Professor Fiona Tomley
Fiona is Professor of Experimental Parasitology and Head of the Department of Pathology and Pathogen Biology at the Royal Veterinary College, University of London. She has experience in veterinary immunology and vaccinology for both viruses and protozoan parasites, and continues to be interested in the development of novel vaccines infectious diseases of poultry.
Fiona's research aims to understand the interaction of Eimeria parasites with the chicken in order to develop better control through vaccination. Much of her research has focused on the molecular mechanisms of parasite invasion and the characterisation of classes of proteins, derived from different parasite subcellular compartments (parasite surface and secretory organelles), involved in the process. Several have been evaluated as potential vaccine antigens in chickens. She has been involved in studies on the cellular invasion of related apicomplexan protozoan parasites through collaboration with a number of other laboratories. Together with Dr Damer Blake at the RVC, she is integrating studies on Eimeria population diversity to predict the likely responses of parasites in the field to the introduction of subunit or vectored-vaccines, and is developing the use of Eimeria parasites as novel vaccine vectors for poultry with support from BBSRC and industry. More recently the group has begun to work on the poultry red mite, Dermanyssus gallinae, an emerging ectoparasitic disease that is causing severe welfare problems in laying hens throughout Europe.