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Aviagen PhD Student Scoops Scholarship Award

by 5m Editor
20 December 2007, at 9:22am

UK - Gillian Hunter, BVMS, MS, MRCVS, a PhD student sponsored jointly by Aviagen and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has been given the Scholarship Award at the recent British Poultry Council Annual Awards Ceremony held at the House of Commons.

Gillian, a student at the Royal School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, won the award for her project investigating factors influencing tumour formation in Marek’s Disease Virus. This project is important to the poultry industry as Marek’s Disease has the potential to devastate the poultry industry worldwide if current vaccine control were ineffective. Over the past 20 years the virus has demonstrated its ability to mutate into increasingly virulent strains and it is expected at some point in the future to break through the current vaccine protection utilised by the poultry industry for control. A key to future control strategies is likely to be further understanding of the transformation from the latent to lytic state and identification of individual genes that can block this process.

Gillian Hunter with the Minister, Jonathan Shaw MP.

Bill Stanley, Aviagen’s Veterinary Health Director, commented: “In a period when research into poultry disease in the UK is at a relative low, it is encouraging to see work like this being done. The project will improve our understanding of Marek’s disease, and has the potential to provide alternative means of protection. I strongly believe that this award strengthens the recognition by the poultry industry of the value of this research. I hope this award encourages others to support projects that will build a stronger foundation for the prevention and control of diseases, such as Marek’s Disease, that represent a serious threat to the poultry industry.”

5m Editor