The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) is a research-led small specialist institution offering high quality research experience in BBSRC priority areas of Food Security and Integrative Animal Physiology. Uniquely we can access a wide range of species, including veterinary patients with naturally occurring disease and wild animals for study in their natural habitats.

Achieving interdisciplinarity

Integrative (systems) biology is practised both at the whole animal and populations of animal level where the interaction between genotype, phenotype and environment can be studied as well as at the cellular and molecular level where an understanding of host-pathogen interaction can be gained and innovative approaches to animal disease treatment uncovered. Our research focuses particularly on the musculoskeletal system, complex mixed modelling approaches to infectious diseases in populations of animals and the responses of pigs and poultry to common endemic pathogens that affect their productivity. The partnership of researchers working at the whole animal level with structural biologists, chemists, mathematicians and engineers from other LIDO partners is a powerful approach to tackling problems of national and international importance for food security and animal welfare.

Investing in the future

We continue to invest in facilities to study animal movement and the impact of environmental factors in the interaction between host and pathogen by adapting our animal welfare controlled environment facility to allow animal challenge work to be undertaken with control of environmental factors. We have also invested in bioinformatics resources to study chromosome evolution in animals in order to explain their inherent sensitivity or resistance to disease. We have also invested heavily in a big data project, Vetcompass, which allows us to access and mine information derived from veterinary practices, an increasingly powerful tool with which to study patterns of disease in animals.