One long-term goal of this project (being performed as a larger study including UK and French colleagues at the Animal Health Veterinary Laboratories Agency) is to identify benign, non-disease causing viruses already present in the badger population that can be used as a vaccine platform to prevent the spread of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) from badgers to cattle. By increasing understanding of immunity to TB in general, it is anticipated that results from these studies may also enable the design of more efficacious vaccines for TB in humans.
Lucy Davison and Nicholas Lyons, two students from University of Plymouth's Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, School of Biomedical and Healthcare Sciences, will spend the summer in Berlin working with Dr Bernhard Ehlers. Dr Ehlers is currently working in partnership with Dr Michael Jarvis from University of Plymouth using state-of-the-art molecular techniques to search for viruses from a variety of different sources, including European badgers.
At the basis of the exchange programme is a larger educational aim to integrate undergraduate education with active scientific research. This is being achieved by using pre-existing international scientific networks of which University of Plymouth academics are a part of.