Associate Professor in Veterinary Virology, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences
Rachael graduated with a BVSc from Sydney University in 1999 and worked in mixed practice in Australia and the UK. She then did PhD on retroviruses of koalas at the University of Queensland. She spent time after this working as a postdoctoral researcher for the Queensland Department of Primary Industries participating in vaccine trials testing oral vaccination strategies for ruminants and at Georg August Universitaet Goettingen in Germany, examining the interactions between human coronaviruses, including SARs, and human plasmacytic dendritic cells. She then joined the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science in 2007 where she teaches undergraduate and clinical phase veterinary medicine students and runs a research program in animal infectious diseases
Rachael is a lecturer in Veterinary Cellular Microbiology. Her research expertise is primarily with retroviruses but covers a broad range of virology and genetics methods in domestic and exotic species. She is currently serving as the schools biosafety officer responsible for risk assessment of biological and genetic modification work. She is available for consultancy work on biosafety and biosecurity risks. She also teaches clinical skills and internal medicine into the undergraduate veterinary curriculum
Due to my clinical background I teach across a range of courses at SVMS from 1st through to 4th year. I do much of the introductory surgery practical classes and am responsible for tracking the… read more
My primary research focus is on endogenous retroviruses. These viruses are the remnants of past infections that have become incorporated in their hosts genome (about 10% of the human genome is made… read more
Due to my clinical background I teach across a range of courses at SVMS from 1st through to 4th year. I do much of the introductory surgery practical classes and am responsible for tracking the preventative medicine curriculum across the course, this covers everything from antimicrobial prescribing to nutrition. I also manage the second year biosciences course "Principals of Animal Health and Disease" open to science students across the university.
My primary research focus is on endogenous retroviruses. These viruses are the remnants of past infections that have become incorporated in their hosts genome (about 10% of the human genome is made up of segments of retrovirus). I am particularly interested in the process by which retroviruses become integrated into their host's normal cellular functions. I have current projects on Koala retrovirus (KoRV) and the role of human endogenous retroviruses in autoimmune diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis. Recent work has included retroviruses in dogs, horses, primates, chickens and squirrels and we are beginning some work on fish. I also work on infectious retroviruses with current projects on the impacts of Maedi Visna in sheep breeding.
I also have research interests in emerging viral diseases and viral diseases in domestic animals. My current projects include Schmallenberg virus impacts on ruminant reproduction, tick borne diseases of Nigerian dogs, European hantaviruses and novel rodent viruses diagnostic test development and Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus 1 (the cause of a fatal haemorrhagic syndrome in juvenile elephants in collaboration with Twycross Zoo). Past work has included rabies and tick borne diseases of Indian street dogs, Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus 1 (the cause of a fatal haemorrhagic syndrome in juvenile elephants in collaboration with Twycross Zoo), SARs coronavirus immunology and oral vaccination systems for ruminants.
For details of this and other infectious diseases research in SVMS please see the Animal Infection and Immunity web page
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