Bachelor of Science (BSc) Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU), Master of Science (MSc) Guelph, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Dalhousie
Telephone: (519) 888-4567 ext. 32665
Office: Biology 2 247A
Research in my laboratory is directed towards characterizing fish immune systems at the molecular level. A detailed knowledge of the molecules used as signals and receptors in the mammalian immune system has allowed more effective control of disease through vaccines and drugs. However, only a handful of immunologically important molecules have been isolated from fish, despite the growing need for vaccines and drugs to control diseases in aquaculture. A deeper knowledge of the molecules involved in teleost immune systems also provides insight into the evolution and function of equivalent molecules in mammalian immune systems.
To date my research program has focused on the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) receptors. These molecules are present on the surface of every cell in the body of vertebrates and are the key molecules which decide what belongs to the body and what is a pathogen. I was the first researcher to isolate an expressed MHC gene from fish, and produced the antibodies that allowed the first demonstration that they are present on the surface of fish cells. MHC receptors are highly polymophic and I have performed experiments to measure the evolution of MHC polymorphism in a fish population.