My research project
Exploring the interferon system of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) for controlling Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus infections
Elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus haemorrhagic disease (EEHV-HD) is the single most significant cause of death in juvenile captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) and also impacts upon wild populations. The peracute onset of clinical signs often results in death due to hypovolaemic shock within days and the apparent lack of efficacy for currently applied antiviral treatments and the inability to culture EEHVs in vitro have hindered clinicians and virologists in their search for efficient prophylactic and therapeutic approaches. Both the innate and adaptive immune responses play a critical role in controlling herpesvirus infections and the interferon (IFN) system is increasingly being investigated in humans as an alternative to conventional therapies for a wide variety of viral diseases.
This project is the first to characterise the Asian elephant innate immune system and tests the hypothesis that EEHV infections are mediated in part by the IFN system. The application to the clinical setting remains the eventual goal.
BVetMed - Veterinary Medicine - Royal Veterinary College, 2011
MSc (Wild Animal Health) - Zoological Society of London & Royal Veterinary College, 2014