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Researcher honoured for work on cattle disease

Roslin scientist awarded inaugural RCVS Knowledge Plowright Prize for research to combat East Coast Fever.

Prof Ivan Morrison
Professor Ivan Morrison will use his award to further research towards a vaccine.

Professor Ivan Morrison of the Roslin Institute has been named the winner of the first Plowright Prize from RCVS Knowledge in recognition of his research into the cattle disease East Coast Fever.

The Professor of Immunology plans to use the £75,000 Plowright Prize funding to advance his current research towards creating a cost-effective vaccine for the condition.

This would aid efforts to control the infectious disease, also known as theileriosis, which is caused by the parasite Theileria parva.

The disease kills more than one million cattle each year and is a major economic burden on livestock farmers in low- and middle-income communities including in sub-Saharan Africa.

Vaccine efforts

Professor Morrison’s current research focuses on modifying T. parva-infected cells to render them capable of fusion to other bovine cells, allowing them to be used for development of a novel vaccine for East Coast Fever.

The biennial RCVS Knowledge Plowright Prize recognises individuals working in Europe or the Commonwealth who have made significant contributions to the control, management and eradication of infectious diseases.

The award is made in memory of Walter Plowright, an eminent veterinary virologist, and his wife Dorothy.

The judging panel was unanimous in support of Professor Morrison’s nomination for the award.

It is a great honour to receive the inaugural RCVS Knowledge Plowright Prize. I am particularly humbled that it is awarded in memory of Walter Plowright. The funds will advance my current research on Theileria parva, by demonstrating that the approach I am pursuing is a viable option for vaccination against the parasite. Such a vaccine would be affordable by small-holders in Africa, improving their ability to control the disease and enhancing their prosperity and quality of life.

Professor Ivan MorrisonRoslin Institute

Professor Morrison’s achievements to date and research ambitions to combat East Coast Fever are a strong expression of the importance of evidence-based veterinary medicine. We look forward to supporting his work, which promises to have a valuable and wide-reaching impact on cattle and the affected communities.

Chris GushExecutive Director of RCVS Knowledge

** The Roslin Institute receives strategic investment funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and it is part of the University of Edinburgh’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies. **

Related links

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Cattle health resource supports livestock research