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An integrated One Health approach

One Health is the core focus of all the research undertaken the in the Department, underpinning all our research programmes and taking novel approaches to the study of disease in man and other animals.

Advances in medical and veterinary science can only be achieved if underpinned by excellence in research.  Outstanding research underpins our aims to combat disease of animals and man on a global scale. 

Many infectious diseases can be harboured in animals and passed to humans (zoonoses), for example Ebola virus, SalmonellaCampylobacter and Tuberculosis, causing major public health issues.  Determining how diseases spread between species and the molecular mechanisms involved are vitally important to combat these diseases.

Many animals suffer from similar conditions to humans. Understanding the basic mechanisms of these problems in animals will help advance medical and veterinary science. The department is part of the University’s School of Biological Sciences, which, combined with its geographical proximity to leading research centres such as the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research (CIMR), Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute has embedded it within an environment of internationally renowned research excellence.

Increasingly researchers at the department collaborate with mathematicians, physical scientists and engineers to use pioneering approaches to answer fundamental questions about disease spread and pathogenesis. 

Research within the Department is configured into 3 core themes:

Cross cutting these groupings are subthemes which reflect the level of  interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research:  

Our researchers are drawn from a diversity of disciplines, from clinical veterinarians, to medics, mathematicians, and biomedical sciences, and we maintain strong links with cognate disciplines, integrating more broadly with the University as a whole.

Disease Dynamics

The Department of Veterinary Medicine has a strong research programme in infectious disease dynamics. We are an interdisciplinary group, using state-of-the-art methods from epidemiology, mathematics and biological sciences, to study the growth, spread and control of pathogens within and between hosts.

Our research encompasses animal, zoonotic, and entirely human infections with a range of viruses, bacteria and parasites. Members of the Disease Dynamics Unit regularly advise national and international authorities on public and animal health, on topics such as bovine tuberculosis control, assessing the global threat of influenza pandemics and meningococcal vaccination.

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Infection and Immunity

We study the mechanisms of pathogenesis caused by many bacteria, viruses and parasites, with genomic science playing a key role in understanding pathogen biology. In order to understand how pathogens cause disease it is critical to determine how host immunity (including both the innate and acquired arms of the immune system) resists infections and this is central to much of our research in infection and immunity.

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Systems Pathology

Comparative medicine, particularly in cancer, genetic diseases and orthopaedics, combines our strengths in clinical oncology, medicine and surgery with our expertise in the molecular genetics of animal species.  Through strategic collaborations with the Sanger Institute, the Cancer Research UK Institute and Division of Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery in Cambridge, researchers are exploring opportunities to understand the genetic basis for many naturally occurring cancers and other diseases of domestic

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animals.  The aim of this research is to drive translational breakthroughs through our internationally recognized oncology referral practice and our other clinical units.

Comparative medicine has always been a strong driver for research in the hospital. The accurate phenotypic characterisation of disease has been central to the research output and this has lead to deeper understanding of the pathobiology of natural diseases. This increased knowledge has also led to, and will continue to generate, improved methods of diagnosis and management of patients as well as the identification of new and emerging diseases.

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