Edinburgh Research Explorer

Pip Beard

Group Leader / Senior Lecturer

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Phone: +44 (0)131 651 9234

Willingness to take PhD students: Yes

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), University of Edinburgh
Epidemiology and pathogenesis of paratuberculosis
1992Bachelor of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney
1998Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Moredun Research Institute

Professional Qualifications

Associate of Royal College of Pathologists
Diploma of Management
Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, MRCVS


I graduated from Sydney University Veterinary Faculty in 1997. After a year in mixed veterinary practice on the North York Moors I undertook a PhD at the Moredun Research Institute into the epidemiology and pathogenesis of paratuberculosis. After being awarded the degree I moved to Cornell University in upstate New York to work on the cleavage and packaging reaction of Herpes Simplex Virus 1. I was then awarded a prestigous Wellcome Trust Clinical Fellowship which allowed me to return to the UK to work at Imperial College, London, on the pathogenesis of poxviruses. In 2008 I worked as a specialist veterinary advisor for the Mongolian government. I was based at the State Central Veterinary Laboratory in Ulaanbaatar. In 2009 I took up a position as Career Track Fellow / Veterinary Pathologist at The Roslin Institute / Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies. I was awarded Associate status (by examination) of the Royal College of Pathologists in 2010. In 2015 I was promoted to Group Leader, and in 2016 to Senior Lecturer. In 2016 I accepted a joint Group Leader appointment between The Roslin Institute (20%) and The Pirbright Institute (80%). I am Head of the Large DNA Virus research group at The Pirbright Institute, focusing on viruses on veterinary importance such as lumpy skin disease and African swine fever. 

Current Research Interests

The pathogenesis of the highly specialised large DNA viruses which replicate in the cytoplasm of the cell

Research Interests

I hold a joint appointment between the Roslin Institute (20%) and the Pirbright Institute (80%). I lead a research team which investigates the pathogenesis of a particular group of large DNA viruses which replicate in the cytoplasm of the host cell. This specalised group includes poxviruses. My research can be split into three areas:

1. The pathogenesis of Vaccinia virus. Our work focuses on using Vaccinia virus, the prototype poxvirus, as a tool to learn more about cellular biology including miRNA biogenesis, anti-viral host responses and vesicle transport. We then extrapolate our findings to clinically relevant related viruses such as the capripoxviruses and African swine fever virus.

2. Capripoxviruses. The most important poxviruses of domestic ruminants are the three species of the Capripoxvirus (CPPV) genus which each cause severe systemic disease. Lumpy skin disease virus (LSDV) causes lumpy skin disease in cattle, Sheeppox virus (SPPV) causes sheeppox in sheep and Goatpox virus (GTPV) causes goatpox in goats. The three viruses are currently expanding beyond their traditional geographic niches in Africa and Asia. LSDV entered Europe for the first time in August 2015 and has since spread through the Balkans and Caucasus. It represents a rapidly emerging threat to cattle in Europe and Asia. Our group is studying the immunological response of livestock to infection with these viruses with the aim of producing better diagnosis and control tools. We are also studying the vector-borne transmission of LSDV in order to improve the current control, prevention and eradication programmes.

3. African swine fever virus.  This virus is closely related to poxviruses, sharing a number of biological features. It causes the high consequence, transboundary disease African swine fever. My group is collaborating with the Roslin groups of Bruce Whitelaw and Alan Archibald to develop new methods to control this disease.

In addition to my role as a PI I am a veterinary pathologist. I am consultant pathologist for research teams within The Roslin and Pirbright Institutes and externally.

Research students

PhD students:

Primary supervisor:

- Kate Harrison (2013-2016)

- Laura Dunn (2015-2019)

Secondary supervisor:

- Stephen Chiweshe (2012-2015)

- Niramol Juntaweing (2013-2016)

- David Walker (2013-2016)

MSc students:

- Danielle Reynolds (2012)

- Rebecca Featherstone (2013)

- Yunling Wang (2014)

- Ejovwoke Yomi-Onilude (2015)

- Jialin Hou (2015-2016)

Summer students:

- Alexandre Houzelle (2012)

- Neil Turnbull (2013)

- Alice Roche (2013)

- Amrita Mohanty (2011)

- Francesca Iwanyckyj (2015)

SSC2 students:

- Emily Thetford-Smith (2013)

- Catherine Ross (2012)

- Leilani Norden (2010)

Collaborative Activity

I have collaborated as a pathologist for the following research groups:

Andreas Lengeling (listeriosis)

Ross Fitzgerald (Staphlococcus)

Andrew McDonald (Schistomiasis)

David Hume (macrophage biology)

Kenny Baillie (genetic resistance to influenza infection)

Bernadette Dutia (influenza pathogenesis)

Megan Davey (developmental biology of chicken embryos)

Paul Digard (influenza pathogenesis)

Tom Burden (development of novel models of disease)

Peter Simmonds (influenza pathogenesis)

Paul Hocking (mineral deficiencies in avain species)

Barry McColl (neurobiology)

Colin Farquharson (bone metabolism)

Jean Manson (neurobiology)

Bruce Whitelaw (genetically modified models


I lecture on virology and pathology in the following courses:

University of Edinburgh:

  • BVM&S Animal Body II
  • BVM&S Veterinary Professional skills
  • MSc One Health

University of Surrey:

  • MSc Veterinary Microbiology
  • BVMSci Poxviruses

Vaccinology in Africa

  • Capripoxviruses
  • African swine fever

Administrative Roles


Bachelor of Veterinary Science, first class honours (University of Sydney 1996)

PhD in Veterinary Pathology (University of Edinburgh 2001)

Diploma of Management (Chartered Institute of Management 2006)

Research activities & awards

  1. Lauder Primary School Science Club

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

  2. Careers in Science for Abbotsleigh School for Girls

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

  3. Primary and early secondary years initiative

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

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