My research project
I am a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council CASE PhD student based at The Pirbright Institute (TPI), a University partner. At TPI I am in the Entomology group investigating behavioural and immunological control of Culicoides biting midges in the United Kingdom. These tiny biting flies are the biological vectors of several important arboviruses of ruminants, notably bluetongue virus and Schmallenberg virus, and my project focuses on reducing the transmission of these arboviruses in economically viable ways.
The investigations encompass two important aspects of Culicoides population control; the use of vector-proof housing and also immunological approaches targeting insect salivary proteins. The studies involving Culicoides salivary proteins is in collaboration with the Orbivirus research group, supervised by Karin Darpel. As part of her PhD, Laura will also be working with her industrial partner APS Biocontrol inDundee under the supervision of Alison Blackwell.
I am a PGR Demonstrator on a range of Veterinary and Biosciences practicals, but mainly those that focus on Microbiology, Virology and Immunology