Institute for Animal Health

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The Pirbright Institute (Previously: Institute for Animal Health)
Abbreviation N/A
Formation 1987
Legal status
Government-funded research institute (registered charity)
Purpose Farm animal health and diseases in the UK
Location Compton Laboratory, Compton, Newbury and Pirbright Laboratory, Ash Road, Pirbright
Region served
UK
Membership Around 400 government bioscientists
Director
Professor John Fazakerley
Main organ
BBSRC Council
Parent organization
BBSRC
Affiliations Babraham Institute, DEFRA
Budget c.£30m
Website [1]

The Pirbright Institute (formerly Institute for Animal Health) is a research institute in the United Kingdom dedicated to the study of infectious diseases of farm animals. It forms part of the UK government's Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). The institute employs scientists, vets and a number of PhD students.

History[edit]

It began in 1914 to test cows for tuberculosis. More buildings were added in 1925. Compton was established by the Agricultural Research Council in 1937. Pirbright became a research institute in 1939 and Compton in 1942. The Houghton Poultry Research Station at Houghton, Cambridgeshire was established in 1948. In 1963 Pirbright became the Animal Virus Research Institute and Compton became the Institute for Research on Animal Diseases. The Neuropathogenesis Unit (NPU) was established in Edinburgh in 1981. This became part of the Roslin Institute in 2007.

In 1987, Compton, Houghton and Pirbright became the Institute for Animal Health, being funded by BBSRC. Houghton closed in 1992, operations at Compton are being rapidly wound down with the site due to close in 2015.

The Edward Jenner Institute for Vaccine Research was sited at Compton until October 2005.

Significant investment (over £170 million) is taking place at Pirbright with the development of new world class laboratory and animal facilities. The Institute has been known as "The Pirbright Institute" since October 2012.

Structure[edit]

The work previously carried out at Compton has either moved out to the university sector, ended or has been transferred to the Pirbright Site. The Compton site currently carries out work on endemic (commonplace) animal diseases including some Avian Viruses and a small amount of Bovine Immunology whilst Pirbright works on exotic (unusual) animal diseases (usually caused by virus outbreaks). Pirbright has National and International Reference Laboratories of diseases.

Funding[edit]

25% of its income comes from a core grant from the BBSRC of around £11m. Around 50% comes from research grants from related government organisations, such as DEFRA, or industry and charities (such as the Wellcome Trust). The remaining 25% comes from direct payments for work carried out.

Function[edit]

It mostly investigates viruses carried by animals, of which rabies is a well-known type, although not in farm animals. Anthrax is a bacterium. Understanding of viruses comes from molecular biology.

It carries out surveillance activities on general animal health and disease movement in the UK.

Location[edit]

The institute has two sites at:

See also[edit]

External links[edit]