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Department of Veterinary Medicine

Cambridge Veterinary School

Animals, humans, and the environment are intrinsically interconnected. Recognising this, a One Health approach is integrated across all research programmes in the Department, breaking down the traditional boundaries between Human and Veterinary Medicine, and taking novel approaches to the study of disease in man and other animals. Research activity is presented across three broad themes that represent core research strengths and critical mass:

However, since projects frequently cover innovative basic studies through to translational research, work often involves collaborative activity in a range of interdisciplinary areas. 

Our researchers are also part of the University’s School of Biological Sciences, which in 2021 launched six new cross-cutting Research Themes to provide integration across the School, encourage new conversations and enhance interdisciplinary networking critical for major innovation.

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 animals, particularly dogs, for exmple through our Kennel Club Canine Genetics Centre.  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 comprises the core of 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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