Scotland's Rural College
In broad terms, my research has always been aimed towards improving livestock productivity. This has ranged from my earlier research activities in cattle and pig fertility, then later moving into the prevention of infectious disease in livestock through vaccines.
My interests have always been at the applied end of the research spectrum and particularly in the translation of research into knowledge transfer and into products applicable at farm level.
In reproduction and fertility my interests have ranged from the improvement of pregnancy rates through the strategic treatment with hormones and recently have been involved in the development of the recombinant gonadotrophins follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinising hormone (LH) to improve fertility. For example, recombinant equine FSH has been used to induce earlier seasonal breeding in thoroughbred mares and recombinant bovine LH to enhance progesterone production and increase pregnancy rates in dairy cows.
I am currently working on the application of cow-side progesterone tests to the management of fertility in dairy cows and also their possible role on small dairy farms in developing countries.
I have also had a longstanding interest in approaches to immuno-contraception in farm livestock but also its potential use as a method of controlling populations of invasive mammalian species. I have worked with a number of charities to raise funds to progress this work.
My experience in the animal health industry in developing veterinary vaccines led to my working with a number of small start-up companies to help them research and find partners for, new vaccine products particularly new platform technologies. I became very involved with the charity the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines (GALVmed) which works to make vaccines available for livestock in developing countries and I have worked on vaccines for East Coast fever (theileriosis), Newcastle Disease, and porcine cysticercosis (Taenia solium) amongst others. I am now a board trustee for that organisation and a member of their Technical Advisory Committee. Similarly I am working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help develop potential strategies for the global control of Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR).