Department: Clinical Science and Services

Campus: Hawkshead

Research Groups: Pedagogy

Research Centres: Veterinary Epidemiology, Economics and Public Health

Ayona is Professor in Veterinary Education and is a LIVE group member working within the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences. She teaches both undergraduates and postgraduates and is currently working on several international projects that include collaborations with Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Jordan, Netherlands and Sweden. Ayona is passionate about distance and online education, is the Chairman of the Fellow's group of the Centre for Distance Education at the University of London. In 2012, Ayona was awarded the National Teaching Fellowship (UK) for her contributions to advance Veterinary Education and in 2018, Ayona was awarded the Principal Fellowship of the UK higher Education Academy as recognition of the strategic influence she has made in the field of Veterinary Education.

Ayona graduated as a veterinarian from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka and followed this with an MSc in Animal Nutrition and a PhD from University of Aberdeen, UK. She then did several postdoctoral, teaching and research appointments at the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, University of London (Royal Postgraduate Medical School), University of Leiden, the Netherlands and at the Open University in Milton Keynes. In 2002 Ayona joined the RVC as the Director of Distance Learning and worked until 2008 in expanding the distance learning programme. She supported the development of a new MSc by distance learning, a short course programme and with DEFRA an accredited online training course for government veterinarians at the Border Inspection Posts. In 2008 Ayona joined LIVE team to take a leading role in developing a new MSc in Veterinary Education.

The MSc in Veterinary Education is the first discipline specific education programme for veterinary and para-veterinary educators was launched in 2010. The MSc is offered via face-to-face and distance learning. The PG Certificate in Veterinary Education which is the first part of the MSc is accredited by the UK Higher Education Academy and those who complete the programme become Associate Fellows or Fellows of the Higher Education Academy. 

In 2010 Ayona completed an MA in Medical Education and this MA, which was taken more than 20 years after her PhD, provided not only an opportunity to reconnoiter a different discipline but also to experience andragogy at first hand. Ayona says "this experience is immensely useful in leading the MSc in Veterinary Education, helping me ensure that appropriate teaching and assessment methodologies are used for effective learning and engagement'.

Following are three achievements in recognition of Ayona's contribution to Veterinary education:


Ayona’s research is wide and varied. Currently she is involved in pedagogical research to enhance student learning, distance education methods and teaching and learning in veterinary education. In addition she is also involved in elephant health and reproduction research. The external funding reflect the nature of her research:

External funding (since joining the RVC):

  • In 2020 - Commonwealth scholsrship commission UK. Two Commonwealth Professional Fellowships to host two Fellows from Sri Lanka and Pakistan at LIVE, RVC. PI -  £26,624.
  • In 2020 - Bloomsbury SET, Enhancing Political Economy Research Skills to Tackle Infectious Disease and AMR Challenges Co-I £20,000 
  • In 2020-2021 Bloomsbury SET, Contextualising antimicrobial resistance perspectives in Sri Lanka and Europe. Co-I  £19,995
  • In 2020-2021 UKRI GCRF One Health Poultry Hub (OHPH) Pump Priming Award. Advancing One Health Poultry Hub (OHPH) policy and training action in Bangladesh in the days of COVID-19. Co-I  £19,995
  • In 2020 -21 Centre for Distnace Education, UoLW. UK.  Is there a difference in student experience and learning on the PGCertVetEd when comparing blended and online only delivery models? Co-I £5000  
  • In 2019 BBSRC STARS Building a network of researchers with expertise in molecular diagnostics to monitor and investigate antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in South Asia £100,000.00
  • In 2019 BBSRC GCRF One Health Poultry Hub Co-I, £20 million
  • In 2018 Bloomsbury SET The potential role of wildlife in antimicrobial resistance and ecosystem contamination - £360,000.00
  • In 2017 BBSRC Impact Accelerator Award for Accelerating impact of RVC poultry health projects in South Asia. £60,000.00
  • In 2016 Brian Nixon Legacy award fund to improve the health, husbandry and breeding for future sustainability of the Asian elephants in Thailand – A collaborative programme between Chiang Mai University, Thailand and RVC, UK. £80,000.00 
  • In 2015 – Funding from the OIE – Co-I - World Organisation for Animal Health under the Twinning programme for Curriculum and Faculty Development of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Jordan University of Science and Technology. £597,175.00
  • In 2014 - Funding from Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation for Curriculum development of School of Veterinary Medicine, Mongolian School of Agriculture, collaborative project between SVM, Mongolia and RVC, UK. £150,000.00
  • In 2014 - Brian Nixon Legacy award fund to improve the health, husbandry and breeding for future sustainability of the Asian elephants in Thailand – A collaborative programme between Chiang Mai University, Thailand and RVC, UK. £86,000.00 
  • In 2014 - Knowledge Economy Partnerships (British Council) award with India – Pedagogical design and development of online e-courses for continuous professional development programmes in veterinary and animal sciences. £18,000.00
  • In 2014 - Higher Education for Twenty First century (HETC) project to develop a Veterinary Clinical Skills lab at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and animal Science, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka  $50,000.
  • In 2013 - Teaching and Research awards CDE - Sponsored/scholarship students: Does additional support in the form of teaching and in-country institutional support have an impact on their retention, progression and level of achievement? £5,000.00
  • In 2012 – Higher Education Academy, UK, The National Teaching Fellowship award £10,000.00
  • In 2012 - Teaching and Research awards CDE - Teaching observations at a distance – the effectiveness of the process and the impact on practice. £5,000.00 
  • In 2010-  EuropeAid/129318/C/SER/AF/2009 - grant on ‘Enhancing the Functionality of Afghanistan’s Animal Health and Welfare System’ PI Dirk Pfeiffer and my involvement on veterinary education, curriculum and staff development in Faculty of Veterinary Science in Kabul University,  € 500,000.00 
  • In 2010 and 2011  British Council (PMI2) to develop a collaborative delivery programme on ‘Elephant health and reproduction’ - online and practical course - jointly with Chiang Mai University in Thailand £20,000
  • In 2009- Animal Care Trust to develop an online learning resource to enhance basic science teaching within a clinical context £15,000
  • In 2008 – Commonwealth Scholarship Commission to develop a partnership programme and offer 15 scholarships for MSc in distance learning and to develop a 5-year teaching programme to develop distance education capacity of two universities in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. £300,000
  • In 2008 - to develop a short course on clean milk production for veterinary services in Sri Lanka under the Strategic Alliances and Partnerships strand of the Prime Minister’s Initiative for International Education-2 (PMI2) £20,000
  • In 2007 – Commonwealth Scholarship fund to offer 6 scholarships to MSc in Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health £60,000
  • In 2006 – JISC Plagiarism detection case study grant for a project titled ‘Prevention of plagiarism in online postgraduate teaching’. £5000
  • In 2006 – Euro-Asia Link Project on ‘Managing the health and reproduction of elephant population in Asia’. A 3-year project funded by the EU under Asia-Link programme. A £1.1 million grant, part allocation to RVC.
  • In 2005 –EU grant on ‘Improving the quality of pork and pork products for the consumer – Development of an innovative, integrated and sustainable food production chain of high quality pork products matching consumer demand. A 5 year project funded by the EU 6th framework programme. A 15.2 million grant, part allocation to RVC.
  • In 2004 - Contract with Defra to develop a short distance learning course on ‘Import Control of Products of Animal Origin at Border Inspection Posts’ for training Official Veterinary Surgeons at Border Inspection Posts. £25,000
  • In 2003 – RCVS small grants scheme for the development of a course titled ‘Management of Infectious Viral Disease outbreaks in Animal Populations’. £3000

For publications and citations list please see Google Scholar 

  • Gunasekara, Y.D.; Kinnison, T.; Kottawatta, S.A.; Kalupahana, R.S.; Silva-Fletcher, A. Exploring Barriers to One Health Antimicrobial Stewardship in Sri Lanka: A Qualitative Study among Healthcare Professionals. Antibiotics 202211, 968.

  • Common, S. M., Yun, Y., Silva-Fletcher, A., Thitaram, C., Janyamethakul, T., Khammesri, S., & Molenaar, F. M. (2022). Developing a non-invasive method of detecting elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus infections using faecal samples. Veterinary Record190(2), no.

  • Gunasekera, Y. D., Kinnison, T., Kottawatta, S. A., Silva-Fletcher, A., & Kalupahana, R. S. (2022). Misconceptions of Antibiotics as a Potential Explanation for Their Misuse. A Survey of the General Public in a Rural and Urban Community in Sri Lanka. Antibiotics11(4).

  • Bamunusinghage, N. P. D., Neelawala, R. G., Magedara, H. P., Ekanayaka, N. W., Kalupahana, R. S., Silva-Fletcher, A., & Kottawatta, S. A. (2022). Antimicrobial Resistance Patterns of Fecal Escherichia coli in Wildlife, Urban Wildlife, and Livestock in the Eastern Region of Sri Lanka, and Differences between Carnivores, Omnivores, and Herbivores. Journal of Wildlife Diseases58(2), 380–383.

  • Dhanapala, P. M., Kalupahana, R. S., Kalupahana, A. W., Wijesekera, D. P. H., Kottawatta, S. A., Jayasekera, N. K.,Silva-Fletcher, A. Jagoda, S. S. S. S. (2021). Characterization and antimicrobial resistance of environmental and clinical aeromonas species isolated from fresh water ornamental fish and associated farming environment in Sri Lanka. Microorganisms( 10).

  • Wieland, B., Daborn, C., Debnath, N., & Silva-Fletcher, A. (2021). Continuing professional development for veterinarians in a changing world. Revue Scientifique et Technique (International Office of Epizootics), 40(2), 555–566.
  • Kinnison T., Kalupahana R., Thuranira-McKeever C., Silva-Fletcher A. (2020) Multi-Level Impact of Continuing Professional Development on Sri Lanka’s Veterinary Sector’ Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning, 1–18. 
  • T Plangsangmas, JL Brown, C Thitaram, A Silva-Fletcher, KL Edwards, Veerasak Punyapornwithaya, Patcharapa Towiboon, Chaleamchat Somgird (2020) Circadian Rhythm of Salivary Immunoglobulin A and Associations with Cortisol as A Stress Biomarker in Captive Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus). Animals 10 (1), 157, 1-13   
  • S Klinhom, P Siengdee, K Nganvongpanit, D Boonyawan, Ayona Silva-Fletcher, Chatchote Thitaram  (2019) Effect of Culture Medium Treated with Non-thermal Plasma Energy on the Growth and Viability In-vitro of Fibroblast Cells from Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus). KAFKAS ÜNIVERSITESI VETERINER FAKÜLTESI DERGISI 25 (6) 815 – 823
  • Silva-Fletcher, A, SA May (2018) Discipline-Specific Compared to Generic Training of Teachers in Higher Education. JVME 45 (1), 1-10.
  • Perera, B.V., Silva-Flecher, A., Suhada Jayawardena, Neshma Kumudini, and Tharaka Prasad (2018) Rehabilitation of orphaned Asian elephant (Elephas maximus maximus) calves in Sri Lanka. J of wildlife rehabilitation 38 (2) 12 – 24.
  • Chapman-Waterhouse, E., Silva-Fletcher, A., Whittlestone, KD (2018) Examining the use of web-based reusable learning objects by animal and veterinary nursing students Veterinary Science: Breakthroughs in Research and Practice, IGI Global 304-316. DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5640-4.ch016
  • Cardwell, JM., Magnier, K., Kinnison, T., Silva-Fletcher A (2018) Student experiences and perceptions of compulsory research projects: a veterinary perspective. Veterinary record open 4 (1), e000243E
  • Chapman-Waterhouse, A Silva-Fletcher, K Whittlestone (2017) The Use of Reusable Learning Objects to Enhance the Delivery of Veterinary Education: A Literature Review. International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning (IJMBL) 9 (3), 24-36. DOI: 10.4018/IJMBL.2017070103
  • Stokes, H., Perera, V., Jayasena, N., Silva-Fletcher A. (2017) Nocturnal Behaviour of Orphaned Asian Elephant (Elephas Maximus) Calves In Sri Lanka. Zoo Biology Advance Online
  • Kalupahana, R., Silva-Fletcher A (2016). A participant–led programme for field veterinary training to identify bacteriological quality of milk from the farmer to the retail outlet. Food Control 63, 128-134.
  • Silva-Fletcher, A., May SA (2016). Developing teachers in veterinary education REDU. Revista de Docencia Universitaria 13 (extra), 33-52.
  • Clark, A, Silva-Fletcher, A, Fox, M, Kreuzer, M,  Clauss M (2016). Survey of feeding practices, body condition and faeces consistency in captive ant-eating mammals in the UK. Journal of Zoo and Aquarium Research 4 (4), 183-195.
  • Algers A, Silva-Fletcher A (2015). Teachers’ Perceived Value, Motivations for and Adoption of Open Educational Resources in Animal and Food Sciences, International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning (iJET) 10 (2), 35 -45.
  • May SA, Silva-Fletcher A (2015). Scaffolded Active Learning: Nine Pedagogical Principles for Building a Modern Veterinary Curriculum, Journal of veterinary medical education, 1-8.
  • Silva-Fletcher A, May H, Magnier K, May S (2014) Teacher Development: A Patchwork-Text Approach to Enhancing Critical Reflection in Veterinary and Para-Veterinary Educators. Journal of Veterinary Medical Education, 41 (2) 146 – 154.
  • A Algers, A Silva-Fletcher, N Gregory, M Hunt (2013) The development of a new methodology for knowledge sharing in the interface between university and society - an example from the meat sector. Meat Science 95 (3) 672 – 678.
  • Korsak K and Silva A T, Saffrey MJ (2012) Differing effects of NT-3 and GDNF on dissociated enteric ganglion cells exposed to hydrogen peroxide in vitro Neuroscience Letters 517 (2) 102 – 106
  • K Korsak, NF Dolatshad, AT Silva, MJ Saffrey (2012) Ageing of enteric neurons: oxidative stress, neurotrophic factors and antioxidant enzymes. Chemistry Central Journal 6 (1), 1-7 
  • Bapodra P, Bouts T, Mahoney P, Turner S, Silva-Fletcher A, Waters M (2010). Ultrasonographic Anatomy Of The Asian Elephant (Elephas Maximus) Eye. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 41(3): 409–417
  • Alam MR, Gregory NG, Jabbar MA, ,Uddin MS, Kibria ASMG, A. Silva-Fletcher A (2010) Skin injuries identified in cattle and water buffaloes at livestock markets in Bangladesh. Vet Record 167 (11) page: 415-419
  • Alam M R, Gregory N G, Uddin§, M S, Jabbar M A, Silva-Fletcher A, Kempson A G C, Saifuddin A K M (2010) Frequency Of Heat Stress In Cattle And Water Buffalo At Livestock Markets In Bangladesh, JCVA 13-17
  • Silva AT., Wardhaugh T., Dolatshad NF., Jones SL., Saffrey MJ (2008)
  • Neural progenitors from isolated postnatal rat myenteric ganglia: expansion as neurospheres and differentiation in vitro. Brain Research, 1218 (1) 47-53
  • Gregory, N.G., von Wenzlawowicz, M., Alam, R.M., Anil, H.M., Yesildere, T. and Silva-Fletcher, A. (2008).False aneurysms in carotid arteries of cattle and water buffalo during shechita and halal slaughter. Meat Science 79, 285-288.
  • Alam, M.R., Gregory, N.G., Silva-Fletcher, A., Saifuddin, A.K.M. and Ahasan, A.S.M.L. (2007)Welfare issues during animal transport and slaughter in Bangladesh. Bangladesh Veterinarian 24, 87-97.
  • Rodriguez JJ, Davies HA, Silva AT, I. E. J. De Souza, C. J. Peddie, F. M. Colyer, C. L. Lancashire, A. Fine, M. L. Errington, T. V. P. Bliss, M. G. Stewart (2005) Long-term potentiation in the rat dentate gyrus is associated with enhanced Arc/Arg3.1 protein expression in spines, dendrites and glia. European Journal Of Neuroscience 21 (9): 2384-2396
  • Dolatshad NF, Silva AT, Saffrey MJ (2004) Identification of GFR alpha-2 isoforms in myenteric plexus of postnatal and adult rat intestine. Molecular Brain Research 107 (1): 32-38.
  • Silva AT, Blair J, Korsak KK, et al. (2001) Protective effect of NT-3 against H2O2 induced death of myenteric neurons in vitro. Mechanisms of Ageing and Development 122 (12): 33.
  • Silva AT, Dolatshad NF, Wardhaugh T, et al. (2000) Evidence for undifferentiated progenitor cells in the postnatal myenteric plexus: Nestin expression. European Journal of Neuroscience 12: 263-263 Suppl. S 2000
  • Dolatshad NF, Silva AT, Saffrey MJ (2000) Expression of neurturin and GFR alpha-2 in the postnatal CNS and ENS of rats European Journal of Neuroscience 12: 270-270 Suppl. S 2000
  • Saffrey MJ, Wardhaugh T, Walker T, et al. (2000) Trophic actions of neurotrophin-3 on postnatal rat myenteric neurons in vitro Neuroscience Letters 278 (3): 133-136
  • Wayte, J., Silva AT, Krausz T, et al. (1993) Observations on the Role of Tumor-Necrosis-Factor-Alpha in a Murine Model of Shock due to Streptococcus-Pyogenes, Critical Care Medicine 21 (8): 1207-1212
  • Silva AT, Appelmelk BJ, Cohen J (1993) Purified Monoclonal-Antibody to Endotoxin Core Fails to Protect Mice from Experimental Gram-Negative Sepsis Journal of Infectious Diseases 168 (1): 256-257
  • Martin RA, Silva AT, Cohen J (1993) Effect of Anti-TNF-alpha Treatment in an Antibiotic Treated Murine Model of Shock due to Streptococcus-Pyogenes FEMS Microbiology Letters 110 (2): 175-178
  • Silva AT, Cohen J (1992) Role of Interferon-Gamma in Experimental Gram-Negative Sepsis Journal Of Infectious Diseases 166 (2): 331-335
  • Silva, AT, Bayston, KF, Cohen, J (1990) Prophylactic and Therapeutic Effects of a Monoclonal-Antibody to Tumor Necrosis Factor-Alpha in Experimental Gram-Negative Shock Journal of Infectious Diseases, 162 (2) 421-427
  • Silva AT, Appelmelk BJ, Buurman WA, et al. (1990) Monoclonal-Antibody to Endotoxin Core Protects Mice from Escherichia-Coli Sepsis by a Mechanism Independent of Tumor-Necrosis-Factor and Interleukin-6 Journal of Infectious Diseases 162 (2): 454-459
  • Silva AT, Greenhalgh JFD, Orskov ER (1989) Influence of Ammonia Treatment and Supplementation on the Intake, Digestibility and Weight-Gain of Sheep and Cattle on Barley Straw Diets Animal Production 48: 99-108 Part 1
  • Silva AT, Orskov ER (1998) Fiber Degradation In The Rumens Of Animals Receiving Hay, Untreated Or Ammonia-Treated Straw
  • Animal Feed Science And Technology 19 (3): 277-287 Silva AT, Orskov ER (1998)
  • The Effect of 5 Different Supplements on the Degradation Of Straw in Sheep Given Untreated Barley Straw Animal Feed Science and Technology 19 (3): 289-298 
  • Silva AT, Wallace RJ, Orskov ER (1997) Use of Particle-Bound Microbial Enzyme-Activity to Predict the rate and Extent of Fiber Degradation in the Rumen British Journal of Nutrition 57 (3): 407-415
  • Takahashi K, Silva AT, Cohen J, Lam HC, Ghatei M.A, Bloom SR (1990) Endothelin immunoreactivity in mice with Gram-negative bacteraemia: relationship to Tumour Necrosis Factor. Clinical Science 79, 619-623
  • Silva AT, Orskov ER (1985) Effect of Unmolassed Sugar-Beet Pulp on the Rate of Straw Degradation in the Rumens of Sheep given Barley Straw Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 44 (1): A50-A50
  • Silva AT, Orskov ER (1984) Effect of 3 Different Rumen Environments on the Rate and Extent of the Rumen Degradability of Untreated Straw, Ammonia-Treated Straw and Hay Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 43 (1): A11-A11
  • Other Publications
  • Silva AT (2006)
  • Independent learning in an ever-changing professional world. Veterinary Times, 36 (21) 16 -17.
  • Books - editing
  • Book on ‘Developing Veterinary Clinical Skills’ by Nichola Coombes and Ayona Silva-Fletcher, 2018.
  • Chapters in textbooks
  • Ayona Silva-Fletcher and Christine Thuranira-McKeever (2021) Chapter 13. Interactive social learning and fostering learning communities, chapter in ‘Distance Education in a digital world’ Eds: Linda Amrane-Cooper, Sarah Sherman and Philip Powell. Centre for Distance Education, UoLW
  • Ayona Silva-Fletcher: Chapter 36 - Teaching the Teacher –in ‘Veterinary Medical Education: A Practical Guide’ edited by Jennifer L Hodgson and Jacque Pelzer, Wiley & Sons, Inc. USA (2017).
  • Ayona Silva-Fletcher: Chapter 3 - The modern outcome-based curriculum and the place of clinical skills in ‘Veterinary Clinical Skills Manual’, edited by Nichola Coombes and Ayona Silva-Fletcher, CABI Int, UK (2018).
  • Ayona Silva-Fletcher and Stephen A May: Chapter 21: Practical Assessments in a simulated environment in ‘Veterinary Clinical Skills Manual’, edited by Nichola Coombes and Ayona Silva-Fletcher, CABI Int, UK (Forthcoming 2018).

Ayona teaches animal nutrition to undergraduates and postgraduates and is involved in the assessments of both groups. In addition she teaches and assesess in the MSc in Veterinary Education programme and was the founder of the overall programme. This area of her teaching has been strengthened by the MA in Medical Education that she gained recently and through research in veterinary education.

Experience in Postgraduate Developments

Ayona has extensive experience in postgraduate course development in both distance/online and face-to-face delivery modes for veterinary and paraveterinary sectors with appropriate pedagogy, standards, quality and credit frameworks to ensure flexibility and progression for professional development. This unique expertise is highly recognised within the University of London distance learning programmes and her external appointments and external funding that I have received to develop partnerships, research collaborations and short courses. During 2017-18, Ayona was involved in developing a PG Certificate in teaching and learning for online tutors of University of London International Programmes and is a tutor of the programme.

Ayona is currently involved in several veterinary curriculum and tutor development in higher education projects. In addition, Ayona is involved in the design, development and implementation of training programmes in Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Most of these are training for veterinarians and have been funded by the British Council, European Union and the Welcome Trust. Since 2010 a specific training course on Elephant Health and Reproduction has been jointly developed with the Chiang Mai University in Thailand and the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka using a new blended model of an online course followed by practical training in Thailand. Ayona is currently involved in developing training through the iHEN moodle based online platform ( as part of the One Health Poultry Hub project ( 

  • UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) One Health Poultry Hub

    With integrated streams of social, economic, biological, mathematical and policy-led research, we are co-producing detailed knowledge on the biological, structural and socio-economic factors that shape networks of chicken production and distribution. The RVC-led UKRI GCRF One Health Poultry Hub brings together leading laboratory, clinical, veterinary and social scientists, as well as skilled communications experts, programme support staff and external stakeholders.  

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