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Royal Veterinary College
Country: United Kingdom
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249 Projects, page 1 of 50
  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: BB/L014084/1
    Funder Contribution: 102,126 GBP
    Partners: RVC

    Doctoral Training Partnerships: a range of postgraduate training is funded by the Research Councils. For information on current funding routes, see the common terminology at Training grants may be to one organisation or to a consortia of research organisations. This portal will show the lead organisation only.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: 2756672
    Partners: RVC

    All students will be engaged in the co-design of their own research projects in collaboration with the UK Food Systems Academy which is the gateway for students to supervisors and core project ideas (project kernels). Early in Year 1, students will select from a catalogue of project kernels that will form the basis of their rotations with potential supervisors. Following the rotations, thesis proposals will be finalised in a capstone two-day Project and Thesis Proposal Intensive Workshop with partners from the Food System Academy. PhD research projects topics will be finalised at the end of year 1, and will initiate at the beginning of year 2.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: BB/N004590/1
    Funder Contribution: 901,730 GBP
    Partners: RVC

    Bovine tuberculosis (BTB) is a persistent problem in certain areas of the UK. The current control strategy is to test herds for the presence of BTB at timely intervals and slaughter test-positive animals. However, the observation that BTB is spreading in both geographical area and prevalence suggests that the existing control strategy is not working effectively. The cost of the control programme is £100 million annually, therefore not only is the policy ineffective, it is also a significant economic burden. In addition, BTB can cause tuberculosis in humans, and while this is currently rare, the escalating prevalence of BTB has the potential to develop into a zoonotic (the passage of disease from animals to humans) risk. BTB is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium bovis. This is very closely related to Mycobacterium tuberculosis, a bacterium that commonly causes tuberculosis. Tuberculosis in cattle and humans show great similarities and, like the human disease, vaccination is an alternative strategy to control BTB. The vaccine against human tuberculosis is a strain of Mycobacterium bovis called Mycobacterium bovis BCG, however this provides limited protection against the disease in both cattle and humans. Mycobacterium bovis is transmitted by aerosol, once within the animal it enters into cells called macrophages. These cells, normally dedicated to the killing and removal of bacterial pathogens, are unable to kill the bacteria. Instead, Mycobacterium bovis adapts and survives within the lungs in structures called granulomas. However, we do not know much about the genes that allow the bacteria to survive and cause disease in the host. We will knock-out the function of every single gene in the genome of Mycobacterium bovis (approximately 4000) and determine those genes that are required for survival in bovine macrophages and in the whole cow. We will achieve this by using a technique called Transposon Directed Insertion Seqeuncing (TraDIS). This technique has been applied successfully to the study of other bacterial pathogens of medical and veterinary importance, but this will be the first time it has been used to study the genetic determinants of disease in Mycobacterium bovis. We will make libraries of mutants where the function of every gene in the genome has been knocked-out. We will then put the libraries into "screens". Mutants that are recovered after being through a "screen" are compared to the original pre-screened mutant pool by DNA sequencing. Mutants that are unable to survive the screen are identified and as a result we will identify all the genes necessary for survival in the host. Those mutants that are unable to survive in the host represent potential vaccine candidates. We will be able to assess the function of essential genes using a combination of computational analysis, literature searching and comparisons to screens performed on different types of bacteriological media (in vitro). The functions that are essential for survival in the host also reflects the conditions within the host. At the end of this project we will have filled in key gaps in the knowledge of BTB in the area of host pathogen interactions and have identified several potential vaccine candidates to be considered for future development.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: NC/R001103/1
    Funder Contribution: 230,171 GBP
    Partners: RVC

    Wild small mammals such as mice and voles are common study subjects in many fields of research including ecology, conservation, evolutionary biology and land management. However, current methods for studying these animals usually involve either the repeated setting of live-traps (a capture-mark-recapture approach), or radio-tracking. Both methods raise concerns for animal welfare. Small mammals can lose weight and sometimes die during trap confinement, and radio-tracking involves the attachment of a transmitter to small animals, which can impede their natural behaviour and reduce survival. Importantly, live-trapping is also indiscriminate, such that many captured animals are not required for research, including non-target species or animals that have already been captured and do not need to be captured again. These traditional approaches are based on simple technology (metal traps or radio-transmitters), yet the technological foundations are available to develop more sophisticated solutions than improve both animal welfare and the quality of scientific data obtained. In particular, microchips (PIT tags) are frequently used to identify individuals with a handheld scanner. However, PIT tag technology has potential far beyond this role. In this proposal, we will tap into this, and develop, validate and apply two novel devices based on PIT tag technology that will reduce unnecessary captures and refine welfare in small mammal studies. The first is an "intelligent trap", which is capable of making decisions about whether to trap a given animal based on its PIT tag and weight. This will allow species outside a particular size range to be excluded (e.g. shrews that are common by-catch in rodent studies) and prevent unnecessary recapture of tagged animals. It will also have an auto-release feature, allowing collection of faecal samples (commonly required in epidemiological studies) without animals having to stay a full night in traps and be handled for release. The second device is a "spatial logger" that can monitor the whereabouts of tagged animals. When a tagged animal passes within 30cm of the logger, it's presence is recorded. By placing a set of these across a field site, researchers can monitor individual animal movements and survival without the need to repeatedly capture them or attach radio-transmitters and actively follow them. We will develop both devices from our current prototypes, validate their performance in the field, and apply them in a study on wild wood mice and bank voles to demonstrate their scientific value and how they improve animal welfare. This study will also show how they facilitate completely novel science that cannot be approached using traditional methods. Specifically, we will use them to ask how social interactions affect the spread of gut bacteria among wild mice. Social interactions are hard to measure, particularly for animals that are small, nocturnal and nest underground. We will use spatial loggers to monitor wood mouse social interactions by placing them across our field site and at burrow entrances, to record who nests with whom and how their home ranges overlap. We will compare this to data on which gut microbes are present in each mouse (using molecular methods applied to faecal samples from traps) to assess how sharing of gut microbes, and which ones in particular, is predicted by patterns of social interaction. We aim for these two devices to achieve maximum impact through eventual widespread uptake in small mammal research. To achieve this, dissemination and commercialisation plans feature in our proposal, including trialling of devices by four other research groups, a workshop, and communication of findings at a variety of meetings targeting scientists, policymakers and the general public.

  • Project . 2007 - 2010
    Funder: UKRI Project Code: BB/E527371/1
    Funder Contribution: 233,760 GBP
    Partners: RVC

    Doctoral Training Partnerships: a range of postgraduate training is funded by the Research Councils. For information on current funding routes, see the common terminology at Training grants may be to one organisation or to a consortia of research organisations. This portal will show the lead organisation only.