Alistair is a biomedical scientist with a strong background in molecular biology and anthelmintic resistance mechanisms. He joined Kreavet in February 2022, broadening his skills in epidemiology, applied research and project management. Here he briefly introduces himself.
I recently finished my PhD in veterinary medicine at the University of Glasgow in 2022, under the supervision of Valentina Busin, Roz Laing, and Eileen Devaney. My doctoral research focused on the identification and elucidation of genetic markers of levamisole resistance in sheep nematode Haemonchus contortus, a significant cause of production loss within the livestock sector worldwide, and an important model organism to understand anthelmintic resistance. I was part of the team that discovered the S168T marker, which is strongly associated with levamisole resistance in both laboratory and field isolates. Following on from this, I developed a PCR assay with which to genotype field populations and validated the S168T marker. Following my PhD, and immediately prior to joining Kreavet I completed a Hannah Dairy Research Fund sponsored post-doctoral research assistant project to develop a next-generation sequencing marker panel for a combined Nemabiome species identification and detection of ivermectin, benzimidazole, and levamisole resistance markers in parasitic nematodes of cattle in Scottish dairy herds. Prior to this, I also gained experience in developing point-of-care diagnostics for Dengue Virus in resource limited settings, and worked as a Healthcare Scientist in clinical bacteriology in the NHS.
I am passionate about using focused and innovative research to overcome issues within the agricultural sector, moving towards improving production and ensuring sustainable livestock production. I see this as especially important in the face of climate change and increased demand for animal products globally. Unfortunately, to date, adoption of improved diagnostics has been slow within the agricultural sector.
This is the main reason I chose to move to Kreavet, as following my experience in developing molecular diagnostics for anthelmintic resistance, I believe that it is time to translate this research into tools and policies that can be of use to stakeholders, farmers, and agricultural and animal health authorities. This is why I see my future work on the Horizon Europe BioSecure project as essential and an opportunity to gain new experience, and integrate cutting edge research into solving one of the most pressing issues facing the livestock sector today, namely, the control of the spread of infection. This is critical, not just for maintaining the efficacy of anthelmintics, but also preventing outbreaks of bacterial and viral pathogens that have the capacity to devastate production. Kreavet is in a unique position to tackle this problem within Europe, through translating cutting edge research into strategies from a multidisciplinary and collaborative focus, with an extensive network of clinical, governmental, and academic partners.
Scientific project manager