Aquatic animal health
My research centres on the control of disease in farmed aquatic species. The main focus of my research is vaccines for aquacultured species, but I also investigate effects of nutrition and environmental conditions on innate and adaptive immunity in aquatic animals. Australia is many years behind Europe, Scandinavia, Canada and South America in the use of vaccine technologies for sustainable disease control in its aquaculture industry. This is a gap that we are aiming to bridge through research and collaboration with major global vaccine companies.
With some aquacultured species, health management regimes that include vaccination are not presently an option. This would include farming of crustaceans where we do not yet understand specific immune memory, or indeed whether they have such a system. In order to better manage disease in these industries, nutritional supplements such as dietary nucleotides and vitamins are potentially of great benefit. Nucleotides are a particular interest as they provide rate-limiting raw materials required for cell division and immune cell proliferation.
In the aquaculture lab we have methodologies in place for evaluating the speed and magnitude of specific and non-specific immunity in many aquatic species and are using these tools in collaboration with the feed and biotech industries to provide tangible health solutions for a sustainable aquaculture industry.
I am also developing an interest in host-pathogen interactions in corals.