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Keynote Speakers

Ian Brown

Ian Brown

Professor Ian Brown is Head of Virology at Animal and Plant Health Agency - Weybridge and Director of EU/OIE/FAO International Reference Laboratories for Avian Influenza, Newcastle Disease and Swine Influenza. Ian is the UK national expert on Avian Influenza.

Ian is a founder member of the OFFLU Laboratory Network and has taken the lead on a number of key international issues related to the work of this group both on the avian and swine subgroups. He provides a broad range of disease consultancy at both national and international level on all the aforementioned diseases, specialising in laboratory application as relevant to disease control. His specific research interests include the epidemiology, pathogenicity, transmission and infection dynamics in relation to the control of influenza in animal hosts. Ian gained his PhD on ‘Epizootiology of influenza in pigs in Great Britain with emphasis on characterisation of viruses isolated since 1986’.

Ian holds a visiting Professorship position in Avian Virology at the University of Nottingham.

Michel Bublot Pic

Michel Bublot

Michel Bublot is a veterinarian (1984) with a PhD in Virology (1991) from University of Liège (Belgium). He has been working for Rhône-Mérieux, Merial and now, Boehringer Ingelheim R&D for more than 24 years. He spent 3 years (1997-2000) at Virogenetics Inc. (Albany, NY, USA) to coordinate a research team designing new veterinary vector vaccine candidates. His research work lead to the generation of HVT-vectored IBD and ND vaccines that were later licensed in 2002 and 2016, respectively. His current position is R&D Project Leader in the avian franchise and he is based in Lyon in France. He is leading several R&D projects aiming to generate new biotechnology vaccines against major avian diseases. He is the author of numerous scientific publications and inventor in several patents.

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Marian Stamp Dawkins

Marian Stamp Dawkins CBE FRS is Professor of Animal Behaviour in the Department of Zoology at the University of Oxford and has been involved in research on farm animal welfare, particularly that of poultry, for many years. She is the author of Animal Suffering: the Science of Animal Welfare (1980), Through Our Eyes Only? The Search for Animal Consciousness (1993) and Why Animals Matter: Animal Consciousness, Animal Welfare and Human Well-Being (2012).  She has also co-authored (with Aubrey Manning) An Introduction to Animal Behaviour (2012).  She has worked extensively with commercial poultry producers in the UK, Europe and the US and has a particular interest in the commercial applications of welfare research. 

Joanne Devlin

Joanne Devlin

Associate Professor Joanne Devlin is a 2001 veterinary graduate from The University of Sydney. She worked in private veterinary practice in Victoria, Australia, before starting a PhD in Veterinary Virology at The University of Melbourne in 2003. After completing her PhD she has held research and teaching positions at The University of Melbourne. Her research investigates the pathogenesis of a range of veterinary infectious diseases and she has a particular interest in vaccine development and disease control. Her primary research focus is on animal herpesviruses, particularly avian infectious laryngotracheitis virus (ILTV), an important cause of respiratory disease in poultry worldwide. Her research interests in this area extends from applied research, including ILTV vaccine development and testing, to basic research, including genome evolution and the characterisation of ILTV proteins. She was awarded an Australian Research Council (ARC) Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2008 and an ARC Future Fellowship in 2014. She currently works in the Asia Pacific Centre for Animal Health, within the Melbourne Veterinary School, in the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences at The University of Melbourne.

Anneke Feberwee

Anneke Feberwee

Dr. A. Feberwee obtained a Doctor in Veterinary Medicine degree at Utrecht University in 1992. She finished her PhD thesis entitled: ‘Detection and epidemiology of M. gallisepticum and M. synoviae in 2006. In 2009 she became De facto recognized Specialist in Poultry Veterinary Science appointed by the European College of Poultry Veterinary Science.

She has been employed at GD – Animal Health Service in Deventer (formerly Poultry Health Centre Doorn) from 1996 until present. From 1996 onwards, she has been working a on the area of diagnostic Field and Disease control including the organized control of Salmonella and Mycoplasma and is as a scientist dedicated to applied research concerning various aspects of poultry health amongst which: Salmonella in chickens, Mycoplasma synoviae and M. gallisepticum infections in chickens and turkeys, Brachyspira infections in poultry, etc..

In 2011 she received the Bart Rispens Memorial Award for the most outstanding scientific publication in Avian Pathology during the years 2009 and 2010. 

Mark Jackwood Photo

Mark Jackwood

Dr. Mark W. Jackwood is the J. R. Glisson Professor of Avian Medicine and Head of the Department of Population Health in the College of Veterinary Medicine, at the Poultry Diagnostic and Research Center, University of Georgia, Athens GA. He earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees at the University of Delaware, and his Ph.D. degree in the Department of Poultry Science at The Ohio State University.

Dr. Jackwood is a Molecular Virologist and his primary area of research is the study of respiratory viruses particularly avian coronaviruses, infectious bronchitis virus and avian influenza virus. Dr. Jackwood’s work involves the use of molecular techniques for the identification, characterization, and control of those viruses. He also studies genetic diversity, mutation rates, and evolutionary trends among coronaviruses to elucidate mechanisms that can lead to the emergence of new viruses capable of causing diseases in animals and humans.

Mike Kogut

Mike Kogut

Dr. Kogut is a Research Microbiologist and Lead Scientist within the Food and Feed Safety research Unit at the Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center, College Station, TX, USA.

Dr. Kogut’s research is centered on alternatives to antibiotics to control disease and increase production; specifically the development of cost-effective, pre-harvest immunological interventions to improve gut health by studying the role of the microbiota in immunity to infection; the role of dietary metabolites in promoting immune regulation and immune responses to pathogens; tissue specific regulatory responses to infection; characterizing novel molecular targets that mediate the actions of dietary compounds and botanicals in inflammation and immunity; investigating how diet modulates the gut microbiome and mucosal immune responses; and understanding the integration of central metabolic pathways and nutrient sensing with antibacterial immunity and how it alters cellular energy homeostasis and contributes to the prevention or resolution of infectious diseases.

Susan Lamont

Susan Lamont

Susan J. (“Sue”) Lamont has been a faculty member in the department of Animal Science at Iowa State University for over 30 year, and is currently a C.F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor. She leads an active research program with an emphasis on determining the molecular genetic control of important biological traits of poultry, especially those related to host response to infectious disease and environmental stressors. She enjoys extensive national and global research collaborations. Sue has published over 200 peer-reviewed journal papers and invited book chapters. She often serves her profession on journal editorial boards, international scientific conference organization and research grant review panels. She is very engaged in education of Ph.D. and postdoctoral students, and teaches three graduate-level courses. Sue also has extensive administrative experience, including terms as the chair of her department, the assistant director of research for her college, and the Equity Advisor for her college. Sue has won numerous awards including the Helene Cecil Leadership Award, the Embrex-Pfizer Fundamental Science Award and the Merck Award for Achievement from the Poultry Science Association. She is an elected Fellow of both the Poultry Science Association and of the International Society of Animal Genetics.

William Lee

William Lee

William Lee received his M.Sc. in Quantitative Genetics Applied to Animal Breeding from the University of Guelph in 1990 while employed by the Shaver Poultry Breeding Farms in Canada. Since then he has worked for a number of broiler chicken primary breeders in the United States, including Avian Farms International, Cobb-Vantress, and Hubbard Farms as a Geneticist concentrating on improving broiler chicken meat yield and feed efficiency. Most recently, William served as Director of Genetics for the primary breeder division of Perdue Farms in Salisbury Maryland.

Since joining Maple Leaf Farms in Indiana in 2014, Mr. Lee has been working on applying technologies and strategies developed for broiler breeding to the meat duck primary breeding program while simultaneously adapting to the unique challenges of the Pekin duck. 

Robert Moore

Robert Moore

Professor Moore graduated from Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, in 1978 and completed his PhD there in 1982. After post-doctoral fellowships in Edinburgh and London, he returned to Australia to work in R&D at Coopers Animal Health for 8 years. He then moved to CSIRO, the Australian government research institute, to head a host-pathogen research group. In 2015 he moved to RMIT University (Melbourne, Australia) to establish the Host-Microbe Interactions Laboratory, a molecular microbiology group that studies bacterial pathogens of animals. The group undertakes research aimed at understanding pathogenesis and develops vaccines and other therapeutic approaches to disease control. The group also has a major interest in studying the role of gut microbiota in the health and productivity of poultry. Rob is also an Adjunct Professor in the Microbiology Department of Monash University. He has published >100 peer reviewed papers and is an inventor on 10 patents.

Venugopal Nair photo

Venugopal Nair

Venugopal Nair is the Head of the Viral oncogenesis group at the Pirbright Institute. He obtained his Ph.D. in Veterinary Medicine from India.  After 6 years postdoctoral research initially at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and later at the Institute of Virology, Oxford, he joined the Pirbright Institute to carry out research on avian oncogenic viruses. His group has carried out extensive research into the molecular mechanisms of virus-induced cancers to gain insights into the viral gene functions and their interactions with the host cell in driving neoplastic transformation. His research interests on viral diversity and evolution of virulence has demonstrated the potential role of vaccines in driving virulence.

Prof. Nair also holds honorary positions as Visiting Professor in Avian Virology at the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Visiting Professor, Department of Virology, Imperial College London, United Kingdom, Investigator, Jenner Institute, Oxford, Honorary Professor, Infection Biology, University of Liverpool, and Visiting Professor, Shandong-Binzhou Animal Science & Veterinary Medicine Academy, Binzhou, China. Prof. Nair is also a Royal Society International Professor.

Prof. Nair was admitted Hall of Honour, World Veterinary Poultry Association in 2013 and awarded OBE by the Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in 2015.

Abdul Rahman Omar

Abdul Rahman Omar

Dr AR Omar (ARO), obtained his DVM from Universiti Pertanian Malaysia (UPM), Malaysia in 1991 and PhD in Cellular Immunology from Cornell University, the USA in 1997. Upon completion his PhD, he joined the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, UPM as a lecturer and was promoted to Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases in 2008. He was also the Deputy Director of Institute Bioscience (IBS) at UPM from 2006 until 2011. In June 2011, he was promoted to Director of IBS.  In 2010, one of the labs at IBS, Laboratory of Vaccine and Immunotherapeutics was named the Centre of Excellence in Animal Vaccines and Therapeutics by Ministry of Higher Education, Government of Malaysia.  His research interest is in using biotechnology and immunogenomics approaches in the development of diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics against poultry diseases. He has more than 15 years of experience in virology and molecular biology of avian viruses such as NDV, AIV, IBDV, IBV and CAV.  

Vilmos Palya

Vilmos Palya

Doctor in Veterinary Medicine graduated in 1966 at the University of Veterinary Science, Budapest, Hungary. In 1973 he obtained a Post-graduate diploma in Microbiology and Diseases of Cattle at the same University. In 2007 he was recognised as Honorary Professor by the Faculty of Veterinary Science of St. Steve University of Agriculture, Hungary.

Present position: Director of Scientific Support and Investigation Unit, Ceva-Phylaxia Veterinary Biologicals Co.,  Szallas u.5., 1107-Budapest, Hungary 

Key qualifications:  Extensive experience in various positions related to laboratory management and animal diseases control over a 50 years career. Working more than 30 years in the field of poultry diseases diagnostics and research. Substantial experience in setting up diagnostic laboratory for animal diseases in Europe, Asia and Africa, and training professional staff in laboratory techniques and disease control methods. Extensive research and several publications on IBD, ND, IB, fowl adenoviruses (IBH), avian meta-pneumovirus, avian reoviruses and waterfowl parvoviruses. During the last two decades working primarily in the field of vaccinology to improve conventional vaccines and develop new generation of vaccines (recombinant HVT-ND and HVT-AI) for the control of major viral poultry diseases. During the 80’s and 90’s working as UN/FAO vaccine expert in several African, Middle East and Asian countries to support global and national disease control/eradication programmes (e.g., Rinderpest, CBPP, Newcastle disease).

He has published over 90 peer reviewed articles, giving numerous presentations and preparing consultancy reports.

Membership of professional bodies: Hungarian Society of Veterinarian (Poultry Diseases Section), Hungarian Society of Microbiology, World Veterinary Poultry Association, American Association of Avian Pathologists, Society of General Microbiology, International Association of Biological Standardisation.

Dr Alessandra Piccirillo

Alessandra Piccirillo

Dr Alessandra Piccirillo (DVM, PhD, Dipl. ECPVS) graduated in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Naples “Federico II”, Italy in 1994 and did her PhD and postdoctoral fellowship at the same University. Since 2002, she is assistant professor at the Department of Comparative Biomedicine and Food Science, University of Padua, Italy. She specialized in Poultry Husbandry and Disease in 2008 and is also a Diplomate of the European College of Poultry Veterinary Science (2015). She has served as secretary the Italian Branch of WVPA from 2010 to 2013. She is lecturer of the Avian Pathology course for the Veterinary Medicine School at the University of Padua and her main research interests include Campylobacter and antimicrobial resistance in poultry. 

Joan Smyth

Joan Smyth

Dr Joan Smyth, a veterinary graduate from University College Dublin, Ireland is a veterinary pathologist with 35 years experience performing diagnostic and research autopsies and histopathology, gained during over 20 years at the Veterinary Sciences Division, Belfast, N. Ireland, and in the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (CVMDL), USA since 2005. Experienced with disease problems in all animal species, she has a particular interest and specialist skills in diseases of poultry. She has researched several poultry disease problems, including EDS’76, enteroviruses, reoviruses, chicken anaemia virus, and more recently, necrotic enteritis caused by Clostridium perfringens. She was an Editor with the journal Avian Pathology, for 13 years, and was chairperson/member respectively of separate EU COST Actions on  “Immunosuppressive viral diseases of  poultry” and on “Genus: Clostridium”. She is a Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Pathologists, undergoing reaccreditation every 5 years. She has published 100 peer reviewed articles in scientific journals, and has written reviews and book chapters. She is currently the Director of the CVMDL, which is fully accredited by the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians, and which has a long established residency training program in Veterinary Anatomic Pathology and registered with the American  College of  Veterinary  Pathologists.. 

Mark Stevens high resolution photo

Mark Stevens

Professor Mark Stevens is Chair of Microbial Pathogenesis and Research Director at The Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh. His laboratory studies Salmonella, E. coli and Campylobacter infections in food-producing animals, with emphasis on the host and bacterial factors influencing persistence, pathogenesis and protection. In particular, he has used novel genetic approaches and farm animal models to identify bacterial virulence factors with minimal animal use. In collaboration, he has also studied the basis of host resistance to avian and zoonotic pathogens, both via genome-wide association studies to guide selective breeding and by analysis of host immune responses associated with natural and vaccine-mediated protection. He previously led the Enteric Bacterial Pathogens Laboratory at the Institute for Animal Health (2005-2011) and prior to that studied the molecular basis of virulence of E. coli O157 and influenza virus as a postdoctoral fellow. He obtained his Ph.D in 1996 on transcriptional control of capsule expression in pathogenic E. coli. His research has provided valuable information for the design of strategies to control avian and zoonotic diseases and was recognised by the award to the 2007 Intervet Dieter Lutticken prize for research that has advanced the 3Rs in the development of veterinary medicines. 

Hannes Swart

Hannes Swart

Dr Hannes Swart qualified as veterinarian in 1987 and then spent 2 years at the virology section of the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute as research veterinarian. In July 1989 he joined Golden Lay Farms, a major commercial layer operation, as veterinarian. He was responsible for the total health management of the company’s poultry flocks, running of a support laboratory for diagnostic and monitoring procedures as well as the production of specialised inactivated vaccines. During this period he furthered his studies in poultry health at the University of Pretoria.

He was instrumental in a management buy-out of the Golden Lay laboratory to establish Avimune in January 1995. Hannes was the Managing Director of Avimune until July 2005 when it was decided to separate Avimune into two companies, namely Avimune, comprising poultry health specialist veterinarians, and Deltamune, comprising the ISO 17025 accredited test laboratories and animal health products divisions. Hannes served as CEO of Deltamune until December 2014, when he resigned from the company. He was chairman of LOC of the WVPAC2015 and is actively involved in poultry industry bodies in South Africa. He is currently part of the Avimune team, consulting in the poultry industry. 

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Fiona Tomley

Fiona is Professor of Experimental Parasitology at the Royal Veterinary College, University of London.  She did a BSc (Microbiology) and PhD (Virology) at Manchester University followed by four years of post-doctoral virology at Cambridge University.  In 1984, Fiona joined the Houghton Poultry Research Station (later the Institute for Animal Health) to develop fowlpoxvirus as a replicating vaccine vector for important viral diseases of chickens including infectious bronchitis and Newcastle Disease. 

Since the late 1980's Fiona moved away from virology to work on protozoa (Eimeria species) of poultry. Her research aims to understand the interaction of parasites with host cells leading to better coccidiosis control through vaccination.  Much work has focused on molecular mechanisms of parasite invasion and characterisation of proteins that contribute to this process, several of which show efficacy as immunoprotective vaccine antigens. Fiona has been a pioneer of Eimeria genomics, proteomics and transfection research for almost two decades and with colleagues at RVC (particularly Professor Damer Blake) she continues to improved methods for making transgenic Eimeria parasites that can serve as oral vectors for multivalent poultry vaccines.  Other recent projects include work on Eimeria population diversity that can predict likely genetic selection in the field following the introduction of subunit or vectored-vaccines; identifying phenotypic and genotypic markers of differential chicken responses to Eimeria; and the impact of coccidiosis on chicken gut microbiomes. Recently Fiona and the RVC group has initiated new research into the poultry red mite, Dermanyssus gallinae, an emerging ectoparasite that causes severe welfare and economic problems in laying hens throughout Europe.