Physical and Mathematical Veterinary Medicine

Image of Peter Mertens

Peter Mertens

Chair in Virology, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences



Prof. Peter Mertens studied Virology at Warwick and Oxford Universities, then completed a post-doctoral Fellowship at the University of Guelph in Canada during 1981. He has since worked on the Orbiviruses, particularly Bluetongue and African horse sickness viruses (BTV and AHSV) at the Pirbright Institute (35 years), rising to Head of Group (Arbovirus Molecular Research) and head of Department/Programme (Vector-borne Viral Diseases).

His group was responsible for development of novel diagnostic assays and the epidemiology studies used to identify and track BTV outbreaks across Europe (including the UK from 1998 onwards). Advice and support for Defra's 'Joint Action against Bluetongue' (JAB) campaign led to eradication of BTV-8 from the UK and then in northern Europe in 2008-2009. This achievement was recognised by an 'Innovator of the Year' award (2013) from BBSRC. Prof Mertens also played a central role (with colleagues from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics in Oxford) in determination of the atomic structure of the bluetongue virus particle by x-ray crystallography, one of the largest single molecular structures determined to date.

Prof Mertens has survised over 25 Ph.D. students, has over 250 research publications, h-index of 51, h-index excluding self-citations 47

Prof Mertens currently holds a Chair of Virology at the University of Nottingham (part-time). He is a Visiting Professor at the University of Glasgow, the University of Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte Brazil, and Luvas University at Hisar, in India. He is also a Jenner investigator, Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Fellow of the Linnean Society, OIE Bluetongue Expert, and a member of the Reoviridae study Group for the International Committee for the Taxonomy of Viruses.

Prof Mertens Currently cordinates a large H20:20 project (6.3m Euro) for the EU involving 19 partner institutions in 11 countries across Europe, north ans sub-sharan Africa and the Middle East.

Expertise Summary

Professor Mertens has worked on the dsRNA viruses for over 42 years (as Ph.D. student, Post-doctoral Fellow and PI) . He is a bluetongue expert for the Office International ds Epizooties (OIE), and as such retains staff access and a senior Fellowship position, advising the EU and National Bluetonmgue reference laboratory at the Pirbright laboratory . He is a member of the defra expert panel advising on bluetongue viruses. He is a member of the bluetongue expert group for EFSA, was previously chair but still a member of the Reoviridae study group for the International Committee for the taxonomy of viruses.

Major areas of expertise include the molecular biology, replication, biochemistry, phylogenetic analysis, structural studies, diagnostic technolgies, taxonomy, vaccinology, and control strategies for bluetongue and the related orbiviruses.,

Recent Publications

Physical and Mathematical Veterinary Medicine

The University of Nottingham
School of Veterinary Medicine and Science
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