Edinburgh Research Explorer
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Phone: +44 (0)131 651 7463

Willingness to take PhD students: Yes

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), University of Edinburgh
Cellular immune responses of cattle to Escherichia coli O157:H7
Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine (Cambridge), University of Cambridge
An investigation into the relationship between early lactation milk composition and days from calving to first insemination and conception
Bachelor of Arts, University of Cambridge
Pharmacological investigation of ion channel function in the 9.5 day murine embryonic heart

Professional Qualifications

2016Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, FHEA
2015Official Veterinarian, OV
2012Member of the Royal Society of Biology, MRSB
2008Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, MRCVS

Current Research Interests

Clinical farm animal veterinary medicine

Population health and metabolic status

Immunology and vaccinology 

Zoonoses and antimicrobial resistance

Biography

Alex studied veterinary medicine at The University of Cambridge. He intercalated in Natural Sciences and after graduating in 2008, he worked as a farm animal vet in private practices in Northamptonshire, Shropshire/Cheshire and Lancashire. During his time in private practice, he also developed a number of web based herd health reporting tools to monitor milk quality and composition.

In 2012, Alex undertook a PhD at the Roslin and Moredun research institutes. His project was sponsored by Bioniche Life Sciences (Canada) as part of their public health vaccine programme to characterise the cellular immune response of cattle during Escherichia coli O157:H7 colonisation. He undertook an industrial secondment with Bioniche in 2014, where he learned about industrial vaccine development, Good Manufacturing Practice and the public health vaccine market.

He started working as a lecturer at the R(D)SVS in 2015 and now divides his time between clinical and teaching responsibilities in the Farm Animal Division and research in population health. He has a particular interest in zoonoses, antimicrobial resistance, immunology/vaccinology and metabolic status.

Research Interests

Our role as farm animal veterinary surgeons is to support the farming community to profitably produce food that is safe, in a manner that contributes positively to the environment and is respectful of animal welfare. Infectious diseases in farm animals have a substantial impact on productivity and welfare, whilst also acting as a source of infection for humans. In addition, the use of antibiotics to treat infectious diseases in farm animals is under intense scrutiny as a selector of antibiotic resistance genes in both veterinary and human pathogens.

My research aims to contribute to our ability to better control infectious diseases in farm animals. I am particularly interested in:

  • The interaction between metabolic status and immune function in livestock
  • How improved management and new technologies can be used to improve immune function and vaccine performance in farm animals
  • The quantitative assessment of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) genes in commercial production systems and how this information can inform best practice and policy
  • The control of zoonoses in livestock

During the COVID19 pandemic, I used my experience in population health and zoonoses to lead work to establish the surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in wastewater in Scotland.

Research Groups

David Gally

Tim Connelley

Jayne Hope

Ann Bruce

Collaborative Activity

Michael Hutchings (Scotland's Rural College)

Tom McNeilly (Moredun Research Institute)

Tom Preston (Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre)

Marie-Hélène Pinard (INRA)

Peers Davies (University of Liverpool)

Emoke Bendixen (University of Aarhus)

Jennifer Duncan (University of Liverpool)

Emily Gascoigne (Synergy Farm Health Ltd)

Fiona Lovatt (University of Nottingham)

Peter Down (University of Nottingham)

Kristen Rehyer (University of Bristol)

Andrew Singer (CEH)

Teaching

Year 1

Animal Husbandry

Year 3

Professional & Clinical Skills 3

Year 4

Farm Animal (Course Organiser), Professional & Clinical Skills 4

Year 5

Final Year Preparation, Final Year Rotations, Student Selected Component 2

All Years

Professional Development

SRC Projects

Biomedical Sciences

Diagnostics and Therapeutics for Infectious Diseases Honours Elective

MVetSci (online taught masters)

Recent Advances in Production Animal Practice

Mastitis

Administrative Roles

Production Animal

Dairy Herd Health and Productivity Service

School

Farm Animal Teaching, Student Support (PT), Admissions (MMIs), Infection Control Committee (Chair), Veterinary Ethics Review Committee, Year Director (4th Year)

Research activities & awards

  1. Responsible antibiotic use on beef farms

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesProfessional Development and Training

  2. IGMM 'Science Insights' Work Experience Programme

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesPublic Engagement – Schools engagement

  3. Ruminant Immunology Webinar

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesProfessional Development and Training

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