease in the horse and equine grass sickness. My currently active areas of research are focussed on innate immunity in the horse airway, potential aetiological factors in equine grass sickness and the role of inflammation in post-operative intestinal motility disturbance in the horse.



Year 4

- Equine

Year 5

- Final Year Rotations

- Student Selected Component 2

MSc Animal Bioscience

- Comparative Animal Models

MSc Equine Sceince

- Equine Digestion and Nutrition

Clinical Expertise and Specialisation

Recognised European and RCVS Specialist in Equine Internal Medicine

Clinical expertise in Equine Grass Sickness and equine pulmonology


Administrative Roles

Post-graduate research convenor for Clinical Division; School Postgraduate Support and Advisory Committee, School Postgraduate Studies Committee; University Animal Welfare and Ethics Committee, School Veterinary Ethical Review Committee, School Biosecurity and Infection Control Committee, School Career Development Committee, School Clinical Training Scholarship Committee, Equine Medicine, UG teaching staff, PG teaching staff, Student support (mentor), Admissions

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), THe role of inhaled endotoxin in the aetiopathogenesis of equine heaves, University of Edinburgh

Award Date: 1 Jan 2002

Bachelors in Veterinary Medicine & Surgery, University of Edinburgh

Award Date: 1 Jan 1989


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