Roslin Institute professor of virology John Fazakerley will leave the University of Edinburgh in June to take on the role of director of the Institute for Animal Health (IAH) in Pirbright.

Roslin Institute professor of virology John Fazakerley will leave the University of Edinburgh in June to take on the role of director of the Institute for Animal Health (IAH) in Pirbright.

Prof Fazakerley succeeds Martin Shirley, who retired as IAH director last October. David Paton has fulfilled the role of acting director in the interim.

Prof John Fazakerley to take on the role of director of the Institute for Animal Health.Joe Brownlie, chair of the IAH board of trustees, said: “With John Fazakerley, the IAH is getting a director with a fine understanding of animal viruses combined with a track record of working in world leading institutions and new laboratory developments. I look forward to working with him in the coming months and years.”

Prof Fazakerley studied animal and plant physiology at Durham University before completing a PhD in arbovirus encephalitis at St Thomas’ Hospital Medical School. He then undertook postdoctoral research into bunyaviruses at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School and subsequently worked on arenaviruses and coronaviruses at Scripps Research Institute.

After returning to the UK, Prof Fazakerley established a research group on virus pathogenesis at the University of Cambridge‘s Department of Pathology and, in 1994, moved to the University of Edinburgh. He became head of the Roslin arbovirus group when the institute joined the University of Edinburgh in 2009.

Commenting on his appointment, Prof Fazakerley said: “I am delighted to be joining IAH as its new director. The Institute has a distinguished international reputation for its work on virus infections of animals and it has many world-leading researchers. IAH scientists have played a key role in a number of important achievements including the development of new vaccines for economically devastating diseases and the elimination of rinderpest.”

He added: “Institute scientists provide important expert advice to policymakers during disease outbreaks. For example, scientists working at IAH predicted the spread of bluetongue to the UK in 2007, which informed a surveillance and vaccination campaign that probably saved the UK economy around £500 million.”

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