Academic Pathology

Kevin Gough

Professor of Biochemistry and Pathology, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences



Kevin Gough graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth (1992). He then obtained a PhD in Biochemistry from Aberystwyth, graduating in 1996. His post-doctoral employment includes three years as a research associate at The University of Leicester before becoming a Research Scientist with ADAS. Within 8 years at ADAS, his roles progressed through Senior Research Scientist to Principal Research Scientist and Leader of the ADAS Biotechnology Group. Kevin joined the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science as a Lecturer in Molecular Biochemistry in 2007, became an Associate Professor in 2012, and Professor of Biochemistry and Pathology in 2019.

Expertise Summary

Kevin Gough is Professor of Biochemistry and Pathology within the SVMS.

He has acted as an independent scientific expert on appraisal panels for the Defra TSE Review 2007, for the Food Standards Agency TSE Research Programme Review 2007 and for the MRC Prion Research Reviews 2009 and 2014. He is also an Editorial Board Member for the journal Scientific Reports.

He has extensive experience of research in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. Techniques include: prion diagnostics, recombinant antibody production, protein purification, monoclonal antibody production, diagnostic PCR and Q-PCR, enzyme kinetics and immunoassay development, next generation phage display, next generation sequencing, biomarker discovery. He also has extensive experience of project and staff management, contract management, bid preparation, results dissemination, business development and commercialisation.

Research Summary

My research is focused on the development and application of novel molecular diagnostics and therapeutics. This includes targeting a range of pathogens, including prions (BSE and scrapie), viruses,… read more

Selected Publications

Research Group Members:

Dr Alison Gray: Research area: the application of next generation phage display technology to reduce animal use in antibody production

Anitha Varghese: Research area: the application of next generation phage display technology to produce muti-peptide assays for viral infections

Juan Bonfante: Research area: Application of next generation phage display to discover therapeutic and diagnostic ligands for protein misfolding diseases.

Britany Clarke: Research area: the design and production of antimicrobial peptides through phage display to target enteric pathogenic bacteria of pigs.

Valeria Manfredi: Research area: the application of DNA detection methods, metabarcoding and species-specific PCR, to aquatic ecotoxicity monitoring.

Associated group members:

Claire Baker (ADAS): Research areas: Understanding the environmental dissemination of prions and routes of disease transmission. The application of environmental DNA detection to monitor endangered wildlife species.

Dr Jon Owen (ADAS): Research areas: Application of next generation phage display applied to the development of autoantibody assays for cancer.

Keith Bishop (ADAS): Research areas: The application of environmental DNA detection to monitor for Great Crested Newt.

Kieran Pitchers (primary supervisor Dr Rob Atterbury): Research area: engineering multimeric antimicrobial peptides to target enteric pathogenic bacteria of poultry.

Megan Wilde (primary supervisor Dr Cinzia Allegrucci): investigating the immune response to breast cancer stem cell antigens, implications for cancer diagnosis and therapy.

Derek Hardie (primary supervisor Dr James Dixon): Research area: investigating the differential regulation of cell surface GAG in brain cancer and using next generation phage display to isolate cancer cell specific peptides

Katie Stocking (primary supervisor Dr James Dixon): Research area: engineering bacteriophage into effective bio-nanoparticles for mammalian cell transduction


Dr Ben Maddison (ADAS)

Dr Helen Rees (ADAS)

Professor Janet Daly (SVMS, University of Nottingham)

Dr James Dixon (School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham)

Dr Robert Atterbury (SVMS, University of Nottingham)

Dr Cinzia Allegrucci (SVMS, University of Nottingham)

Dr Mara Rocchi (Moredun Research Institute)

Professor Richard Emes (SVMS, University of Nottingham)

Dr Anastasios Spiliotopoulos (Vertex)

Dr Nadine Taylor (Cambridge Environmental Assessment)

Current Research

My research is focused on the development and application of novel molecular diagnostics and therapeutics. This includes targeting a range of pathogens, including prions (BSE and scrapie), viruses, parasites (Fasciola hepatica, Eimiera spp) and bacteria (Salmonella enterica, pathogenic E. coli). Non-infectious diseases are also targeted, including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and cancer. Research is also carried out into the application of molecular diagnostic methods to monitor endangered wildlife species.

​Next generation phage display: Our design of novel diagnostics is centred around ligand display systems and particularly the display of recombinant antibody fragments and peptides on filamentous bacteriophage. Peptide phage-display libraries have proved useful for mapping epitopes of monoclonal antibodies, and the isolation of ligands that bind specifically to a range of target molecules. This technology also allows the isolation of peptides capable of disrupting specific protein-protein interactions. In the form of antibody phage-display libraries this technology is a powerful in vitro technique that allows the selection of antibodies with defined properties from vast libraries of binders. This allows the isolation of antibodies with exquisite selectivity between closely related molecules, and by removing the need for immunization it allows the production of antibodies against toxic or non-antigenic molecules. To date, we have applied phage-display methods to isolate ligands against a wide range of molecular targets including host cell surfaces, pathogen surface molecules, proteins, peptides and haptens. In recent years, we have coupled the vast diversity of phage display libraries with the screening power of next generation sequencing, a process called next generation phage display (NGPD). This novel technique allows the highly efficient selection of a wide range of specific ligands.

Protein misfolding diseases. Our main research focus is on prion diseases (transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, TSEs). These are fatal neurological disorders that are marked by long incubation periods. TSEs have been described in a number of mammalian species and include scrapie in sheep and goats, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle, chronic wasting disease in deer and elk and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in humans. These diseases are irreversible and invariably fatal; there is compelling evidence that the BSE agent has crossed the species barrier and is the causal agent of vCJD in humans. According to the protein only hypothesis, the causal agent appears to be novel, an infectious misfolded version (PrPSc) of a host protein (PrPC) which encodes transmissible strain characteristics in the absence of any detectable nucleic acid. Our research includes the elucidation of the routes of scrapie transmission and the environmental fate of the TSE agent, the strain typing of ruminant TSEs to study emerging strains, and the pre-mortem diagnosis of TSE diseases. Using NGPD, we are also developing novel ligands that bind specifically to misfolded proteins involved in Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and prion diseases, in order to apply them as therapeutic and diagnostic tools.

The development of serodiagnostics and therapeutics to infectious diseases. NGPD is being applied in our research to epitope-map immune responses to disease, both antibody-mediated and cell-mediated, to improve diagnostics and develop novel peptide vaccines. Ongoing research is on a range of viral infection in ruminants and humans (West Nile virus, Rift Valley fever virus, louping ill virus, tick-borne encephalitis virus, dengue virus, and Zika virus). Our research is leading to the development of assays to differentiate closely related infections and also vaccinated from infected animals (so-called DIVA tests). Fasciola hepatica infection of cattle and sheep, this parasite causes livestock mortality and reductions in productivity. Our research aims to develop novel multi-component vaccines. Salmonella and E. coli infections of pigs and poultry. These infections place significant economic burdens on livestock industries and zoonotic serovars represent some of the most common foodborne pathogens affecting human health. Our research aims to identify antimicrobial peptides that can specifically target pathogenic bacterial species.

Targeting cancer. We are applying NGPD to map autoantibody responses to a range of cancers including kidney, pancreatic and endometrial cancers. The aim is to develop novel biomarkers. We are also applying the technique in conjunction with a cell penetrating peptide system to develop tumour-specific transduction cassette for efficient drug delivery.

eDNA detection for surveillance of wildlife species: We are applying real time PCR and Next Generation Sequencing methods to detect environmental DNA (eDNA) of wildlife species in aquatic environments. The research is primarily aimed at the detection of the Great Crested Newt, a protected species.

Academic Pathology

The University of Nottingham
School of Medicine, Queen's Medical Centre
Nottingham, NG7 2UH

telephone: +44 (0)115 969 1169