Department: Pathobiology and Population Sciences

Campus: Hawkshead

Research Groups: Host-Pathogen Interactions and Vaccinology, Safe and Sustainable Food

Damer is Professor of parasite genetics. His research interests are focused on protozoan parasites and pathogens of poultry using genetics and molecular biology.

Damer graduated with a degree in Animal Science from Wye College (University of London) in 1997. Following an MSc in Pig Production, he completed a PhD in bacterial genetics, both at the University of Aberdeen. After the completion of his PhD in 2001 he took up a post at the Institute for Animal Health (IAH) working on avian coccidiosis caused by the protozoan Eimeria species. During his time at IAH he carried out fundamental and applied genetics-led research, contributing to the Eimeria genome sequencing consortium, developing reverse-genetics strategies for use with Eimeria, designing a series of new molecular diagnostic tools and using genetic mapping as a step towards development of a new generation of cost-effective anticoccidial vaccines. In 2010 Damer joined the Royal Veterinary College, where he was appointed professor in 2016. Damer is currently Editor-in-Chief of the journal Avian Pathology.

Since joining the RVC Damer has extended his research interests in Eimeria - protozoan parasites with cause the disease coccidiosis in all livestock species, most notably poultry. These parasites can cause a severe enteritis and have been estimated to cost the global poultry production industry in excess of £2 billion per annum. Current research strands include continuing studies to map genetic loci that encode genuinely immunoprotective antigens as vaccine candidates and the development of Eimeria as a novel vaccine delivery vehicle (in collaboration with Prof. Fiona Tomley). More recently, Damer has developed research interests in Eimeria population genetics and genetic diversity, interactions of Eimeria with bacterial pathogens of poultry, parasite diagnostics, microbiomes and studies on parasite evolution in domestic and wild animals. Damer also works with a range of other apicomplexan parasites including Toxoplasma gondii and Cryptosporidium species, as well as the poultry red mite (Dermanyssus gallinae).

Current projects include:

GCRF One Health Poultry Hub, Led by Tomley FM

Blake DP and Tomley FM
Trangenic Eimeria as novel anticoccidial vaccines.
Agricatalyst fund. 2018-2020.

Blake DP and Tomley FM
The role of interleukin-10 (IL-10) in the regulation of innate immunity in the domestic chicken.
BBSRC responsive mode Industrial partnering award with the Roslin Institute and Cobb-Vantress. 2017-2020.

Blake DP, Werling D and Tomley FM
Development of a novel yeast-based oral subunit vaccine against Eimeria spp. in chickens.
BBSRC responsive mode. 2016-2020.

Blake DP, Tomley FM and Nisbet A
Understanding population, genetic and antigenic diversity of the poultry red mite to improve prospects for successful vaccine development.
BEMB PhD studentship. 2016-2020.

Blake DP and Rushton J
Determining and explaining poultry slaughterhouse condemnations - a holistic approach.
BBSRC iCASE PhD studentship with Faccenda Foods Ltd. 2014 - 2019.

Selected and recent peer reviewed papers (from more than 100)

Hinsu AT, Thakkar JR, Koringa PG, Vrba V, Jakhesara SJ, Psifidi A, Guitian J, Tomley FM, Rank DN, Raman M, Joshi CG, Blake DP (2018) Illumina next generation sequencing for the analysis of Eimeria populations in commercial broilers and indigenous chickens. Frontiers in Veterinary Science. 5:176. PMID: 30105228.

Sakkas P, Oikeh I, Blake DP, Nolan MJ, Bailey RA, Oxley A, Rychlik I, Lietz G, Kyriazakis I (2018) Does selection for growth rate in broilers affect their resistance and tolerance to Eimeria maxima? Veterinary Parasitology. 258:88-98. PMID: 30105985.

Pandit R, Hinsu AT, Patel NV, Koringa PG, Jakhesara SJ, Thakkar JR, Shah TM, Limon G, Psifidi A, Guitian J, Hume DA, Tomley FM, Rank DN, Raman M, Tirumurugaan KG, Blake DP, Joshi CG (2018) Microbial diversity and community composition of caecal microbiota in commercial and indigenous Indian chickens determined using 16s rDNA amplicon sequencing. Microbiome. 6:115. PMID: 29935540.

Rosanowski SM, Banica M, Ellis E, Farrow E, Harwood C, Jordan B, James C, McKenna D, Fox M, Blake DP (2018) The molecular characterisation of Cryptosporidium species in relinquished dogs in Great Britain: a novel zoonotic risk? Parasitology Research. 117:1663-1667. PMID: 29637275.

Sharma D, Singh NK, Singh H, Joachim A, Rath SS, Blake DP (2018) Discrimination, molecular characterisation and phylogenetic comparison of porcine Eimeria spp. in India. Veterinary Parasitology. 255:43-48. PMID: 29773135.

Pastor-Fernández I, Kim S, Billington K, Bumstead J, Marugán-Hernández V, Küster T, Ferguson DJP, Vervelde L, Blake DP, Tomley FM (2018) Development of cross-protective Eimeria-vectored vaccines based on apical membrane antigens. International Journal for Parasitology. 48:505-518. PMID: 29524526.

Tang PK, Pellett S, Blake D, Hedley J (2017) Efficacy of a Topical Formulation Containing Emodepside and Praziquantel (Profender®, Bayer) Against Nematodes in Captive Tortoises. Journal of Herpetological Medicine and Surgery 27:116-122.

Macdonald SE, Nolan MJ, Harman K, Boulton K, Hume DA, Tomley FM, Stabler RA, Blake DP (2017) Effects of Eimeria tenella infection on chicken caecal microbiome diversity, exploring variation associated with severity of pathology. PLoS One 12:e0184890. PMID: 28934262.

Nolan MJ, Unger M, Yeap Y-T, Rogers E, Millet I, Harman K, Fox M, Kalema-Zikusoka G, Blake DP (2017) Molecular characterisation of protist parasites in human-habituated mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei), humans and livestock, from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda. Parasites and Vectors. 10: 340. PMID: 28720110.

Crotta M, Limon G, Blake DP, Guitian J (2017) Knowledge gaps in host-parasite interaction preclude accurate assessment of meat-borne exposure to Toxoplasma gondii. International Journal of Food Microbiology 261:95-101. PMID: 28139250.

Chengat Prakashbabu B, Thenmozhi V, Limon G, Kundu K, Kumar S, Garg R, Clark EL, Srinivasa Rao ASR, Raj DG, Raman M, Banerjee PS, Tomley FM, Guitian J, Blake DP (2017) Eimeria species occurrence varies between geographic regions and poultry production systems and may influence parasite genetic diversity. Veterinary Parasitology 233:62-72. PMID: 28043390.

Palmieri N, Shrestha A, Ruttkowski B, Beck T, Vogl C, Tomley F, Blake DP, Joachim A (2017) The genome of the protozoan parasite Cystoisospora suis and a reverse vaccinology approach to identify vaccine candidates. International Journal for Parasitology 47:189-202. PMID: 28161402.

Pegg E, Doyle K, Clark EL, Jatau ID, Tomley FM, Blake DP (2016) Application of a new PCR-RFLP panel suggests a restricted population structure for Eimeria tenella in UK and Irish chickens. Veterinary Parasitology 229:60-67. PMID: 27809980.

Hosein S, Limon G, Dadios N, Guitian J, Blake DP (2016) Toxoplasma gondii detection in cattle: A slaughterhouse survey. Veterinary Parasitology 228:126-129. PMID: 27692313.

Marugan-Hernandez V, Cockle C, Macdonald S, Pegg E, Crouch C, Blake DP, Tomley FM (2016) Viral proteins expressed in the protozoan parasite Eimeria tenella are detected by the chicken immune system. Parasites & Vectors 9:463. PMID: 27553200.

Clark EL, Macdonald SE, Thenmozhi V, Kundu K, Garg R, Kumar S, Ayoade S, Fornace KM, Jatau ID, Moftah A, Nolan MJ, Sudhakar NR, Adebambo AO, Lawal IA, Zapata RA, Awuni JA, Chapman HD, Karimuribo E, Mugasa CM, Namangala B, Rushton J, Suo X, Thangaraj K, Rao ASRS, Tewari AK, Banerjee PS, Raj GD, Raman M, Tomley FM, Blake DP (2016) Cryptic Eimeria genotypes are common across the southern but not northern hemisphere. International Journal for Parasitology 46:537-544. PMID: 27368611.

Jatau ID, Lawal IA, Kwaga JKP, Tomley FM, Blake DP, Nok AJ (2016) Three operational taxonomic units of Eimeria are common in Nigerian chickens and may undermine effective molecular diagnosis of coccidiosis. BMC Veterinary Research 12:86. PMID: 27259544.

Wu Z, Hu T, Rothwell L, Vervelde L, Kaiser P, Boulton K, Nolan MJ, Tomley FM, Blake DP, Hume DA (2016) Analysis of the function of IL-10 in chickens using specific neutralising antibodies and a sensitive capture ELISA. Developmental and Comparative Immunology 63:206-212. PMID: 27108075.

Aher AM, Caudill D, Caudill G, Butryn RS, Wolf D, Fox M, Blake DP, Cunningham MW (2016) Prevalence, genetic analyses, and risk factors associated with heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) in wild coyotes (Canis latrans) from Florida, USA. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 52:785-792.

Sangster L, Blake DP, Robinson G, Hopkins TC, Sa RCC, Cunningham AA, Chalmers RM, Lawson B (2016) Detection and molecular characterisation of Cryptosporidium parvum in British european hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus). Veterinary Parasitology 217:39-44. PMID: 26827859.

Blake DP, Clark EL, Macdonald SE, Thenmozhi V, Kundu K, Garg R, Jatau ID, Ayoade S, Kawahara F, Moftah A, Reid AJ, Adebambo AO, Álvarez-Zapata R, Srinivasa Rao ASR, Thangaraj K, Banerjee PS, Raj GD, Raman M, Tomley FM (2015) Population, genetic and antigenic diversity of the apicomplexan Eimeria tenella and their relevance to vaccine development. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 112:E5343–E5350. PMID: 26354122.

Nolan MJ, Tomley FM, Kaiser P and Blake DP (2015) Quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) for Eimeria tenella replication – implications for experimental refinement and animal welfare. Parasitology International 64:464-470. PMID: 26141544.

Choudhary V, Garg S, Chourasia R, Hasnani JJ, Patel PV, Shah TM, Bhatt VD, Mohapatra A, Blake DP, Joshi CG (2015) Transcriptome analysis of the adult rumen fluke Paramphistomum cervi following next generation sequencing. Gene 570:64-70

Leopardi S, Blake D and Puechmaille SJ (2015). White-Nose Syndrome fungus introduced from Europe into North America. Current Biology 25:R217-R219.

Reid AJ, Blake DP, Ansari HR, Billington K, Browne HP, Bryant J, Dunn M, Hung SS, Kawahara F, Miranda-Saavedra D, Malas TB, Mourier T, Naghra H, Nair M, Otto TD, Rawlings ND, Rivailler P, Sanchez-Flores A, Sanders M, Subramaniam C, Tay Y-L, Woo Y, Wu X, Barrell B, Dear PH, Doerig C, Gruber A, Ivens AC, Parkinson J, Rajandream M-A, Shirley MW, Wan K-L, Berriman M, Tomley FM and Pain A (2014) Genomic analysis of the causative agents of coccidiosis in domestic chickens. Genome Research 24:1676-1685.


Blake DP, Smith AL and Shirley MW. Vaccine. PCT/GB2011/051456

Damer teaches veterinary parasitology in various modules on the BVetMed, BVetMed Graduate Accelerated, BSc Bioveterinary Science and MSc One Health courses. He supervises PhD theses within the field of molecular parasitology and genetics, as well as research projects on several RVC courses, a number of which have resulted in student presentations at conferences and publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Damer is a module leader on the One Health Masters course (Infectious Disease Emergence).

Damer is Editor-in-Chief for the journal Avian Pathology.

Damer currently supports the Science Learning Centre, assisting school science teachers develop exciting and relevant resources for school children of all ages.

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